Event review: 1st co-design workshop in Republic of Srpska

This event focused on presentation and discussion of the future scenarios envisaged through the reflection and co-design process for RRI 'anchor' activities targeting territory of the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia

Mar 18, 2022

This event focused on presentation and discussion of the future scenarios envisaged through the reflection and co-design process for RRI ‘anchor’ activities targeting territory of the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Date: 15.03.2022

Location: University of Banja Luka, University Campus, Banja Luka

Organisers: University of Banja Luka, RTD Health Cluster

Who attended the event?

The event gathered 12 stakeholders (apart from the WBC-RRI.NET project representatives) coming from the academia, government, secondary schools, business support organisations and civil society. Both public universities (UNIBL and University of East Sarajevo) had their representatives attending the workshop. The Ministry of Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the Republic of Srpska (MNRVOID) was also represented.

What happened at the event?

Introduction to WBC-RRI.NET, Andjela Pepic (UNIBL), Dalibor Drljača (HRTD Cluster)

The participants were welcomed and introduced with the key concepts underpinnign the WBC-RRI.NET project implementation, as well as its focus on the Republic of Srpska territory.

The importance of co-design and co-creation for successful implementation of activities aiming towards the embedding of RRI into the R&I ecosystem was emphaszed.

After the brief presentation of the WBC-RRI.NET project, Dalibor Drljača explained the aims of the workshop and the co-creation concept to the participants in order for them to better understand the goals of such process, followed by presentations of future scenarios.

Presentation of future scenarios, Dragana Radulovic, UNIBL

Big vision: In 2024, the R&I landscape of Republic of Srpska has embraced the RRI principles. The institutional practices in RPOs / HEIs and RFOs have been transformed with a particular focus on strengthening the ethics procedures and open science practices in R&I. This is done by institutionally embracing the RRI key in the RPOs and setting them as funding criteria in RFOs’ activities. The R&I landscape of Republic of Srpska embraces inclusive science education and integrating gender as a crosscutting issue. Finally, embedding the RRI keys into the strategic documents in the region, such as Smart Specialization Strategy of the Republic of Srpska (S3), is the highlight of the R&I/STI transformative processes that the region seeks to meet though relevant actions.

Future scenario 1: No change in the horizon,

  • Political instability in the country and the region producing economic uncertainty (low investments in R&I)
  • Brain drain phenomenon and ageing population
  • Labour market imbalances due to lack of qualified workers
  • Efforts invested by R&I actors in Republic of Srpska to remedy negative effects of brain drain by investing in networking with R&I diaspora
  • The MNRVOID invests efforts in mapping the researchers from diaspora and connecting them with the local academia
  • Despite unfavourable political climate Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) and Science Development Strategy for the Republic of Srpska are adopted, with integrated RRI keys such as ethics, open science and gender
  • However, due to political instability, the policy implementation is on hold

Future scenario 2: Time for R&I and STI to flourish!

  • Political stability ensures fertile ground for transformation processes in R&I and STI
  • EU integration processes continue, as well as development of S3 for the Republic of Srpska which includes scientific/research community through consultation and co-creation processes, integrating RRI keys
  • Research and innovation capacities increased through participation in Horizon Europe
  • Researchers integrate RRI concepts in their research, and contribute to the overall economic and societal development
  • Inititative for Open Science endorsed by all stakeholders
  • All R&I actors actively promote open science, integrating it into the institutional culture and also within the grant schemes
  • The gap betwen ethics standards and their implementation is closed, and there is good practices sharing between the R&I actors.
  • Close collaboration between the universities and secondary schools in Republic of Srpska through STEAM education
  • Women in STEM actively promoting science education throughout Republic of Srpska
  • Gender equality principles are part of the institutional culture with Gender Equality Plans in place

Open discussion and voting on the most objective scenario

The MNRVOID representative highlighted that there are already activities within the R&I system, as well as within the Ministry itself focused on promoting and embedding certain RRI keys in the legal and policy framework, such as focus on gender aspects through Strategy for Gender Equality developed together with Gender Centre in the Government of the Republic of Srpska, as well as focus on open science which will be integrated in the upcoming Strategy for Scientific-Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the Republic of Srpska for the period 2022-2028.

Even though there are STEM laboratories already in place in secondary schools across Republic of Srpska, due to COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a stalemate in their actual utilisation and there is a lack of STEM/science education activities within the secondary schools as extra-curricular activites.

There is a lack of proper monitoring of the implementation and effects of different activities in the R&I system.

All participants highlighted that there is already a potential and willingess for transformative changes in the R&I system, and have recognized that there is policy-level support through legislation and policy framework either in place or in development, but that there is a need for all stakeholders to actively work together on implementation and embedding of RRI in the R&I system in Republic of Srpska.

After the discussion, the participants voted for the most favourable future scenario, and they have selected 2nd scenario: Time for R&I and STI to Flourish! The activities supporting the achievement of the selected scenario will be co-designed at the second workshop to be organised by mid-April.

Take a look at the presentation (in local language) and agenda of the event.

This article was prepared by Milica Maric (UNIBL) and Andjela Pepic (UNIBL).