2023. 01. 13.

How to boost responsible funding – exchange trip from Tampere to Vienna

A blogpost written by Tiina Ramstedt-Sen (Council of Tampere Region)

December 2022 started with a great learning experience, as Tiina from the Council of Tampere Region, Finland visited Co-Change project partners in Vienna, Austria. Because of the long COVID years, this was the first time to meet face-to-face, and how great that felt!

The program for the day was intensive, well-organised by colleagues Donia and Benjamin from WWTF. It started with a bilateral exchange between the Council and WWTF, which are the only two research and innovation funding organisations in the Co-Change project. When funders get together, there is always lots to talk and ask. How are the calls designed, how is the process of funding, how the evaluation is done, how the impacts of funding are monitored? WWTF had done a great job by including open science into their funding guidelines. This is something Tampere Region can learn from.

Next, there was a meeting with Patrick Lehner from Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, Center for Open Science. It was very interesting to hear and learn about how engagement can be done in social and health sector science and research. Engagement is necessary in order to create desirable and usable innovations for society. Patrick talked about different instruments and processes they experiment with.

Lunch was very Austrian, which was perfect. We enjoyed wiener schnitzels together with colleagues from FFG, The Austrian Research Promotion Agency. Michalis Tzatzanis, Susanne Meissner-Dragosits and Kay Felder shared their experiences of how responsibility can be supported in practice in their research and innovation funding. They had very good perspectives for overall European development in issues concerning responsible research and innovation and how that can be implemented in regional and national funding. We also discussed the term „RRI“ itself, the power it has but also the necessity for defining it and explaining it to colleagues.

After lunch, the Co-Change project coordinator Peter from AIT came to say hello. It was great to see each other 3 dimensional, after all the meetings in Teams, and talk about the project's final conference that is about the take place in Budapest on 6-7th February.

Before the beautiful and sunny day in Vienna was ending, Tiina went to visit The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI). Stefanie Schürz and Barbara Kieslinger shared experiences of the social innovation projects they are running in the scientific institute and how they see RRI elements in their work. It was valuable to hear about the policy work done for citizens’ engagement that can be put in place without disregarding ethical principles of fairness, transparency, gender, privacy and sustainability.

The exchange in Vienna opened my eyes to see, that we are really dealing with the same issues and problems regarding responsible innovation. We all want the same: to create research and innovations that are multidisciplinary, effective and that solve part of the wicked social problems we are facing. RRI as a concept was helping us to see many different elements of responsibility. Now we need to make the change tangible in our very own ways.

(from left to right) Tiina Ramstedt-Sen, Bejamin Missbach, Peter Biegelbauer, Donia Lasinger