Outcomes from the "Coordinating Policy Recommendations for Durable Action" - Research Policy Workshop

Outcomes from the

Outcomes from the "Coordinating Policy Recommendations for Durable Action" - Research Policy Workshop

On the 14th of February 2018, the projects COURAGE and DANDELION organized a joint Research Policy Workshop entitled “Coordinating Policy Recommendations for Durable Action”. 

Taking place in Brussels, the workshop aimed to improve the capacity of H2020 projects in the development of policy recommendations, developing synergies and bringing the results directly to representatives of the European Commission and policy makers.

The event followed up on the “Valorisation Activities and SSH Research Ripeness for Impact” workshop organized by DANDELION project in October last year, with the ultimate goal to enhance the networking capacities of projects and raise the impact of policy recommendations.

Participants had a chance to learn from the experiences of 9 EU funded projects within the framework programme Societal Challenge 6 “Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” focusing on cultural heritage and exchange views with the representatives from the European Commission at various levels of the administration and discuss about pressing issues and possible solutions. 

From the discussion on “European Cultural Heritage and Policy Making: Obstacles and Solutions” the following 7 suggestions arise:

1. Building trust for an integrative culture and society: Trust develops most effectively not through legislation or structural change but through facilitative human contact. Europe needs new and proactive networks with stakeholders from the peripheries involved. They will integrate local societies as co-creators of an entangled European cultural heritage.

2. Participation: The extent of active participants in EU funded projects is relatively small. It is an elite privilege. Stakeholders of cultural institutions far from urban centers feel displaced. New methods and more intense contacts are needed to build trust.

3. Access: Propagators of fake knowledge are effective in attracting attention. Therefore, access should mean not only making more information available for everyone. A more concentrated effort is required in assisting citizens to curate information that is accurate, reliable and the sources referenced.

4. Transparency: Decision making processes in the EU are not transparent for stakeholders of cultural institutions. It is not clear where to turn with their ideas and problems. They need more effective guidance.

5. Enhancing participatory culture: The challenges of managing cultural heritage sites and objects requires coordinated action by local stakeholders and users/visitors. EU funded projects should mediate in the process, encourage co-creation and emotional involvement of citizens, and assist in mapping relevant policy makers. Projects need more chances to exchange best practices and success stories.

6. Connecting educational platforms: The nexus between research and education is loose. The accelerated rhythm of publishing prevents researchers to invest more in education and develop innovative teaching methods and tools. Academia does not reward involvement in creating digital databases and educational platforms. Consequently, these are non-sustainable, fragmented and static. Prioritizing the development of responsive, interactive and integrated platforms on an equal access basis would lead to a breakthrough in enhancing innovative potential through education.

7. Refining the culture of archiving: Greater citizen awareness of the importance of archiving and the processes involved will lead to a society that masters its own heritage. It will prevent unfair and abusive handling of the past and will inspire creative minds by giving greater access to a greater variety of cultural asset. Recognizing intangible heritage and bringing "hiding" archives to the fore will create new contexts for thinking outside the box.

From the discussion on “Innovative pathways for communicating SSH research” the following 5 challenges in SSH communication were identified:

1. Persistent communication silos across disciplines (STEM, SSH) & sectors (economy, public authorities, civil society)

2. Multi-stakeholder collaborations and platforms with SSH opportunistic, not sustainable

3. Context of knowledge generation out of sync from context of application (relevance & timeliness of research agendas regarding practitioners’ needs)

4. Mismatch in stakeholders’ expectations about the “innovation potential” from SSH

5. Insufficient capacity of SSH to communicate diagnoses, set agendas, and spread ideas to societal stakeholders, general public, policy makers

5 actions suggested to address the communication challenges in SSH: 

1. Reaching out to a younger audience through games: The game proposes an innovative way to convey contents (based on research projects and official EC reports) addressing societal challenges like migration, integration, democracy, participation to policy, populism, radicalization and unemployment, to the large public and to the young generations (from teen-agers up) and, in the meantime, to shorten the gap among (often wrong) perception and reality.

2. Cluster SSH Research knowledge and make it available: The research results should be presented in short documents (Story telling documents) focusing on one ‘hot topic’ and outline the key findings and recommendations. In addition, the respective Fact Sheets should be developed acting as a ‘trigger’ for further reading (of the storytelling documents) and/or the respective project(s) results.

3. Finding knowledge and competencies: Interactive datasets such as maps and guidelines were proven as a useful source of information.

4. Community building and sharing the knowledge: To stay informed, ask questions and keep connected, DANDELION SEED Library may serve as a useful tool to explore the results of SSH research.

5. Interactive events: All quadruple helix representatives should be involved since the very beginning in the innovative forms of events.