On November 29th-30th, Aarhus University hosted a two-day PhD-course in Responsible Research and Innovation in cooperation between Niels Mejlgaard, Centre Director at The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, and Kristian Hvidtfeldt, Head of Centre at the Centre for Science Studies. The PhD course aimed to introduce the students to the concept of RRI, reflect on it, and to enable them to include RRI perspectives in their own research projects. The course was finalized with an open, public science café at the Steno science museum, where the students presented their projects and engaged in discussions with participants about responsibilities in research.

The science café started with a one-hour tour of the museum’s exhibition by Hans Buhl, its curator. He focused specifically on controversies, ethical dilemmas, and risks through the history of science. He used examples such as the discovery of x-rays and radioactivity which hold many benefits but also grave dangers that should be governed by policy makers as well as the scientific community. He also spoke of how nuclear energy never became a reality in Denmark due to a great public resistance.

After the tour, Niels Mejlgaard presented the concept of RRI, the PhD course, and the HEIRRI project. The majority of the time was reserved for the six PhD students who gave short poster presentations of their research projects. Participants could then ask questions about research and engage in discussions about advantages and disadvantages of the projects as well as the researchers’ responsibilities towards society.

The Science Café was highly successful with participation of approximately 50 engaged participants of all ages who were eager to ask questions and voice their opinions.

See the Flickr album with the pictures taken during the Public Science Cafe: