Outreach to Newcomers and Societal Engagement in Industrial Technologies: Reports of the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group on Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (NMBP)

Petra Szavics (Editor), Egle Butkeviciene (Editor), Daan Shuurbiers (Editor), Lars Klüver, Jim Browne, Augusta Maria Paci, Maximillian Fleischer, Anne-Christine Ritschkoff (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

The Horizon 2020 Advisory Group for the NMBP programme (Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology & Advanced Manufacturing and Processing) produced this report in two parts in 2018; the first addresses outreach to new players, while the second addresses the strengthening of societal engagement.New developments in industrial and key enabling technologies, including the development of the fourth industrial revolution, present significant challenges for Europe. Recent work by high-level groups (notably the Lab-Fab-App Report by the Lamy Group and the Re-finding Industry report by the Rüttgers Group) has highlighted a necessary rethink of EU outreach policy as a tool to support the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution. Simultaneously there has been growing attention to societal engagement in science, innovation and technology development in recent years. Technology assessment has rightly become more participatory and communicative to wider audiences; technology foresight increasingly recognises the importance of actor engagement; stakeholder engagement has become a central part of risk assessment and management; and user involvement has become indispensable to good innovation management. Technology development and technology transfer are in a transition state to adopting a much broader perspective in terms of aligning technologies with the needs and desires of the wider society. This approach must continue to develop.To maximise the impact of programmes for key enabling and industrial technologies, there is a need to develop robust approaches to both outreach to newcomers and the strengthening of societal engagement, which seek to integrate the programme into a broader and strategic societal, cultural and international perspective. Enhanced cooperation and the sharing of insights on outreach to newcomers and societal engagement will benefit not only this programme, but also other EU-level R&D and policy activities.The two reports highlight various insights and propose recommendations on outreach policy and societal engagement, based on a thorough analysis of the implementation process so far, including the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020; and provide a basis for forward-looking policy guidance necessary for successful impact of the EU-level R&D activities.With regard to the outreach to new players, including but not limited to the EU-13, the Advisory Group considered the data and looked at factors that can enhance this outreach. Special emphasis is on identifying and presenting good practice, capacity building and excellence, long-term international and inter-regional outreach; and identifying the stakeholders that act as carriers, change makers and influencers.The Group recommends further developing existing actions targeting newcomers and focusing on participants from the EU-13 in particular, as well as initiating new actions. Existing actions include, for example, brokerage events and synergies with other actions. New actions include the integration of ‘capacity building’ of newcomers as an eligible activity; offering incentives to promote the involvement of EU-13 participants; designing call topics suitable for potential participants from the EU-13; offering cascading grants, funding or small tenders; and mapping potential new applicants by engaging citizens, national and regional stakeholders and policy makers. Such measures may form a part of future EU Work Programmes, but can be also be deployed by Member States and regions.Societal engagement is increasingly recognised in EU research and innovation policy as a central element in addressing societal or global challenges. Societal engagement at its best is an important instrument to ensure that R&I communities act in alignment with societal4needs and values enabling a shift from technology push to societal pull, just as it helps to establish transparency, understanding, and trust. As the innovation rate accelerates, there is an urgent need to modify the R&I processes so that they support collaborative action between the innovators and those frequently excluded – this includes citizens, people affected by the innovation, industrial actors, NGOs and policy actors.The Group looked at the possibilities for strengthening societal engagement, with special emphasis on the inclusion of citizens and less resourceful stakeholders. The report overviews concepts of, and experiences with, societal engagement and proposes engagement activities suitable for industrial and key enabling technologies. Nevertheless, these recommendations may also contribute to the development of societal engagement in European research and innovation more generally.The Group considered four levels of societal engagement and proposed appropriate types of actions for each level. In summary, the Group recommends increasing the focus on societal engagement through policy design, steering of research agendas, steering of research and innovation initiatives; and finally in activities designed specifically for societal engagement. The Group also analysed specific needs in nanotechnology and advanced materials; in industrial biotechnology; in advanced manufacturing; and in future digitalisation. Finally, the Group recommended a number of concrete activities to add to the practices of, and capacities for, societal engagement.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Union
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-79-97409-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

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