Living Knowledge, the International Science Shop Network, organized the 7th Living Knowledge Network Conference in Dublin, Ireland from the 22nd to the 24th of June, 2016. The topic of this year’s conference was "Inspire – Integrating Community Based Partnership into Learning and Teaching for Responsible Research & Innovation. Further, the conference focused on issues like Science Shops, Community Based Research, knowledge exchange and collaboration between local communities, civil society organizations, researchers and educators.
The UNESCO Co-Chairs, Drs Hall & Tandon also represented the Chair at the Conference, and participated in various events and discussions. A brief account of their contributions to the conference are as follows:
Dr Budd Hall chaired a policy dialogue on June 22 as a part of EnRRICH programme to identify possible linkages between curriculum and RRI in various universities. Participating in the dialogue were policy makers from Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Council of Europe and International Association of Universities (IAU), along with several international experts. Dr Hall summarized the key messages from the dialogue as the need to closely reconnect research, teaching and curriculum in the context of grand societal challenges identified by EU, and others, facing humanity. This requirement can only be realized through active contributions of disciplines, researchers, students and teachers in various universities, with policy and funding support.
Dr Rajesh Tandon gave a keynote speech at the 7th Living Knowledge conference at Dublin on June 23, 2016. The conference is focusing on Integrating Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in curriculum and teaching in European universities. He focused on the two process features of RRI— diversity and inclusion. He argued that diversity is not merely a means to an end, a process element. Diversity of knowledge systems, cultures, modes and forms—epistemological diversity–is a value system, a normative requirement, RRI is to be realized. As far as Inclusion is concerned, understanding of entrenched systemic and structural nature of exclusion in specific contexts and countries is essential before inclusion can be enabled. Inclusion does not happen by mere invitation. Missing voices can not be included by universities, unless they work to create conditions that such voices speak up, and there is readiness to listen when they do. In his view, RRI is calling for a fundamental paradigmatic shift to how science is viewed, how scientists are trained and how scientific enterprises are made democratically accountable.
Further, a workshop was also held at the Dublin Institute of Technology on June 23 to share results of the global study of Community Univsity Research Partnerships conducted by UNESCO Chair brought 35 participants from 19 countries. Leading the presentation, Dr Tandon highlighted the crucial role of some form of interface structure required to enable such partnerships. Country policy and practice experiences were shared by Judy Favish (university of Cape Town, South Africa), Lorraine Mcllrath (University of Galway, Ireland), Elizabeth Tyron (University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA) and Crystal Tremblay (University of Victoria, Canada). A key takeaway from these deliberations was the challenge of building and nurturing such partnerships, and the need to prepare capacities for partnerships in universities and their leaders.