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High quality and sustainable research and innovation strategies require engaged researchers, resources in terms of funding, research environments and collaboration among researchers. The grand challenges of contemporary society also require collaboration among researchers from different academic disciplines. Successful and sustainable research and innovation are most likely to develop in collaboration among researchers with shared interests rather than through top-down decisions. RIS4CIVIS is an initiative to facilitate conditions for making this happen, and our activities in the module for research and innovation strategies aim to contribute to simplify for researchers within the alliance to find researchers with similar research interests.

From this point of view, the activities in the module have been focused to develop a platform for sharing information about ongoing research at the universities within the alliance. Based on this, our vision is that research and innovation collaboration will be simplified, and that know-how, expertise and resources, in different projects and programs, will be integrated.

Our objectives for CIVIS research and innovation strategies

In Module 1, we are primarily focusing on one case study that we mean is the most fundamental strategy for developing collaboration in research and innovation within the CIVIS Alliance:

  • Developing and implementing a digital tool/online platform to present all research groups/institutes/centers/laboratories, research projects, researchers, and departments at the CIVIS alliance universities.

This tool/platform will help first the researchers and in the long-run the CIVIS Alliance to develop joint research and innovation projects and programs, and in the longer perspective also joint research and innovation strategies. Since research and innovation, in a free world, do take place in an open atmosphere, such collaboration is also likely to include research groups and researchers in other Alliances, universities or other institutes and networks for research and innovation around the world. 

This case study of RIS4CIVIS Module 1 can bring many benefits for researchers and universities in the CIVIS Alliance such as:

  • Make information about ongoing research, existing research groups/centers/institutes/laboratories available for all researchers and other colleagues within the alliance.
  • Increase the awareness of ongoing research and innovation within the alliance.
  • Open possibilities for researchers to find colleagues with similar interests at other universities.
  • Enhancing the visibility of existing research groups/centers/institutes/laboratories and published as well as ongoing research and innovation projects and programs both within the alliance and outside CIVIS.
  • Fostering networks and collaboration between CIVIS researchers and research groups/centers/institutes/laboratories infrastructures.
  • Open up for research and innovation collaboration at different stages, from writing joint applications, sharing findings and conclusions, co-authorships.
  • Simplify development of strategies, plans and design for joint future research and innovation activities at individual, research groups and university levels within the alliance and outside.
  • Open up for more effective joint research and innovation support activities within the alliance and at each partner university in terms of matching interests, research profiles and strategies for research funding.
  • Simplify the development of overall research and innovation profiles and strategies at the alliance level. Sharing competencies and expertise at CIVIS-level

Our activities on research and innovation strategies

Given module 1 ambition and the high number of potential research and innovation possibilities across the CIVIS Alliance, several steps need to be taken to reach our objectives.

First, it was crucial to map research and innovations strategies and research profiles at each member university. The mapping was conducted by each partner university respectively based on how research and innovation strategies and research profiles were presented and communicated. One finding was that it was rare that specific and detailed research strategies were defined at the university level. At this level it was more common to communicate in general terms about profiles in established research and innovation areas. The conclusion from the mapping activities was then that the most typical strategy communicated by the partner universities for research and innovation was that quality and relevance in research and innovation is generated through bottom-up processes. It was also made clear that the main barriers for research and innovation collaboration to happen are funding, balance between maintaining established and investing in new contacts and partnerships, individual meritocracy issues, and university ranking and ratings.

Second, and regarding these findings, the activities in module 1 were focused to develop tools for simplifying and encouraging bottom-up generated research and innovation activities and collaboration across the alliance with a potential to overcome the barriers in the long run. With this in mind, it was decided to develop a digital platform for the alliance where information about research and innovation interests, profiles, projects, programs, researchers and research groups/centers/institutes/laboratories were shared and made available as user friendly as possible. It was also decided that this should not be a just another site where researchers should upload original information separately. It should be a site where already uploaded information at the partner universities respectively as far as possible should be linked to this platform.

Third, a number of activities within the module followed about how to sort and structure the platform and how to communicate the information. In some cases, legal issues about publishing links to information published elsewhere had to be dealt with, and some universities had to, at least to some extent, translate information to English to make it more transparent for all partners in the alliance.

Finally, we are now in the process of launching our case study, the digital platform, which will run until the end of 2023: Establishing an interactive information platform to be a single place to learn about on-going research and innovation across the CIVIS alliance.

RIS4CIVIS Podcast - Developing a Common Research and Innovation Strategy

This podcast is centered around the Common Research and Innovation Strategy within the CIVIS Alliance. In this podcast, we have the privilege of speaking with Staffan Furusten, the leader of Module 1 of RIS4CIVIS. Staffan has been developing an important platform that gathers ongoing research and innovation activities of CIVIS universities members of the Alliance. This initiative is an integral component of the RIS4CIVIS project.

Briefing note

RIS4CIVIS modules leaders have addressed briefing notes to advocate decision-makers on relevant guidelines based on their experiences and main findings. Briefing notes give decision-makers knowledge and provide recommendations on key actions areas such as Open science, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Civil Society or Industry.