Successful Workshop for Transfer of Knowledge and Experience in Sofia

Over two days on the 24th and 25th of November, ETHNA System partners came together in Sofia, Bulgaria for a workshop on the first results of the ETHNA System implementation process.

On the first day, each of the six implementing organisations had the chance to present their experience thus far, discuss major lessons learned, and receive valuable input and recommendations from the other partners and Advisory Board members.

In the morning session the spotlight was on implementing the ETHNA System in the context of higher education and research funding organisations with experiences shared by the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) in Spain, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway, and the Education and Youth Board (Harno) in Estonia. While there were significant differences in the ways in which the ETHNA System was implemented in each institution, the process itself encouraged productive reflection on existing structures and even acted as a unifying force within the organisation by involving many actors and combating misunderstandings of RRI.

The afternoon session consisted of a deep dive into the experiences of two organisations working in the context of innovation ecosystems, Espaitec, UJI’s scientific and technological park in Spain, and UNINOVA, a multidisciplinary research institute in Portugal, and that of ARC Fund, an innovation policy and research institute in Bulgaria. In all three cases, much work had to be done to simplify the process and adapt the ETHNA System to the realities of each institution.

As ETHNA is not alone in pursuing RRI, throughout the day, the consortium benefited from valuable presentations and deliberations on commonalities and synergies between the sister projects TIME4CS, ROSIE, and SuperMoRRI.

On day two of the workshop, the main findings of previous evaluative workshops on the implementation process from internal and external stakeholders were presented and discussed by ETHNA partner, the Danish Board of Technology. This followed by an interactive breakout session on the ETHNA legacy and emerging challenges to RRI institutionalisation run by the Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (ZSI), a private institute for applied social sciences.

After two long days of programme, the consortium partners left Sofia with new ideas for overcoming barriers and other challenges to implementing an ethical governance system in a range of different contexts – all incredibly valuable information that will flow into the final version of the ETHNA System to be released next year.