Read about RRI in action at the University of Twente!

The University of Twente (UT) is a public research university located in Enschede, Netherlands. It offers degrees in the fields of social sciences, exact sciences and is highly specialized in engineering. The UT collaborates with Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and the Wageningen University and Research Centre under the umbrella of 4TU and is also a partner in the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). The UT is ranked 65th in the Reuters’s 2017 European Most Innovative Universities and 153rd worldwide in 2018 according to the Times Higher Education magazine.

 

 

Located at the Communication Science Department, the Embedded NUCLEUS team’s efforts are focused on capacity building and catalyzing a community of practice with various groups including RRI-related themes in their activities and research. The university cell is the main one in this approach. UT Embedded Nucleus’ activities of the last eight months can be divided into meetings (formal and informal), training (including lectures), and mentor and peer interactions. Their working network includes the Twente Graduate School, DesignLab, other European projects like RUNIN, SIENNA and GONANO; the university library, and researchers from various faculties.

In June 2018, they held a ThinkTank event with different stakeholders to gather suggestions for concrete activities and highlight where additional research will be needed to improve the way the UT contributes to meeting societal needs. The focus lied on two overarching questions: how can universities meet societal expectations and desires regarding their contributions? And how can the university practically include societal needs in current and future research projects? They are currently working on the results which will be presented to the Board of the University of Twente.

 

 

They also managed to make the trainings on academic integrity mandatory for all new PhD students from the fall of 2018 onwards, and they developed and taught a course on communication, innovation and society for Research Honour Master students and PhD students. For their first in depth-case, they are interviewing both early career as well as senior robotics researchers to track and compare the responsiveness of their developments, in order to pinpoint the effects of the aforementioned trainings. This case will contribute to the RRI DNA by generating insight in whether this method can catalyse RRI amongst researchers.

In the upcoming six months, the activities at the University of Twente will remain focused on capacity building and catalysing a community of practice with various groups including RRI-related themes in their activities or research. Also the meetings with stakeholders and officials to promote RRI and the goals of the Nucleus at the UT will continue.

If you want to know more about the Embedded Nucleus at UT, write to Anne Dijkstra.


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