2016 was a busy year for the Bassetti Foundation (FGB), involving our participation in projects and conferences and events across the world. In this editorial we cast a light upon some of the year’s major events.
Responsible Research and Innovation in Europe and across the World
January saw FGB participate in the Go4 Joint Final Conference “Responsible Research and Innovation in Europe and across the World”. The event was held on 14 -15 January and took place at the EESC in Brussels, Belgium.
The conference presented the final reports from the four principal 3 year European projects funded by the Seventh Funding Framework: Res-AGorA project, GREAT project, ProGReSS project, and the RESPONSIBILITY project, all of which have been followed and reported upon through this website.
Find an introduction to the conference here
Future Food Symposium
February also saw the Groentetas group of Utrecht University organize the Future Food Symposium, with long time Foundation collaborator Cristina Grasseni as opening speaker.
Groentetas means ‘vegetable bag’ in Dutch, and in this case the name used by an organization run by students within the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. It was founded in 1994 and since then has sold vegetables and fruit to students and staff. The goods sold are all local and (mostly) organic, and the goal is to stimulate a more sustainable consumption amongst students and staff. It is a non-profit organisation that sells the vegetables for the same price they buy them from the farmers. The vegetables of the Groentetas come from the farmers collaboration called Local2Local.
The first Future Food Symposium brought together a host of interesting speakers, with Grasseni leading from the front with a talk on Italian alternative food provisioning networks. Photos and a full report are available here
Responsible Research and Innovation: The Problematic Quest For Right Impacts
In March the Responsible Research and Innovation: The Problematic Quest For Right Impacts International Conference took place, attended by FGB Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Hankins. The conference was held between March 11th and 12th, 2016 at the Donastia International physics Centre, Donastia-San Sebastian, and was followed by the Annual VIRI (Virtual Institute for Responsible innovation) meeting.
Regular readers will be familiar with most of the names in the conference program. Speakers included David Guston and Brian Wynne, backbones of the developing RRI debate and both former visitors to the Foundation. Concepts such as collaborative science, anticipatory governance, RI in practice, flexible specialization , divisions of moral labour and problems surrounding the use of economic language and categories were all debated, with the suggestion of alternative tools to measure well-being also brought to the fore.
The annual VIRI conference followed, and included presentations from many of its members, Hankins himself presenting his ongoing research into poiesis intensive innovation. As regular readers will know the VIRI is an ever expanding international project funded by the US National Science Foundation, the Bassetti Foundation being a Founding Affiliate member. This year’s meeting was enriched by the participation of several new member representatives, and included an outline and debate over achievements in the closing year and planning and delegation of responsibilities for the coming year.
A full report of both events is available here
Labour Versus Labour
Throughout March and April FGB participated in the XXI Triennale exhibition in Milan. This collaboration culminated on 27-28 April when in collaboration with Curator Stefano Micelli and Polifactory, the Foundation brought debate and conversation with hosts from across the globe to the New Craft section. The Labour Versus Labour theme readdressed the idea of the metropolis: global cities crossed by innovation flux that transforms information into objects: in which new companies team up with and re think the relationship between work, consumption and production.
The FGB sponsored program can be downloaded alongside video, audio and various articles across the website and social media outlets.
SMART-Map – RoadMAPs to Societal Mobilisation for the Advancement of Responsible Industrial Technologies
May saw the launch of the H2020 funded project SMART-Map – RoadMAPs to Societal Mobilisation for the Advancement of Responsible Industrial Technologies. The Bassetti Foundation plays an important role in the project over the coming 30 months, aiming to spread responsible innovation within the European industry context, in its position as a leading player in a consortium that involves colleagues from Denmark, UK, Germany, Spain, Hungary and Austria.
The objective is to discuss and co-design responsible research and innovation practices in cutting edge sectors such as 3D printing in bio-medicine, precision medicine and synthetic biology, with companies, researchers and civil society representatives. Three innovative trajectories with the capacity to change prevention and cure scenarios and the wider bio-medical world.
A presentation event was held at the Foundation on 6 May, with the presence of Professor Francesco Lescai, biotechnologist at the University of Aarhus (Denmark).
Readers can learn more about the project through the various links on the website or via a presentation delivered by collaborator Fabio Besti as part of the Job Design module within the PSSD Product Services System Design Masters Degree course at the Milan polytechnic linked here
RRI Tools, Advocacy and Training in Rome
As a member of the Italian and Swiss hub of the RRI Tools project, on 18 May FGB organized the first Italian Advocacy and Training event in Rome. The day’s events were aimed at developing broader understanding of the concept of RRI born through the political and academic experiences within the various science and society programs within the EU.
The event also saw the presentation of the RRI toolkit, generating a great deal of debate around how RRI concepts can be best implimented in the different fields represented at the meeting.
Further details are available here
2016 INSS Annual Meeting
The Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) 2016 conference took place between 8 and 10 June, and was once again held at multiple sites across the USA and Europe. The European event was hosted at University College London (UCL), with Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Hankins attending on behalf of the Bassetti Foundation and presenting his work looking at alternative provisioning networks in Italy and the USA.
The theme of the conference was water use and sustainability, and for the first time (this was the third edition) the language of RI was in common use. Full details of the event, speakers and topics are available here
Open Economy, Open Innovation
In Bologna in June, through the initiative of ASTER and with the support of the Mak-ER network, two events took place involving more than 30 European institutions: the first, “Open Economy Society – makerspaces as paradigm for a new sustainable economy”, saw international experts from Fablab management in discussion; The second, “Open Innovation as a Frontier for Public Policy” (chaired by our own Francesco Samorè) saw city and regional councils discuss objectives and tools for sustaining the fablab ecosystem within politics and for economic development. The events sat within the framework of the Salone Internazionale della Ricerca Industriale e dell’Innovazione.
The presentation is available here
Pillole d’innovazione, a video series
Throughout the late spring a summer the Bassetti Foundation website published a series of video talks given by Massimilaino Bucchi entitled Pillole d’ínnovazione (in Italian). Bucchi is the author of the recent book “Per un pugno d’idee”, published through Bompiani. The back cover explains: “from the coffee maker to the Kalashnikov, from the mouse to the spaghetti western: when the world is changed by a simple but overwhelming idea”. The author narrates some of the cases through which the network of responsibility is brought into play by inventions or discoveries that have gone on to become innovation, the achievement of the improbable.
Links to the series can be found here
The Case of 3D Printers. Meet me Tonight 2016
In September The “Leonardo da Vinci” National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan invited the Bassetti Foundation to ”position” the 3D printing process for presentation to the general public, part of their Meet Me Tonight event. The Foundation collaborated with the presentation of a fake legal process, raising the question of whether 3D printing represents the opportunity for a new industrial revolution or whether it is merely another toy. Video of the event entitled ”Sotto accusa: la stampante 3D. Nuovo giocattolo o rivoluzione?” is available here
City+Design in Transition.
October saw the publication of an article and video footage describing the City+Design in Transition event, the final chapter in the intense series of events that witnessed the Bassetti Foundation’s participation in the Triennale XXI and New Craft exhibition. FGB Scientific Director Francesco Samorè led the afternoon debate surrounding the return of manufacturing to its city centre origin. Several case studies from across the world were presented, video of which is available here
Game-Changing Innovations and Responsibility. A dialogue with David Guston
On November, 14th, FGB had the honour to host Professor David Guston, Founding Director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. Readers will know Prof Guston as Director of the VIRI and founding Editor in Chief of the Journal of Responsible innovation.
After a full day of events within the Foundation involving our collaborators, Professor Guston delivered a public talk on Synbio titled “From Frankenstein to Synthetic Biology: Responsible Innovation and the Insuﬃciency of ‘Cool'”. His presentation was followed by a question and answer session with the gathered audience.
Video of the entire event and photos of the day are available here, alongside an introduction to the argument written and presented by the Bassetti Foundation’s Angela Simone.
Alongside the selection of events described above, the Foundation has continued with its many partnerships and projects across the world. These include collaborating through the VIRI with a host of other organizations, working with the Editorial Board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation, participating in discussion surrounding the governance and regulation of innovation at a regional government level, and continuing to support those working within the broader field of responsible innovation as a whole.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our collaborators and readers for their input and interest over the last year, and invite you all to share our experience in the forthcoming 12 months.