The idea behind RRI is to create links between the research community and wider society, encouraging public engagement and making sure that dialogue between both sides is kept up throughout the innovation process. The European Commission is driving forward RRI as part of the NUCLEUS project, involving 24 international partners and €4 million of funding from the Horizon 2020 programme.
The University of Malta is already studying the potential benefits of RRI, and finding ways to implement it by breaking down institutional barriers. Teaming up with a leading partner of the NUCLEUS Consortium will allow Malta to foster strong collaborations on the European level and beyond, while also raising the possibility of enhancing research outcomes by taking RRI on board. Involving policy makers, business leaders, educators and other societal groups as co-creators of knowledge and innovation will help society as a whole, as well as the University in particular, moving towards new forms of transdisciplinary research.
As part of the NUCLEUS project, ten institutions form test-beds for RRI that will eventually be able to offer practical recommendations for its implementation. Being one of these, the University of Malta is in a unique position at the forefront of this endeavour. The sharing of ideas and resources with the University of Edinburgh will serve to strengthen this standing. It may also help to provide further funding prospects under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and related projects.
As summarised by Dr Duca, UM’s NUCLEUS Project Coordinator, “Being an RRI-ready university will help us modernise, bring us closer to society and benefit Malta’s European collaborations and research output”.