PRO-Ethics 3rd Cross-Learning Workshop

In the last cross-learning workshop, PRO-Ethics research funding partners (RFOs) were invited to discuss the outcomes, impacts, and learnings of their pilots. They jointly reflected on the experience of the Ethics Framework implementation in their pilot work, specifically reviewing the guidelines in detail, and discussed how to build impact pathways for the pilot work continuation.

The workshop was organised and hosted by partner DBT in Copenhagen 8 and 8 March, with assistance of project coordinator ZSI, TU Delft, and Innoviris.

Institutional support and co-creation as drivers for a successful participatory experience
The partners started off by mapping the piloting work the type of participants involved, wider stakeholder groups, recruitment methodologies, engagement formats, goals and impacts achieved. Afterwards, we addressed the specific barriers and drivers that may have facilitated or hindered the impact achievement, and, finally, what has made the process worth it, and how the RFOs see the PRO-Ethics experience being embedded and continued at their organisations.

The drivers and barriers identified reveal that effective organisational change and uptake of a participatory approach is subject to institutional support: RFOs, insofar they are dependent on external fundings, the political momentum, and the culture of their organisation, depend substantially on the degree of internal engagement and openness to carry out participatory activities with the desirable impact. Furthermore, it was generally seen as a good principle to adopt a co-creation approach from the start, involving stakeholders already in the research and design phases of the process.

Ethics Framework and Guidelines evaluation
Another goal of the 3rd cross-learning workshop was to evaluate the implementation and testing of the Ethics Framework by the pilots. To this end, two sessions of evaluation were dedicated, one to evaluate the overall framework and another focused on the guidelines section of the framework. Some issues discussed were: what has been the feedback of internal and external stakeholders? Are the guidelines possible to be acted on? Are they relatable if not part of PRO-Ethics? Are they clear and comprehensive enough? Would other formats of the guidelines be beneficial for better use and dissemination?

In plenum, the discussion centred in the fact that some experiences and suggestions of improvement were contrasting. Specifically, some RFOs wished the framework reflected more the nature of the RFO and their specificities, others suggested that the framework would benefit to expand its audience and cover more target groups, such as researchers, civil society organisations, NGOs, and citizens. Consequently, the level of language would have to change: depending on the target group(s), the language and style would have to be adapted but, by becoming “too accessible”, the framework may risk losing the more specific audience which it aims to reach – RFOs. The authors will still accommodate these and other suggestions until the final version of the framework which is expected to be issued in June.

Pilots’ impact pathways design and PRO-Ethics legacy
On the second day, the focus was on impact model building, drawing on the previous day’s reflections, and further the exchange, having as steppingstone the reflections and discussions on the impact intended to be achieved by the pilots, as presented in the previous day. The goal was to obtain a good comprehension of impact models for RFOs, as well as start building a clear impact vision for their own pilots. The training started with some theoretical background on impact models and theory of change given by the partner in charge, Innoviris, followed by the step-by-step impact model construction, and sharing in plenary with the other RFOs. Although still tentative, this exercise revealed to be a quite fruitful step towards the final phase of the project, where PRO-Ethics legacy and impact will gain the main focus.

Photos from the workshop: DBT/PRO-Ethics
Published: 15.05.2023