Involving society in science allows to make knowledge production processes more efficient, as well as increasing their relevance and impact. In this way, research and development can be directed towards society’s expectations, priorities, needs and requirements as well as removing all the benefits that result from its qualification and training.
It is necessary to create conditions to make close cooperation between society and the scientific community a reality in the joint search for solutions to societal challenges. It is imperative to do this in a cooperative and open manner, and to address problems in a transnational manner, without walls. The great questions of our time have no nationality.
ECIU, the European university of which Aveiro is a part, has launched SMART-ER, the first European Institute for Virtual Research. The initiative aims to promote dialogue with society, through a research and innovation model without barriers, without restrictions in terms of disciplines, sectors and countries, based on a collaborative online environment.
The project has received € 2 million in funding through the HORIZON 2020 program and invites local or regional governments, companies, civic organizations and citizens to participate in the search, development and implementation of solutions to meet Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Make our cities and societies more sustainable.
The new approach involves close collaboration of researchers from 12 institutions at ECIU. It is an opportunity for us to learn both locally and globally and to create broader knowledge-producing societies. Citizen science initiatives implemented in this context will implement the mechanisms and structures that are designed in the context of this new hypothetical research institute.
Involving institutions, societies and citizens from different countries increases the social impact of knowledge, and multiplies its impact. Together we will go beyond separation.
It is worth considering.
Dean of the University of Aveiro
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