This section explains the policies that SwafS pursues to achieve its aims.

The European Commission has promoted an approach to research and innovation in which all societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, businesses, civil society organisations, etc.) work together during the whole Research and Innovation process, with the aim to better align research and innovation outcomes with societal values needs and aspirations. It has referred to this approach as Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

In practice, the European Commission implements RRI as a package aiming to better engage society in Research and Innovation activities. This package touches on civil society engagement this is where the practices are lagging behind. It is supported by further activities enabling easier access to scientific results to all, favouring a better uptake of the gender and ethics dimensions in Research and Innovation content, and spreading good practices in formal and informal education to science.

For the longer term, it is essential to realise societally robust science and innovation policy generally, in particular also in the context of the European Research Area (ERA) and Innovation Union. ERA stakeholders themselves have indicated an interest in complementing ERA with RRI oriented actions, for example with regard to public engagement and ethics.

Furthermore, the European Union’s ambitious funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, has as a notable ambition to address the societal challenges faced by Europe and the world; challenges such as climate change, energy security, food security, health and an ageing population, the economic crisis…