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:

Discussing 4 intervention areas for institutional transformation – CATALISI Workshop at LUISS

On 11th of July, LUISS University CATALISI team, together with project partners APRE, EY and ENoLL, organised a workshop to discuss its path to institutional transformation.

The event gathered all stakeholders among LUISS academic community as key actors playing a major role in implementing foreseen transformations in the University. The workshop goal was to identify, jointly with LUISS stakeholders, all barriers, needs, expectations and framework conditions that can influence the institutional transformations.

In the CATALISI context, LUISS has decided to focus on four major intervention areas:

  • Mainstreaming of open science and digitisation of research
  • Public engagement with and outreach to society to solve social challenges
  • Supporting talent circulation – mobility
  • Sustainability in Research

The discussions were focused around identified short-, medium- and long-term goals foreseen in the 4 areas. In particular:

  • How to raise awareness about Open Science among the Faculty and on a governance level, to improve the quality of publications in Open Access and develop innovative tools for Open Science.
  • How to support public engagement, as the University Third Mission, increasing the internal awareness towards Third Mission, the quality of public engagement activities done in LUISS with the active involvement of the Faculty, and ultimately enhance Luiss’ role in the national and international debate on Third Mission.
  • How to promote and improve LUISS’ policies to attract ERC an MSCA researchers, promoting talent circulation.
  • How to promote research funding opportunities on sustainability issues at large and increase the number of quality researchers through external funding and tools which support financial sustainability.

Gathering experiences, thoughts and propositions from LUISS community, the results of the workshop will contribute greatly to the action plan for institutional transformation to be developed in 2023, together with the help and support of facilitating partners and innovative acceleration services foreseen in CATALISI.

Reform of research assessment & culture: CATALISI workshop at AUMC

As part of the CATALISI project and series of workshops conducted with universities, AUMC & VU institutions, with stakeholders from both  AmsterdamUMC (location VUMC) and VU (Amsterdam Free University) organized a workshop on June 30th.

CATALISI gathers stakeholders from quadruple helix (academia, public sector, business and civil society representatives). In this workshop, the first of more to come, stakeholders were invited to think along about two main intervention areas that will be the focus for institutional transformation: 

1) Recognition of qualifications and research careers and

2) Reform of research assessment.

Topics related to both areas can be connected to a focus on improving Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Related topics are for example: Research culture; research integrity; open science and RCR education.

The group of stakeholders was, based on expertise, divided into two thematical sub groups; the first focusing on research culture, and the second on embedding sustainably RCR education. The stakeholders contributed in lively sessions, sharing their expertise on these topics. Policy makers, researchers in RCR, and experts in specific topics all had valuable ideas about specifying the goals for CATALISI, analyzing potential barriers for the implementation of institutional transformation and highlighting needs and expectations, values, and concerns for different stakeholders perspectives.

This workshop provides a great starting point for the launch of CATALISI at AUMC and VU, engaging stakeholders, and gathering their expertise and feedback to inquire possible interventions, and make sure these interventions will be useful and feasible.