Geographic area:

Mainly in Hungary but learning and advocacy could have relevance at EU level.

Beneficiaries and users of future solutions could be: 

  1. Society (incl. CSOs, co-creation practitioners, that have specific problems and need a special expertise or would like to share their knowledge and experiences), 
  2. Science (incl. researchers from different disciplines, academic experts who would initiate and conduct collaborative research),
  3. Research Managers and Funders (who provide funding incl crowdfunders)
  4. Citizens, who want to take part in co-creative research activities and to learn from them,
  5. Science Education Practitioners
  6. Policy (incl. policymakers on local, regional, national and EU-level),
  7. Business (incl. SMEs, companies, private sector actors, co-creation agencies).

Fellows of ESSRG are actively engaged in different global and European scientific networks, particularly the International and European Society for Ecological Economics, the Environment & Society Research Network of the European Sociological Association, the Living Knowledge and the Science Café networks, the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), and the Alter-NET, Europe’s biodiversity, ecosystem and ecosystem services research network. Since our establishment, we have been working together with CSOs and academic partners in Hungary on sustainability issues. We nourish a collaborative and cooperative research approach, involving various communities and stakeholder groups while paying attention to those voices that are typically marginalized or voiceless, thus striving toward social justice and ecological sustainability.


The current institutional system of research and innovation seems to be ineffective in solving the grand challenges of ecology and justice humanity is facing in Planet Earth. Recently, the concept of “responsible research and innovation” (RRI) has gained significant attention as a potential transformative solution to change the research and innovation system towards ecological sustainability and social justice. RRI promotes a more responsive research and innovation system (RIS) to social and environmental problems as well as more engagement of a wide range of publics, stakeholders, citizens – holders of multiple forms of knowledge. RRI also calls for a transformational and transdisciplinary science and provide meaningful engagement with diverse social actors in order to produce socially robust and practically applicable solutions for environmental and social challenges. The number of collaborative initiatives between science, scientists, and volunteers (i.e., citizen science, living labs, ‘do it yourself science’ and the creation of makerspaces, science shops, etc.) is increasing across many research fields. There is an increasing and widespread demand by diverse actors for engaging with research and innovation. 

The collaboration between science and society seems to be desirable and inevitable and requires process facilitation. ESSRG is committed to promoting such collaborative efforts and initiates transparent, inclusive and reflexive research and innovation processes of participative problem definition, analysis, and working with citizens, policy-makers and researchers toward mutually desirable outcomes. Making collaborative research and innovation efforts more effective an inclusive tool or service is needed that will support process facilitation among diverse actors willing to cooperate on transforming the research and innovation system towards a responsible one. This support tool or service is envisaged to serve the following:

  •      Create awareness among researchers, innovators, and citizens about RRI
  •      Assist research teams as well as civil knowledge holders to share their expertise and assets
  •      Connect enterprises/organizations/citizen groups that have a specific problem with potential problem-solvers (researchers/innovators)
  •      Allow local initiatives, groups to find suitable partners in a systematic manner
  •      Bring together large numbers of people to form collaborations and address sustainability issues in ways that national government policy/academic research cannot.
  •      Offer new methods of collaborative learning and knowledge sharing on how-to-do RRI
  •      Provide methodologies and tools that help interested stakeholders within and outside the research community to set up collaborative projects
  •      Present and to make visible the achievements of current collaboration activities
  •      Assist the advocacy of RRI at local, national or EU level
  •      Assist the international collaborations between current initiatives and partners
  •      Mobilize the collective intelligence for fostering grassroots processes and practices

The bringing together of researchers, participants of citizen science, RRI initiatives, living labs, ‘DIY’ science activities, science shops, and other stakeholders will build implementation capabilities in relation to support for science with and for society in the future.


ESSRG cultivates cross-boundary research in a transdisciplinary fashion, engaging in multi-actor democratic dialogue with natural and social sciences, and other knowledge systems.

Current and previous efforts:

FoTRRIS (2015-2018; funded by H2020). “Fostering a Transition towards Responsible Research and Innovation Systems” introduces new governance practices to foster Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in research and innovation systems. FoTRRIS focuses on new governance practices to co-design transdisciplinary RRI-projects that are attuned to local needs, values and opportunities and that connect and mobilize local stakeholders.

InSPIRES ((2017-2021; funded by H2020). “Ingenious Science Shops to Promote Participatory Innovation, Research and Equity in Science” brings together practitioners and experts from across and beyond Europe to co-design, jointly pilot, implement, and roll out innovative models for Science Shops. The InSPIRES models integrate Responsible Research and Innovation, Open Science and Impact Evaluation in order to open up the research process in a more strategic way to civil society and other stakeholders. ESSRG will lead the baseline research of the project. Our further task is to develop a database of the most relevant Science Shop projects, play a significant role in the implementation of pilot Science Shop 2.0 projects, and work on developing an impact evaluation methodology.

SPARKS (2015-2018; funded by H2020). “SPARKS Rethinking Innovation. Together” is an awareness-raising project of a network of partners including science shops and science centres/museums to show Europeans that they can get involved in science. It aims to stimulate conversations between citizens, scientists, policy makers and education professionals to encourage them to share responsibility for science in a way that makes it relevant to today’s societal needs.


We commit to working in close collaboration and respectfully with the selected solution provider towards:

  • organising events (e.g. science cafés and participatory events) to mobilize civil knowledge holders and to enhance advocacy for RRI
  • sharing our expertise with the selected solution provider on collaborative research efforts
  • provide content (on learning materials, best practices, current activities)
  • building partnerships among practitioners, users, stakeholders
  • taking part in the participatory design activities of the tool/service 

We commit to giving access to our network of partners, and we will cooperate with the selected solution provider to make the solution sustainable in the long run.

The form of collaboration with the selected solution provider:

  • through regular meetings and through online collaboration tools (such as Trello, google docs, dropbox, etc.).

The Challenge Owner


ESSRG cultivates cross-boundary research in a transdisciplinary fashion, engaging in multi-actor democratic dialogue with natural and social sciences, and other knowledge systems.