InSPIRES (Ingenious Science shops to promote Participatory Innovation, Research and Equity in Science) is an EU project that brings together practitioners and experts from across and beyond Europe to co-design, jointly pilot, refine and implement innovative models for Science Shops (link). The main goal of the 4-year InSPIRES project is to build effective cooperation between science and society by supporting the growth of Science Shops and enabling the expansion of responsible research and innovation (RRI) in Europe and abroad, in order to tackle key societal challenges that affect the world population. InSPIRES is looking at societal challenges that have not received enough attention from researchers, companies and governments, despite an enormous potential for innovative solutions and the clear potential for RRI bottom-up demand driven research and innovation.


InSPIRES brings together civil society, practitioners and other stakeholders 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 as part of their DNA in order to open the research process up in a more strategic way. The inputs from systematic impact evaluation studies will be continuously integrated in order to make InSPIRES Science Shops 2.0 models more accurate and responsive to civil society needs and concerns.

Concentrating most of its efforts on Research & Innovation in the health and environmental sectors, giving special attention to gender parity and vulnerable groups (women, the elderly, adolescents, migrants and refugees), InSPIRES brings Science Cafés and other public engagement initiatives into its models together with a “glocal” international focus, for more inclusive, context relevant and culturally adapted community-based participatory research and innovation.

Expected Results

Building on a comprehensive communication plan, with a strong effort dedicated to the development and implementation of a sustainability strategy, InSPIRES outcomes will:

  • give evidence and support political bodies and decision-makers, in order to propose changes in local, regional, national and international policies;
  • nurture the debate about the place and role of society in science, encouraging the systematic and ethical involvement of civil society actors and their societal concerns in the research and innovation processes, and
  • support the development of new Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OSc) strategies and guidelines, in the context of safe spaces to involve and engage civil society in the whole science process

For more information, see the website.

In the context of InSPIRES, the Athena Institute has facilitated a Webinar on the topic of Responsible Research and Innovatio on the 30th of January 2018. You can watch the recording of this webinar here (the webinar starts at 2.45 min in the video).