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Step Change joins ResBios for their Final Conference in Brussels 

At the inception of ResBios in January of 2020, the project coordinators talked about how the fields of biosciences are a major crossroads, where science and society meet. But then who was to know how true this statement would become? 

Over the past three years, the world has had to face a multitude of challenges, and at the centre of many of them were the biosciences, and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued impact of other “wicked problems”, such as climate change, food security, and health, the way society interacts with research has been brought front and centre.

On December 7th, ResBios organised their final conference, Responsibility in research & innovation. Challenges for the biosciences and future policies. Where they shared some of the key outcomes from the ResBios project, as well as inviting key speakers from related initiatives to share their thoughts on responsible bioscience research and innovation.

One of the sessions of the conference focused on a discussion on the new “social contract” between research, innovation, and societal actors within the quadruple helix ( Government, Universities, Industry, and Civil society).

Features contributions from Wiebe Bijker, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim who shared the findings and outcomes of the newly published ResBios manifesto on  “Responsible Research in Biosciences”,  Luciano d’Andrea from Knowledge & Innovation Srls talk on the need for research institutions, and innovation and technical leaders to be adaptive and flexible to meet the needs of society and the RRI framework, as well as the success stories from the ResBios implementing partners.

Alongside, these speakers, Step Change was invited to talk about the role of Citizen Science in building relationships between researchers and communities, and the mutual benefits these practices allow.

Our very own Luka Duniš, from the University of Primoska, Slovenia, shares the goals of the Step Change Project, how Citizen Science can be used in a multitude of research areas (Environment, Energy, and Health), how the project is engaging with local community groups, and the tools Stepchange are developing to help other projects to adopt a Citizen Science approach.

We also heard from; Roxane Bibard and the work of SoScience, who facilitate responsible and sustainable solutions within research, industry, and governmental organisations, and Eleni Spyrakou, from HYBRIDA about the new ethical considerations in modern health research, with a particular focus on the use of organoids in bioscience and the public perception of this emergent research technology.  

It was a pleasure to be a part of the ResBios final conference and to hear from so many influential figures in the field of responsible research. As the world changes, research and innovation practices need to adapt and ensure that the voices of all societal actors are heard.

Learn more about the ResBios project by clicking here.

Photo credits- Reimar Ott