As an emerging economy and a universal voice for the Global South, India once again needs to play leadership role while promoting the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework in the country. The first HEIRRI training workshop in India on RRI was organized at University of Calcutta on 20th January 2018 as a post-seminar event of the International Seminar on Digital Humanities and Digital Societies in the Contemporary World (DHDS2018).

The Seminar, organized during 18th-19th January 2018 in the city of Kolkata in West Bengal, had a good number of papers related to some elements of RRI framework, namely, open access and publication ethics. Thus, it was a natural choice to have a “HEIRRI Train the Trainers Workshop (ToT) on Facilitating Reflection on of Responsible Research and Innovation” in this International Seminar. The first workshop was based on the HEIRRI ‘Train the Trainers’ course module titled “Facilitating Reflection on Responsible Research and Innovation”. This course aims to support university teaching and administrative staff to better comprehend the concept and practice of RRI, and this way help to promote it in their daily work. The Workshop was attended by 16 participants from universities and colleges in West Bengal, India, with a background in social sciences (such as library and information science, journalism, management, and others) and several levels of experience, ranging from professors to head of departments.

ToT Workshop began with a song of the offering, a popular Rabindra Sangeet (i.e., a song written by Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore), presented by one of the participants. In the beginning, Professor Arabinda Maity, the Head of the Department of Library and Information Science (DLIS), emphasized the importance of such training workshops in a research ecosystem such as a university system where the future researchers and research administrators are being produced. As we are engaged in collaborative research studies with international collaborators, we need to follow some of the global standards and contemporary research frameworks. Dr. Susmita Chakraborty, the Organizing Secretary of DHDS2018 and Associate Professor of DLIS, commended the participants for taking interests in understanding RRI framework and thanked HEIRRI for choosing University of Calcutta a venue for ToT Workshop. In the first session of the Workshop, the resource person Dr. Anup Kumar Das (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) delivered the first presentation titled “Introduction to Responsible Research and Innovation”, based on HEIRRI resource materials. In the second half, the participants followed the Train the Trainers’ programme as structured in the HEIRRI curricula “Facilitating Reflection on Responsible Research and Innovation”. The participants debated about how it might be feasible to involve the ground-level stakeholders in the planning process of an academic research project.  They also had fruitful discussion on how RRI can transform research, development and innovation (R&D&I) ecosystems in the developing nations.

The second HEIRRI training workshop (pilot) in India was organized at the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on 5th February 2018. The Workshop was attended by 14 participants from the host university and a few local universities around Delhi with a background in social sciences (such as science policy studies, innovation studies, international relations, biomedical science, management, and others). The workshop was open to the pre-doctoral and doctoral students, enrolled in the universities and other higher education institutions. Online Registration was prerequisite for participation.  In this interactive workshop HEIRRI self-learning module “Responsible PhD: Integrating Responsible Research and Innovation in PhD Research” was discussed and analyzed. The workshop was aimed at sensitization and awareness raising of research students about the main characteristics of different concepts of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and their implications for research practices, particularly in the academic research projects.  In the workshop, participants further discussed how RRI framework would be integrated into doctoral and postdoctoral academic research projects. Here HEIRRI self-learning modules, when published, will help in outreaching the researchers’ communities in different parts of the world.

Dr. Anup Kumar Das from Jawaharlal Nehru University (India) was involved as a resource person for both the HEIRRI pilots in India.

Go to this Flickr album to see more pictures of the HEIRRI pilots in India. More pictures of the HEIRRI workshops here.

Contribution by Dr. Anup Kumar Das from Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)