Published by valentinazoccali
Posted on December 07, 2015
Research has two principal faces: the social and the technological one. But it remains always a methodology used to increase human knowledge. Social and technological research is a key factor in pushing our society towards a new ethical social model. It is able to create innovation, that has a strong impact on our everyday lives, and it represents the driving force for our society’s growth and development.
The European Union has chosen innovation and research as a key pillar of its strategy in order to promote growth and jobs. On the EU’s website1 it says that, “researchers will be able to work anywhere in the EU and cooperation across border will be supported and encouraged.” Moreover, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 “will seek to ensure technological breakthroughs are developed into viable products with real commercial potential – by building partnerships with industry and government”. Only in this way, innovation and research can give their complete contributions to the member states’ growth and directly to the citizens’ wealth.
Individuals are becoming part of a the co-creation process, because, nowadays citizens are not only users but they became real content creators, which push towards a societal change. According to the European Union, the research activities’ growth strengthens, as it already did in past, the European competitiveness and creates new jobs. At the same time, it simplifies the individuals’ and the society’s life, by improving public transport systems, welfare systems and digital services. Thanks to the developments obtained by research it was possible to protect the environment, fight poverty and social exclusion. For these reasons, technological and social research must be reinforced, both by economic and human support. In this way it is possible to realize a better society with a new ethical social model. In fact, the specific objective of Horizon 2020 is “to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.”
Our society must adopt an inclusive approach to research and innovation, to which experts refer to as Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), that ensures the co-working of societal actors during the entire innovation and research process, taking in account the society’s values, needs and expectations. Moreover, it includes fundamental aspects like open science, public engagement, gender equality, science education and ethics. Open science, for example, is a global movement towards the possibility of making research findings free of charge and available for readers, in order to enhance knowledge circulation and innovation. In this way, the common problems of knowledge transparency will be overtaken, and an access to various research results will be guaranteed, not only to sponsors, but to everyone. RRI is seen as a tool in order to anchor research and innovation in European values3, and therefore common and shared values, such as democracy, liberty, human dignity, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
But how can research contribute directly to the individual’s and society’s wealth? In a moment of social change, which role does social research play? In which way is it possible to reinvented an ethical social model? How does benefits, derived from research, be converted in elements useful for the development of social innovation? These are only some of the questions WISE4ALL asked its interviewees.
Valentina Zoccali was born in Reggio Calabria (IT) in 1986. Now, she lives in Brussels and is Secretary General of S-com. She has been working in the fields of communication, advertising and culture since 2008. She studied Art & Communication at University of Bologna and Social Media Marketing. Her expertise is connected to social media methods and theories, civil society engagement and participation in innovation programs. She works to connect aspects of culture and communication in the processes of social innovation and sustainability in Euro-Mediterranean area.