Through TRANSFORM, three regional governments (Lombardy, Catalonia and Brussels-Capital) are working alongside other project partners on experimental approaches to involve citizens in local government policy-making on research and innovation (R&I), with the aim of achieving more open, inclusive and democratic territorial development.
The project focuses on the place-based regional Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) for innovation. Thanks to TRANSFORM, the three territories involved will have the opportunity to test three participatory methodologies: participatory research agenda setting in Lombardy; design for social innovation in the Brussels-Capital Region and citizen science in Catalonia.
TRANSFORM (Territories as Responsive and Accountable Networks of S3 through new Forms of Open and Responsible decision-Making) is a European project that started in January 2020. The project is financed within the SwafS framework (Science with and for Society) of the Horizon 2020 program and coordinated by the Bassetti Foundation.
The activities carried out in parallel within the regional clusters are integrated within a system of mutual learning, through which the regional governments will be able to share their experiences, needs and thoughts on the governance of innovation.
Inter-regional dialogue is further enriched with the experience of the TRANSFORM project partner Boston Museum of Science. The Museum also leads the CC-PES (Building Capacity for Co-Created Public Engagement with Science) project, an initiative aimed at experimenting new participatory forms of decision-making in techno-scientific fields in the USA.
The results obtained will be channeled into recommendations for the transformation of regional R&I ecosystems in terms of responsibility, with the objective of extending the impact of TRANSFORM well beyond those territories directly involved.
Alongside the coordination and management activities carried out by the Bassetti Foundation, action taken in the first year is concentrated on two levels: action conducted at regional cluster level (Lombardia, Catalogna and Brussels-Capital) and at cross-cluster level involving all of the project partners.
The activities of the Lombardy cluster, composed by the Bassetti Foundation, Lombardy Regional Government and Finlombarda, concentrate on the introduction of a participatory research agenda setting approach, aimed at defining the regional research and innovation priorities for the Lombardy Region Three Year Strategic Plan (PST).
This plan – which is in dialogue with the S3 Strategy and whose role is to define and address Lombard R&I ecosystem priorities – will be finalized in the early months of 2021. In these months, we are getting to the heart of the citizen engagement activities, thanks also to the involvement of the Project Advisor Simon Burall, expert in participatory deliberation practices and former Director of the charity Involve.
In Parallel, the Catalonia and Brussels clusters are programming citizen engagement activities for implementation within their respective regional contexts.
In these early months of activity, project-level cross-cluster activities involving all of the territories have been focused on the construction of an exchange and common action framework, also thanks to the support of the Advisory Board; on the preparation of a project evaluation plan; and on dissemination activities.
Continuing the theme of dissemination, the TRANSFORM website and twitter accounts are now active (@TRANSFORM_eu), while several project partners are involved in various other EU project initiatives (The Bassetti Foundation for example was involved in an event organized by the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government for TERRITORIA, a sister project of TRANSFORM) and TRANSFORM has participated to the Citizen Engagement and Deliberative Democracy Festival organized by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which has taken place online this December.
Some images of the launch event held online