Europe’s Research Performing and Funding Organisations (RPFOs) have a crucial role to play as agents of institutional change towards firmly grounding Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in their regions. The successful fulfilment of this challenging yet highly significant role calls for the values of RRI to be well-embedded into their governance as well as their operation with greater and more systematic participation of citizens and all their local and regional Research and Innovation (R&I) stakeholders.
Addressing the challenge, INCENTIVE is set on empowering Europe’s RPFOs to establish sustainable place-based transdisciplinary Citizen Science Hubs for stimulating and supporting excellent citizen science with engaged roles for all local and regional R&I stakeholders. To this end, a demand-driven structured methodology will be used to establish and demonstrate the potential of Citizen Science Hubs in 4 world class RPFOs, covering all 4 MoRRI Country Clusters. The Citizen Science Hubs will be scientific organisations/departments in the RPFOs with the purpose to initiate, execute, promote and coordinate participatory R&I with and for the entire academic community, as well as citizens. Thus, the Citizen Science Hubs will empower their internal and external stakeholders to co-create new and transdisciplinary knowledge, connected to their R&I ecosystem, as well as their contextual (regional, local) conditions. The RPFOs of INCENTIVE are the University of Twente (the Netherlands), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania), making the most of their capacity to promote regional innovation.
All in all, the Citizen Science Hubs, besides being a sustainable institutional change in themselves, will serve as a vehicle for introducing substantial institutional changes in our RPFOs and their communities. We will closely monitor, evaluate and report the performance and outcomes of our Citizen Science Hubs and their actions, providing evidence of societal, democratic, economic and scientific impacts. Along the way, we will foster mutual learning and networking opportunities amongst RPFOs across Europe to share our experiences and develop practical tools to enable RPFOs to drive similar institutional changes in other contexts.