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The SeeRRI booklet: Bringing responsibility and RRI into regional planning - from theory to practice

Nguyen, Nhien; Hansen, Jens Ørding; Kasztler, Andrea; Honrado, Ángel; Santangelo, Angela; Magaña, Mario; Gil, Marina; Prat, Júlia; Snick, Anne; Manent, Mireia

Regional planning is a complex endeavour that requires a collective approach. For two and a half years, the SeeRRI project has been working with pilot territories in Norway, Austria, and Spain to develop and refine a method for integrating RRI principles into regional planning and smart specialisation policy. This booklet presents the method, explains its background, and discusses its implications. The booklet also offers intriguing third party perspectives from a range of distinguished guest authors.

To set the stage, Section I lays out the motivation for the SeeRRI project and the booklet itself. SeeRRI Coordinator Nhien Nguyen and five guest contributors – René von Schomberg, Linden Farrer, Marta Truco Calbet, Jackson Nickerson, and Johan Stierna – each provide their brief take on why a booklet such as this is needed. Representatives from SeeRRI’s three pilot territories explain why they joined the SeeRRI project.

Section II provides an introduction to the SeeRRI project and presents its key outcome, the SeeRRI method of responsible regional planning. The method is a concrete yet flexible step-by-step process that can be applied in a variety of regional contexts. In a nutshell, the process comprises three stages, each of which is to be carried out by regional planners in close cooperation with local stakeholders. First, a core challenge for the region is defined. Second, foresight methodology is used to map out possible future scenarios for the region, and a regional strategy is created on the basis of insights from the scenarios. Third, the regional government implements the strategy in cooperation with relevant stakeholders. The process is repeated as necessary in response to changing regional conditions. In the last part of Section II, representatives from SeeRRI’s affiliated territories in Finland, Serbia, Montenegro, and Israel explain how they have been inspired by the SeeRRI method.

SeeRRI is not the only project to tackle the challenge of promoting and implementing RRI in European territories. In Section III, a number of other ongoing EU projects – TeRRIFICA, TeRRItoria, TRANSFORM, CHERRIES, RRI2SCALE, TetRRIs, MARIE, and DigiTeRRI – share their experiences of working with RRI at the regional level. Like SeeRRI, most of these projects belong to the “Science with and for Society” (SwafS) program within Horizon 2020. While each project takes a distinct approach and works with a unique set of pilot territories, the projects are united by a common vision of strengthening the democratic governance of R&I in Europe.

Finally, Section IV provides perspectives on the road ahead. Seven experts from every branch of the quadruple helix offer their opinion on how the legacy of SeeRRI and its sister projects can be leveraged to create responsible and sustainable R&I ecosystems for the future and which dangers and risks we need to look out for. Topics raised in this section include the potential impact of the Horizon Europe research programme (Linden Farrer); the importance of innovation policy institutions and value-driven R&I (René von Schomberg); the usefulness of the SeeRRI method in tackling wicked problems (Jackson Nickerson); the need for broadening the scope of stakeholder inclusion (Elisabetta Marinelli) and for recognizing the potential dangers of R&I (Rune Dahl Fitjar); the urgent need to unlearn outdated assumptions about RRI (Anne Snick); and the inspirational power of SeeRRI (Klaus Hitzenberger).

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