In order to meet its targets and deliver its promises, RRI2SCALE adopts a robust plan of six sequential pilot steps, which are implemented coherently and dynamically. The process is characterised by inclusive participation and engagement of citizens and stakeholders. Therefore, the rationale of the pilot actions is based on a “principles-first” logic. As a consequence, the methodological framework is grounded on the following six principles:11
Adhering to the principles are essential for the successful implementation of the project and the sustainability of its results. As such, the pilot actions unfold within a six-phase process:
- Understand regional specificities & identify best practices”
During the onset of the implementation, RRI2SCALE will explore the current regional R&I governance systems of the four pilot regions. The purpose is to gain insight of the diverse ecosystems and their respective stakeholders (NGOs, Universities, Public Authorities, SMEs, etc.) and to discover existing similarities and differences in R&I policy-making among regions, alongside local factors or obstacles to future RRI initiatives. The project will also shed light on existing best practices and deploy a large-scale survey in all participating regions, which will integrate and arouse citizens concerning the project altogether.
- Explore future development trajectories:
In the second phase, RRI2SCALE will discover trends, drivers and developments in order to grasp future R&I trajectories in the triple domain of smart cities, smart energy and smart transport. The gist is simple: before attempting to design any industrial and research policies, authorities and stakeholders must have a clear idea of how their regions are going to look like in the next years with regard to the R&I field. The Delphi method, which will put forward the active engagement of experts and specialists in RRI, will be used as supplementary tool for developing techno-moral scenarios on how technological progress influences societal norms, perceptions, concerns and morality. This step is very important, because in effect protects the transparency of the project.
- Perform multi-stakeholder dialogues & information exchange
The third pilot action foresees the exploitation of data and results that will derive from a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues. The project will make smart use of the SES game platform, through which will understand how R&I policies impact the fields of smart cities – energy – transport. As such, the project will be in a position to help the pilot regions formulate necessary institutional policies for catching-up with a rapidly changing R&I context. Cross-regional dialogues and information exchange will follow, aiming to promote citizen awareness and empowerment. Generally, local participation and stakeholder engagement levels are expected to increase.
- Construct roadmaps & ensure sustainability
In the fourth pilot step, the project will introduce roadmaps that will help authorities and stakeholder develop and consolidate novel institutional arrangements that are determined by participatory and horizontal forms of governance and decision-making in R&I. Regional specificities will be considered, so that the engaged communities and relevant stakeholders will be able to become active co-shapers of a lasting institutional framework that incorporates RRI as organic element. In other words, R&I decision-taking and policy-making is expected to become more democratic, inclusive and open. This will strengthen the social fabric and enhance the social contract between state institutions, private sector and civil society in the four pilot regions. It will also have a reconciliatory role, since the agendas will bridge the gap between suspicious citizens and technology pioneers. The zero-sum game will be substituted by a win-win rationale. Finally, sustainability of outcomes will be secured through an inter-regional Memorandum of Collaboration.
- Set-up monitoring mechanisms
Pilot regions will co-design the instrumental tools for the efficient monitoring of the pilot steps and their results. It is of uppermost importance to be sure that the results achieved fulfil the initial expectations, both quantitatively and qualitatively. To that end, the project will take advantage of a methodologically sound monitoring and evaluation framework. Constant reporting will enable information to flow and reach citizens and stakeholders, who will naturally be anxious about their home region. Ad hoc experts will contribute to the process by validating the obtained results, thus ensuring that the outputs are ready for the finalisation of the project.
- Establish dissemination practices
Finally, the last pillar of the pilot actions stipulates that RRI2SCALE will disseminate and communicate its results across a wide spectrum of stakeholders from the quadruple helix (academic, policy-makers, industry and civil society). Since dissemination and communication are essential, they will start from early on during the project implementation, and will continue incessantly until the formal end. Moreover, dissemination activities will be complemented by a tailored exploitation strategy whose purpose is to extract the highest value of the results and take advantage of the several assets produced during the project.