We are in the middle of a digital revolution which reaches its influence to our daily lives and to our society’s development. Examples like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, open data and robotics will bring thousands of new opportunities with huge changes for our future. Are we really ready for this change or are we approaching an unknown future without stopping to think for a moment what effects does this have?
Responsible Research and Innovation aims to bring new tools for city developers and policy makers on how we should react and adjust for these technical and social changes. For this reason the Tampere Region is participating in Interreg Europe funding programme’s MARIE project, of which the main goal is to share best practices among the participant countries and deepen their know-how regarding responsible innovation policies within their regions (The council of Tampere Region and the University of Tampere).
As a member of MARIE project’s steering group, I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge around this subject in Orléans, France, where the MARIE project meeting was held in November 2017. The participants came from Italy, Spain, Creek, Ireland, France, Germany and Romania and Finland.
The Centre Val De Loire region in France is situated about 150 km from the Paris metropolitan area with its 2,5 million inhabitants. One of the region’s development goals has been to enhance their business developer network to support the social entrepreneurship ecosystem and bring forward new kinds of practices around the subject of responsible research and innovation. The social entrepreneurship has boosted in France during the last years and it has become a rising topic among business developers. The difference between social enterprise and “normal businesses” comes from three features: social enterprises are non-profit, their main objective is to influence on a political level and half of its incomes are donated. Without seeking financial profits these enterprises aim to answer to difficult social challenges and try to solve environmental problems. The Centre Val De Loire region is investing in this ecosystem development. The local development agency DEV’UP Centre Val de Loire aims to develop accelerators for social enterprises and monitor their strategic development and leadership.
I wanted to highlight the social enterprises in this blog since the development of this kinds of companies is an ongoing process in Finland as well. In France I was again amazed by the fact that people have a need and a strong will to influence in the development of their society on political and social levels. The local economic development agencies are also ready to support the ecosystem development of these special companies.
The social entrepreneurship can provide a new platform to solve and adopt the rapid structural changes in our society. The sustainable and responsible bottom up development process enhances the awareness of the people and makes them realize that we have a possibility to influence our future and become active members of the society. In my own work with international talent issues we have actively worked to enhance the English speaking professional networks in the Tampere Region. As well as Finnish people, immigrants have a strong need and will to be part of the society’s development and their living environment. Responsible research and innovation policies also take into account the issues of immigration and the inclusiveness of the society.
MARIE - Mainstreaming Responsible Innovation in European S3 (Smart, Specialisation and strategy)
The European Commission (Science in Dialogue Towards a European Model for Responsible Research and Innovation, 2012) states
“We can only find the right answers to the challenges we face by involving as many stakeholders as possible in the research and innovation process. Research and innovation must respond to the needs and ambitions of society, reflect its values, and be responsible.”
EU regions are starting to address Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), but they face common challenges of perceived complexity of the concept and means of application, lack of appropriate approaches for public authorities and lack of awareness over its huge potential impacts. In MARIE, partners from 8 regions face these challenges together in the context of their smart specialisation priority sectors. Their objective is to improve regional public policy that supports delivery of RRI to enterprises’ product, process and service design, production and distribution. Changes are expected in projects funded by policy instruments and in policy management structures and strategic focus, including integration of RRI criteria and RRI as a horizontal concept. Project duration: 1 Jan 2017–31 Dec 202. Total project budget: ~2 M€. Budget for Tampere Region: 238 000€.
Project Manager Tiina Ramstedt-Sen, Council of Tampere Region, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 44 422 2266
Senior Researcher Mika Raunio, Tampereen yliopisto, email@example.com tel. +358 (0)50 327 6364