Horizon 2020 is working towards improving the relationship between science & society, favouring informed engagement and the dialogue with members of society such as citizens and civil society in research and innovation. Therefore, research should aim to tackle European societal challenges, build capacities and develop innovative ways of connecting science to society. This will make science more attractive, increase society’s appetite for innovation, and open up further research and innovation activities.
The challenge of SWAFS projects is the involvement of societal actors and the integration of societal concerns in research in a systematic and sustainable way with the aim to remove cultural barriers and integrate a gender and cultural dimension in research.
Following the EU
The specific objective 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 
Sparks & Co has won 2 SWAFs projects: FIT4RRI & I-Consent, projects with different objectives but with a same perspective: Science With and for Society.
So, what are these projects about in more detail?
FIT4RRI aims at fostering improved training tools for Responsible Research and Innovation by bridging the gap between Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OS) through:
1.Enhancing the competencies and skills related to RRI and OS by improving the RRI and OS training offer currently available
2.Institutionally embed RRI and OS practices in RFPOs, research sectors and national research systems
I-Consent aims at improving the guidelines for Informed Consent, including vulnerable populations, under a gender perspective. It’s a process that allows the patient to voluntarily decide whether he/she wants to participate in clinical research. The relationship between science and society should favor the engagement inclusion of citizens in the informed consent process, and this must be done with special attention to ethics and gender considerations.
Why are communication and dissemination important for SwafS projects?
Communicating and disseminating SwafS projects is very crucial for showing the ways in which the research is contributing to the development of innovative solutions that will be implemented based on the need and benefit of the society. Therefore, communicating the objectives and outcomes of the project should start at an early stage by showing how the outcomes are relevant to our everyday lives, for instance by creating jobs, introducing novel technologies or making our lives more comfortable in other ways. Moreover, we should disseminate the results to decision-makers to influence policy-making and to the concerned industry and scientific communities to ensure follow-up.
FIT4RRI and I-Consent are both 3-year projects, still at their early stages. We are currently in the process of developing respective communication and dissemination strategies to meet their objectives along with action plans that will cover online and offline tools.
We are very excited to see the results of these 2 SwafS projects, in order to discover how science can be integrated into society and its concerns and see the impact of communication on the results!
Are you working on any SWAFS project? Share your experience with us or benefit from our services for your exisiting SwafS projects by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
She moved to Paris in 2016 to fulfill the role of European Communications Officer.
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