What is a Social Lab?

The text explains the meaning and features of a Social Lab, as detailed in the context of the NewHoRRIzon project. It is a dedicated platform for conducting social experiments to tackle complex societal challenges in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) within Horizon 2020 (H2020) and beyond. The project administers 19 distinct Social Labs, each focused on specific H2020 themes, encompassing Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT), and Smart, green, and integrated transport (TPT). A Social Lab comprises a team of diverse societal actors collaborating on a three-step process involving the diagnosis of current RRI practices, the design and implementation of social experiments to overcome barriers, and reflective learning to enhance the integration of RRI in research and innovation policies. These Social Labs are inherently social, addressing multifaceted issues that demand a transformative approach involving all stakeholders to collectively negotiate their interests and positions. Stakeholders in the R&I process are central to this endeavour, contributing their legitimate interests, valuable resources, and risk assessment. Social Labs offer a practical, real-life environment for social experiments, guided by consensus and voluntary engagement, intending to conduct three iterative cycles of experimentation to drive positive societal change.




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