Integration of Living Labs within the University: Medical Physics and Digital Innovation Lab, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The Thess-AHALL Example: Revolutionizing the Regional Health and Wellbeing ecosystem through Living Labs Integration.

For over a decade, the Thessaloniki Action for Health and Wellbeing Living Lab (Thess-AHALL) has championed research and innovation, enhancing health and wellbeing in Thessaloniki and beyond. Initially established in 2014 with a focus on Active & Healthy Aging, Thess-AHALL has since expanded its mission to embrace a holistic approach to health and well-being. This broader initiative promotes cross-sectoral collaboration, involving stakeholders from various fields to develop solutions that improve the quality of life.

Thess-AHALL integrates diverse sectors, including oncology, agri-food, urban resilience, environmental change, mass communication, and culture. This comprehensive model transforms Thessaloniki into a living lab that addresses complex health challenges holistically. By uniting city authorities, museums, libraries, and university research groups, Thess-AHALL fosters initiatives that enhance the quality of life and promote independent living. Thess-AHALL employs participatory design and city science methodologies to co-create solutions with the community.

Οne of the key activities that Thess-AHALL undertook was the Collaboration & Research Community for Independent Living. This citizen-led research group comprised older adults, patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The dynamic panel actively engaged in living lab activities, applying scientific research methodologies in an experiential learning manner. They shared experiences, codesigned solutions, and participated in educational field visits. Recognizing their pivotal role, ThessAHALL developed a model to elevate their status from collaborators to co-owners, advancing towards a new patient-led living lab model.

Another significant initiative was the PECan project, or Partners of Experience in Cancer. This project cultivated a culture of mutual understanding and collaboration between cancer patients and the research community. It involved caregivers, healthcare professionals, and medical students, aiming to establish the first Living Lab self-governed by citizens, fostering research, open science, and innovation in oncology.

As part of this initiative, we established the Collaboration & Research Community for Independent Living. This citizen-led research group comprises older adults, patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The dynamic panel actively engaged in living lab activities, applying scientific research methodologies in an experiential learning manner. They share experiences, co-design solutions, and participate in educational field visits. Recognizing their pivotal role, Thess-AHALL is developing a model to elevate their status from collaborators to co-owners, advancing towards a new patient-led living lab model.

Figure 1: Collaboration & Research Community for the Independent Living “Partners of Experience”

Furthermore, the CAPTAIN H2020 program designed a smart home assistant for older adults using micro projectors. Thess-AHALL led the co-creation and experimentation framework for this project, resulting in the development of the “Partners of Experience” methodology. This methodology was later utilized in other European projects like HOSMARTAI H2020 and iProlepsis Horizon Europe.

Another noteworthy initiative is the VITALISE H2020 project, which harmonized access to Health and Wellbeing Living Labs for researchers, promoting cross-disciplinary and cross-border experimentation. Thess-AHALL performed three Living Lab projects and facilitated six research studies from external researchers. A significant outcome of this project was the development of a web-based panel management tool (app.thepanelab.com) for use by external Living Labs. By providing a centralized platform for managing participant panels, the tool streamlined the recruitment, tracking, and engagement of study participants, making it easier for researchers to conduct high-quality, large-scale studies. Furthermore, by offering a shared resource that can be used across various departments and research groups, it facilitates the integration of diverse fields such as healthcare, technology, social sciences, and more. This promotes a more holistic approach to research and innovation, encouraging the blending of different perspectives and expertise to address complex health and wellbeing challenges.

Thess-AHALL actively engaged in three Living Lab projects and provided support for six research studies conducted by external researchers. These initiatives focused on testing and evaluating new technologies within the healthcare sector, contributing to the advancement of innovative solutions and interdisciplinary collaboration.

 

Figure 2 – Stakeholders creating and enhancing learning tools in Thess-AHALL’s premises

The true strength of Thess-AHALL lies in its extensive network of collaborators within the Quadruple Helix, spanning local, national, and EU levels. The integration of Thess-AHALL within the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki illustrate how universities can serve as catalysts for innovation and regional development. The living lab model facilitates dynamic interaction between academic research, technological development, and real-world application, creating fertile ground for breakthroughs in health and wellbeing. By embedding living labs within the university structure, ThessAHALL harnesses academic expertise, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, and bridges the gap between theory and practice. The involvement of the Quadruple Helix is crucial, as it ensures that innovation is driven by a holistic approach, incorporating perspectives from academia, industry, government, and civil society to create more impactful and sustainable solutions.

Through its national and international synergies, involvement in numerous research projects, and deep knowledge of working with diverse populations, Thess-AHALL drove meaningful social change in the local ecosystem.

 

Figure 3: Thess-AHALL Co-Designing, LL activities and Educational Visit

CATALISI Deliverable 2.1 Knowledge sharing and Mutual Learning Plan

Institutional transformation within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is vital to address the current challenges and align with societal values and needs. CATALISI employs seven innovative acceleration services to drive this transformation, including Living Labs, Design Lab, Counseling, Human Capital Reinforcement, Predictive Skills Studies, Marketplace, and Community of Practice (CoP).   

The CATALISI project enables Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to pursue institutional transformation, conceiving mutual learning as an “acceleration service” for strengthening human capital, capacity building and outreach. 

The relevance of mutual learning and knowledge sharing as a methodology to strengthen the capacity of HEIs to advance towards the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda for 2022-2024 is proven and required to define a detailed Knowledge Sharing and Mutual Learning Plan, led by APRE, to support this process.   

The CATALISI D.2.1 deliverable provides guidelines for the set-up and organization of Mobilization and Mutual Learning (MML) workshops and Twinning schemes to assist HEIs in acquiring knowledge of workable solutions that can be implemented in their context at institutional level.  

Knowledge Sharing and Mutual Learning Approach and activities in CATALISI 

MML actions address R&I challenges by creating diverse partnerships and ensuring R&I relevance and responsiveness, highlighting a need for targeted knowledge sharing and peer to peer learning to achieve institutional transformation. 

Knowledge sharing and mutual learning in CATALISI aim to support HEIs in their institutional transformations by providing practical knowledge, best practices, and examples benefitting from the exchange with other HEIs peers, experts and societal actors. This approach facilitates broad networking, co-creation, capacity-building, idea generation, and stakeholder engagement to manage and sustain R&I over time.  

Knowledge sharing and mutual learning in CATALISI includes three educational and learning activities, namely onsite workshops, online events, and twinning schemes: 

  1. MML onsite workshops: These events facilitate experience and knowledge exchange among HEIs. Seven workshops, one in each implementer location, involve discussions on institutional transformation roadmaps and co-creation of new solutions and pathways. 
  1. Mutual learning online events organized by APRE: these events feature Community of Practice (CoP) members sharing best practices and advising on institutional changes.  
  1. Twinning schemes: Twinning mechanisms facilitate peer-to-peer knowledge transfer and best practice implementation among HEIs. Each HEI visits threeothers, focusing on specific intervention areas like Human Capital, Research Modus Operandi, and Finance. 

Conclusion 

In CATALISI, APRE facilitates the creation of a knowledge-sharing and mutual learning environment for exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge among participants. MML onsite workshops and Twinnig are being implemented aiming: 

  • To be informative and inspiring, motivating participants for further stimulating a positive research culture within institutions. 
  • To promote interactions with experts providing valuable insights on good practices and actionable knowledge on potential solutions. 
  • To transfer knowledge from different disciplines and from different countries.  

The value of knowledge-sharing and mutual learning thus extends beyond immediate applications in the context of specific CATALISI initiatives.

You can download the full deliverable at this link

CATALISI Deliverable 1.1 Acting Living Labs needs assessment and 4-Helix Ecosystem

In the European Union (EU), Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have long been recognized for their global leadership in research and innovation. To maintain and enhance this leadership, it is crucial for these institutions to address the challenges of Research and Innovation (R&I) and to manage and drive the transformations affecting science and innovation by strengthening their collaborations with European universities, citizens, and society. This cooperation maximizes the value of research and its impact on the region and local communities. Bridging the gap in research and innovation (R&I) performance among HEIs, to better navigate and cooperate in the production and dissemination of high-quality knowledge.  

The CATALISI project 

The CATALISI Horizon Europe project is dedicated to supporting HEIs in successfully implementing strategies and individualized pathways for institutional transformation through the adoption of innovative acceleration services. The CATALISI model focuses on three main domains for institutional transformation: 

  • Research Careers and Talent Support 
  • Open Science and Public Engagement 
  • Sustainable Research and Education 

These domains encompass various intervention areas and are integrated with seven targeted and innovative acceleration services designed to facilitate and catalyze institutional transformations in R&I. These services include: 

  • Living Labs 
  • Design Lab for Transformational Pathways: strategy and agenda setting 
  • Counselling 
  • Reinforcement of Human Capital: capacity building & outreach 
  • Predictive Study on Skills Anticipation 
  • Marketplace 
  • Community of Practice (CoP) 

By addressing these domains and leveraging these services, CATALISI aims to strengthen European University collaborations and alliances, positioning them as lighthouses of European values. 

Methodology 

The Living Lab Service: leveraging a co-creation methodology for university innovation development 

The methodological approach of the CATALISI project focuses on a participatory and collaborative framework to plan and develop stakeholder workshops. This approach is rooted in the Living Lab methodology, which emphasizes co-creation, stakeholder engagement, and real-world settings for innovation.  

One of the cornerstone acceleration services within the CATALISI project is the implementation of “Living Labs.” These innovative research environments emphasize co-creation, stakeholder involvement, and real-world settings to foster institutional transformation. Living Labs are guided by the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). 

Living Labs are innovative research environments that emphasize co-creation, stakeholder involvement, and real-world settings. They spotlight a distinctive approach and outcomes, and their unique application tailored for HEIs within the CATALISI project. They are not just theoretical concepts; they are practical, real-world environments where new ideas and strategies are tested and refined. The primary step in the institutional transformation for CATALISI Implementers is the “Living Lab” service, which involves setting up CATALISI Acting Living Labs. These labs allow for the elaboration of targeted and effective action plans within selected intervention areas through a co-created and iterative process. 

The Living Labs service has been instrumental in setting the stage for institutional transformation within the CATALISI project. A pivotal moment in this analysis was the organization of collaborative and interactive workshops tailored to each CATALISI Higher Education Institution.   

 

Stakeholder Workshops for heterogenous collaboration among actors in HEIs 

The CATALISI project emphasizes the importance of collaboration, cultural change, and responsive communication to achieve shared objectives. By leveraging the diverse perspectives and expertise of stakeholders across the quadruple helix—academia, business, public administration, and civil society—the project aims to create a holistic and impactful approach to institutional transformation in higher education. 

Between June and August 2023, seven workshops were organized by each Implementers, involving 153 key stakeholders from universities and their local ecosystems. These workshops provided a platform for meaningful exchanges, focusing on specific interventions driving institutional transformation. The workshops facilitated the re-evaluation and fine-tuning of initially outlined intervention areas, ensuring they are tailored to each institution’s unique needs and context. 

The quadruple helix model ensures that a diverse range of stakeholders from academia, business, public administration, and civil society are involved in the workshops. This diversity is crucial for capturing a wide array of perspectives and needs. 

Conclusion and Future Steps 

The launch of CATALISI’s first acceleration service in the Acting Living Labs marked the beginning of a transformative journey for HEIs across Europe. The insights gathered from the stakeholder workshops formed the basis for the next steps, including the development of concrete action plans aimed at designing and implementing institutional transformations. 

 

After the exploration phase that highlighted the diverse target intervention areas of CATALISI Implementers during the first year of the project, a comprehensive needs assessment involving Implementers and relevant stakeholders was conducted. This laid the groundwork for the subsequent collaborative design of Action Plans for Institutional Transformation. 

The methodological approach of this phase closely mirrors the Living Lab Methodology, ensuring that the solutions formulated—especially the Action Plans—are deeply rooted in the real-world challenges identified. This guarantees their relevance and alignment with the current needs of CATALISI HEIs. 

Following the co-design of Action Plans, Implementers are proceeding to the implementation phase. As the next step, the Action Plans will undergo evaluation to refine them. This iterative process facilitates continuous improvement and adaptation, ensuring the effective implementation of Action Plans throughout the project’s duration. The CATALISI project serves as a beacon of innovation and collaboration, guiding HEIs to elevate their research excellence and societal impact, and move towards the universities of the future. As a vital acceleration service within the CATALISI project, Living Labs have proven highly effective in co-creating change across various intervention areas of ERA policy and R&I throughout Europe. This success underscores their potential for adoption and adaptation in diverse future applications. 

You can download the full deliverable at this link

Reinforcing the Role of Universities in Local Innovation Systems: Insights from the CATALISI 4th Webinar

The CATALISI project continues to drive transformative change in higher education institutions, and its 4th webinar is no exception. Titled “Reinforcing the Role of Universities in Local Innovation Systems,” this event featured insights from Roberto San Salvador del Valle, Director of Deusto Cities Lab Chair, who shared thoughts and proposals on the UniverCity concept, an innovation ecosystem that blends technological innovation and human values.

Roberto highlighted the importance of moving beyond purely economic innovation. He emphasized the need for societal and democratic values in innovation to address the pressing global challenges we face today. This approach aligns perfectly with the CATALISI project’s objectives of fostering dynamic and collaborative environments for knowledge-sharing and institutional transformation.

Universities as Beacons of Innovation

Roberto’s message is clear: universities must serve as beacons of innovation, making conscious choices about areas to innovate that will genuinely benefit local communities. With their unique insights into their ecosystems, universities are in a prime position to understand and leverage their impact on cities and territories.

The CATALISI project supports this vision by facilitating knowledge-sharing, infrastructure development, and resource mobilization among higher education institutions (HEIs). By encouraging the dissemination of acquired knowledge and best practices, CATALISI promotes institutional transformations that are not only impactful but also sustainable.

 

For those who missed the live webinar, there’s good news. The recording is available on the CATALISI Learning Hub repository. This resource will provide valuable insights and guidance for HEIs looking to enhance their role in local innovation systems.

Stay tuned to the CATALISI Learning Hub for more updates and resources.

Second Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) workshop at Amsterdam UMC

On April 11th, the CATALISI Amsterdam UMC team organised a Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) event in Amsterdam. With over 70 attendees from various universities across Europe, the workshop aimed at sharing knowledge and ideas on improving the Responsible Conduct of Research and stimulating a positive research culture.

Hosted by the Amsterdam UMC project leader, Miriam van Loon, the day started with an inspiring presentation by Mariëtte van den Hoven on instruments and initiatives for stimulating a positive research culture. Then Krishma Labib elaborated on the SOP4sRI projected more specifically. Additionally, Nathalie Trifkovic, policymaker and scientific integrity coordinator at the Vrije Universiteit, presented on the research culture policy at the university.

After sharing our knowledge, during the co-creation sessions we explored participants’ thoughts and international perspectives on how to improve research culture. Participants were asked to develop a metaphor for explaining research culture. It was interesting to see how defining research culture sparked many different interpretations, ranging from comparing research culture to an ecosystem or a puzzle, to even comparing research culture with the weather in the Netherlands…

An interactive poster session on different topics related to responsible conduct of research further stimulated the further exchange of both existing expertise and new ideas.

The day ended with a closing lecture by emeritus professor Lex Bouter, providing renewing insights into the challenges of scientific misconduct, such as papermills.

Overall, feedback showed that participants found the workshop to be very informative and inspiring, making them (even more) motivated to further stimulate a positive research culture in their own institutions and throughout Europe.  

The need of effective communication and dissemination in European Projects

The European Commission defines communication as the act of informing, promoting, and communicating activities, while dissemination involves making knowledge and results publicly available free-of-charge. 

Communication, dissemination, and exploitation are not just abstract concepts but are mandated legal obligations under Article 17 of the Horizon Europe Grant Agreement. This requirement underscores the critical importance of ensuring that scientific knowledge and research findings are shared widely and made accessible to all.

But why is this obligation so crucial? 

Historically, the field of science has been perceived as elitist, furthermore, the use of complex scientific jargon have often acted as barriers, preventing broader access to information and perpetuating cycles of exclusion. In the past, science communication was characterised by a one-way exchange, where scholars gathered in exclusive circles to discuss advancements, and the complexity of one’s discourse was sometimes equated with intelligence.  

Scientific developments and challenges are often global, rapidly evolving, and uncertain. This landscape paves the way for pseudoscience and misinformation, posing significant challenges to the dissemination of accurate scientific knowledge. 

The digital revolution and the COVID-19 pandemic have transformed the communication of science with a growing recognition of the need for inclusive communication practices that engage diverse audiences and foster accessibility for all. 

It is crucial to make scientific information accessible to all. People should feel empowered and confident to engage with scientific information and feel competent enough to understand the knowledge. Promoting scientific literacy among the general public can empower individuals to critically evaluate information and distinguish between credible scientific sources and pseudoscience. Moreover, science communication should be tailored to the social context of different countries, empowering citizens to navigate scientific knowledge independently. 

To address the communication crisis, scientists must actively engage in public discourse and collaborate with communication professionals. Collaborating with media outlets, educational institutions, and community organisations can amplify the reach of accurate scientific information and foster a culture of science engagement. 

Open science principles, including making research freely available and fostering accurate and accountable scientific communities, are essential. 

 

The CATALISI project serves as a bridge connecting the realms of research and innovation with the broader public sphere. Through its commitment to sustainability, inclusivity, and alignment with market demands, CATALISI not only advances scientific endeavors but also ensures that the benefits of research reach the wider community.  

By fostering collaborative partnerships and innovative communication strategies, CATALISI facilitates the dissemination of accurate scientific information to the public, thereby bridging the gap between scientific developments and societal needs. In an era where effective communication is paramount, CATALISI’s efforts contribute to building public trust in science and promoting informed decision-making. Furthermore, by empowering diverse stakeholders to actively engage in the research process, CATALISI paves the way for a more inclusive and impactful approach to research and innovation. 

 

Further read:

Reimagining Higher Education Research Financing -A Living Lab Approach

The horizon has changed, higher education research is experiencing intense new demands and priorities to act upon and contribute to global transformation processes such as the green and digital transition. While operating in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment, they must also strategically experiment with new forms of international collaboration, such as European University Alliances. These trends are affecting all dimensions of university life, but in particular their funding context, suggesting a need for innovative approaches and begging the following questions: Is innovation in HEI research funding possible? How can HEI funding adapt to the rapidly evolving globalising context HEI’s find themselves in? What implications do changes in the funding landscape have on governance and leadership? What is the capacity of universities themselves to think ahead and develop financial strategies? Which investment priorities are needed to future-proof activities? 

University College Cork (UCC), a partner in the EU Horizon Europe CATALISI[1] initiative, aims to reinject some re-imagination into this discussion and outline possible future paths for university research finances. A Living Lab at University College Cork is focusing on a cross-cutting target intervention area under the working title ‘Financial Sustainability for Research & Innovation’. In line with the Living Lab methodology embraced by CATALISI, a transformation approach has been adopted, prioritising participatory and iterative co-creation actions with stakeholders including university staff and students and external partners.


[1] The primary goal of the CATALISI project is to support seven Higher Education Institutions (so-called ‘Implementers’) in successfully implementing a strategy and individual pathway for Institutional transformation. CATALISI Higher Education Institutions (Implementers) are located in seven European countries, more specifically: Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – AUTH), Lithuania (Kaunas University of Technology – KTU), Ireland (University College Cork – UCC), Poland (University of Gdańsk – UG), Spain (Jaume I University – UJI), Italy (Luiss Guido Carli University – LUISS), and Netherlands (Amsterdam University Medical Center – AUMC).

 

The CATALISI model focuses on three main domains for institutional transformation (Research careers and talent support, Open science and public engagement, and Sustainable research and education) composed by different intervention areas and intersected by seven targeted and innovative acceleration services (Living Labs, Design Lab for transformational pathway, and Counselling, Reinforce Human Capital; Predictive study on skills anticipation; Marketplace; Community of practice (CoP)). These are designed to facilitate and catalyse institutional transformations in the field of Research and Innovation which will strengthen HEI’s collaborations and alliances as lighthouses of European values.

While framing its Living Lab and the intervention area it is targeting, UCC recognised that financial sustainability is an integral and requisite part of realising sustainability in broader terms and within the context of a research and innovation ecosystem that interacts at local, regional, national, and international levels. Institutionally UCC is committed to continually strengthening its research and academic excellence. This intervention area is therefore strongly aligned to the university institutional strategy, leadership commitment and ambition around UCC’s Research and Innovation agenda. This is articulated under Goal 1 of the UCC Strategic Plan 2023-2028 which sets out to ‘deliver impactful research and innovation that addresses global grand challenges in signature areas of excellence’.

The role of the UCC Living Lab is to collaboratively engage with stakeholders to explore the current state of affairs and to co-design, develop and pilot new models and practices, thus accelerating transformation, a key goal of CATALISI, towards a more financially sustainable research and innovation ecosystem. The Living Lab approach to collaboratively examine and plan for financial sustainability is particularly relevant to the institution considering the complexity and scale of the issues to be addressed. Participants in the Living Lab have highlighted the following issues:

Firstly, in Ireland, there is a relatively low level of Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD), one of the lowest investment in R&I of OECD countries. In addition, a high proportion of total research income to UCC comes from a small number of large-scale research centres, with an over reliance on one single state funding agency, presenting a need for more balance to ameliorate risk.

Research income for the most part, solely covers direct research project costs. In many cases, the small institutional overhead provided (indirect costs) by a research grant does not sufficiently support the full cost to the institution of supporting a funded research project. For example, additional needs include support from staff in the research office, finance office, legal office, human resources department, Library, and many other support services over the lifetime of the grant.

As there is no mechanism currently for retaining overhead institutionally to invest in strategic initiatives or capacity building initiatives, an enhanced strategic model of income allocation is required for longer term financial sustainability, as without the ability to invest strategically, the institution is compromised.

For example, increasingly UCC, as a local regional institution, is experiencing issues related to brain drain, talent retention and attraction. It needs to unlock mechanisms to better retain, attract and sustain a pipeline of research talent. This requires identifying and unlocking financial mechanisms that enable institutional development in this area.

In addition, staff have identified Pre and Post Award grant support as an issue for researchers outside of research centres. Staff have identified a range of support needs for College and School based researchers, in particular – grants involving complex community partnerships (co-hiring, co-financing, co-researching etc.) which require deeper research supports than are currently available. UCC’s research and innovation context is also one of rapid pace of change with respect to Open Science. Currently, there is an ad-hoc fragmented approach to Open Science because of financial constraints with regard to planning for future needs.

Secondly, UCC Living Lab stakeholders are concerned about a context where research priorities are increasingly set by external funding agencies, with a narrowing of research topics and a need for greater diversity and more institutionally determined topics. With regard to institutional autonomy, UCC finds itself relatively constrained regarding its ability to fund and support an institutionally determined and driven research agenda – within a wider context of a funding policy and culture determined nationally and at European level.

In addition, Funders are also increasingly encouraging societal engagement as an aspect of research proposals, but without consideration of the collaborative design, planning and ongoing partnership over many years needed with external partners to enable meaningful and impactful research. Systems and supports are needed to realise truly transformative rather than transactional relationships between higher education and society. In this regard, there is currently a disconnect between university research systems, societal actors, funding instruments, policymakers and the public, presenting a need and opportunity for advocacy to funding bodies and policymakers to address these issues.

With the launch of CATALISI’s acceleration service, a Living Lab, UCC finds itself more equippedto identify the issues and progress innovation towards the ‘Financial Sustainability of Research & Innovation’. Its capacity to think strategically and to also think ahead as an organization has been enhanced through identifying and partnering with its stakeholders, internally and externally. We are now positioned to gather valuable insights into the local context, barriers, and the framework conditions that impact our potential for institutional transformation. The involvement of quadruple helix stakeholders – Academia, Business, Public Administration, and Civil Society – has added a mosaic of perspectives, needs, and expectations to our thinking. Our determination now is to progress action plans, informed by our stakeholders, and indeed with our stakeholders, ultimately accelerate and drive an effective transformation.

Improving Research Careers: Insights from the Third CATALISI Webinar

As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance research and innovation in universities and support the career development of students and professionals, the CATALISI project hosted its third webinar titled “Recognition of Qualifications in Research Careers: Skills in Research and Beyond.” This webinar is part of a series aimed at bolstering research departments and careers.

One of the key initiatives of the CATALISI project is the creation of a free repository of resources to assist universities and individuals in accessing training materials. These resources are designed to empower participants to enhance their reseach skills at their own pace and convenience.

All materials, including recordings of past webinars, are readily available on the CATALISI website: The Learning Hub.

In our latest webinar, we were privileged to have two distinguished speakers share their expertise with us. Erica Feliziani, Research Advisor at the University of Macerata, delved into the essential skills and training required for European research managers, drawing insights from the CARDEA project.

Surveys conducted as part of this project underscored the importance of a diverse skill set, with a particular emphasis on soft skills. Furthermore, there was a notable gap in perceived training opportunities, indicating a preference for practical and flexible training approaches.

In response to these findings, CATALISI is actively developing flexible and practical training programs tailored to the needs identified in the surveys. We invite all stakeholders to participate in shaping these initiatives and driving positive change in research management.

 

Our second speaker, Rrap Kryeziu, a senior consultant at EY, shed light on a predictive study focusing on the soft skills researchers will need to thrive in the labor market. Through interviews with over 45 vice-rectors, deans, and 1700 PhD students across Europe, valuable insights were gathered. The survey results, reflecting self-assessment scores by PhD students on various research competencies, identified areas where improvement is desired.

This predictive study will be a valuable addition to CATALISI’s deliverables and will be accessible to everyone after the summer. We encourage all stakeholders to stay tuned for further insights into the labor market and research competencies.

By collaborating and leveraging our collective expertise, we can foster a more dynamic and resilient research ecosystem, ultimately driving innovation and societal impact. Together, let’s shape the future of research and innovation.

CATALISI second Webinar “Mainstreaming of Open Science and Digitization of Research”.

The second Webinar was hosted by EY on February 8th: Mainstreaming of Open Science and Digitization of Research”.

The objectives of the webinar include:
🔹 Sharing best practices and research findings on Open Science
🔹 Fostering dialogues and collaboration among experts in this sector
🔹 Identifying Multilingualism as a Catalyst for Open Science

We had the pleasure to count on two incredible speakers:
Tycho Hofstra is a data steward at the University Library of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He Provided good information on open science can become a chore for both researcher and data professional, but doesn’t have to be. Perhaps we can sneak in some fun to make the principles and good practices stick better? In this talk, we’ll look at some of the challenges in getting researchers to talk and think about open science and the ways Dutch university libraries try to break the ice.

Johanna Havemann,Dr. is a trainer and consultant in Open Scholarly Communication Research Project Management. She is also the co-founder and lead coordinator at AfricArXiv – the publishing platform to increase the discoverability of African research accomplishments. With a focus on digital tools for science and her label Access 2 Perspectives, she aims to strengthen globally inclusive science communication and research management through the adoption of Open Science practices. Her speech focused on how to analyzation and encourage a different approach to Open Science through multilingualism.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to listen to the recording in the Learning Hub: https://lnkd.in/dUXaahkb

Mobilisation and Mutual Learning event at UJI

The 19th of January 2024 took place the “Mobilisation and Mutual Learning event: advancing towards Responsible Research Practices in UJI” at Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain.

The meeting was organised by UJI CATALISI members Ramón Feenstra, Laura Bernal, Carlota Carretero, and Elsa Gonzalez and it was attended by CATALISI members from APRE, UCC, UG, KTU, AUTH, AUMC, LUISS and also by some UJI researchers and technical staff. The goals of this event were, on the one hand, to explain the work that has been done at UJI regarding responsible research practices and research integrity and also present inspiring initiatives from other universities. On the other hand, discuss with the participants the ways in which UJI can promote a scale of indicators to measure performance on Open Access (OA) and also how to boost the involvement of UJI’s ethics committee with researchers.

On the first part of the event, three speakers shared their experience improving research assessment and research ethics structures in Spanish universities. First, Margarita Vergara (adjunct Vice-rector of Research at UJI) explained the work done at UJI regarding the transformation of research assessment criteria and also the upcoming challenges. Second, Elsa González Esteban (Vice-rector of Social Policies and CATALISI member) shared the work done in the framework of the ETHNA System project, where a set of tools for RRI were developed: an ethical code, an ethics committee, an ethical hotline and process indicators to report. Last, Alberto Pastor, from Miguel Hernández University (UMH), explained their experience implementing IRIU, a system to measure researchers’ adherence to the UMH guidelines for responsibility in research and also with the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the second part of the event, there was a co-creation session with the rest of the participants dedicated to advancing in the development of research ethics tools. During this session, moderated by Ramón Feenstra and Laura Bernal, CATALISI members and also UJI researchers and technical staff discussed the potential and also the obstacles for the implementation of a scale to measure researchers’ performance on OA and how to improve the work of the UJI ethics committee. Regarding the first topic, some questions such as the need for economic support, the need for a cultural change, making mandatory for projects with public funding to publish in OA or the promotion of role models and PhD teaming in spreading good practices in OA were brought up. Regarding the work of the ethics committee, it was suggested to implement fines or a system for reporting people who violate research integrity or to create a platform for complaints. Also, it was considered helpful for researchers to be able to see the state of the process of going through the ethics committee.

Finally, it is worth noting that, during this event, plenty of interesting ideas, reflections and discussions regarding the current state and the future of research ethics and research assessment came out. It also served to share the current state of this topic in the Spanish context and to suggest specific tools for improving its development.

 

“This event was very fruitful for reflecting about the creation of specific tools for the promotion of research ethics at UJI”
Ramon Feenstra
Associate professor at Jaume I University