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Commission backs push to open science in €3.2M research project

Orion will explore ways in which research and funding organisations can open up how they fund, organise, conduct and disseminate research

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The Orion project has been launched with €3.2 million of EU funding to help research and funding organisations to understand existing challenges in open science and to implement institutional, cultural, and behavioural changes in how they carry out and manage research.

“New models of working require novel cooperative approaches that engage lots of different actors, such as researchers, funders, publishers, patient organisations, citizens, students, teachers, or companies,” said Michela Bertero, coordinator of the ORION project and head of International and Scientific Affairs at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona.

“It is often difficult to open up fundamental research in life sciences and biomedicine to different stakeholders, particularly citizens,” she said.

Open science, a core strategy of the European Commission, calls for wider participation and collaboration and the sharing of research results to improve research and innovation. While EU member states may recognise the benefits of open science, the transition to “openness” is challenging.

At the heart of the project will be open “co-creation” experiments involving multiple stakeholders in looking at ways to make scientific research more participatory and inclusive.

This will include issues such as how research organisations can receive inputs from a multitude of stakeholders, how research funding can be made more inclusive, how public dialogue can inform research policy and research content and how citizens be involved in fundamental research projects.

Training and resources

ORION will also generate new training materials for professionals working in funding agencies, to raise knowledge and awareness about open science and responsible research and innovation, to help organisations incorporate principles of ethics, gender, good governance, open access, public engagement, and science education in their policies, practices and processes.

The focus will be on controversial research topics, such as animal research, genome editing, personalised medicine and stem cell research, and their medical applications.

ORION is a four-year project with a €3.2 million budget funded under Horizon 2020 programme. Partners in the consortium represent a mixture of expertise in fundamental research in life sciences and biomedicine, social sciences, funding, science communication, public engagement, and civil society.

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Related subjects: Horizon 2020, OpenScience