Recommendations and Measures to Maximise IDR Impact on Society
Authors: Carlo Sessa and Giorgia Galvini
Work Package: 3
Published: 15 January 2021
Between December 2019 and October 2020, SHAPE-ID organised a series of six learning case workshops to consult expert stakeholders on improving pathways to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research (IDR/TDR) incorporating the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) in the context of addressing societal challenges. Some workshops (Dublin, Zurich) focused on broader questions around obstacles, enablers and processes of integration, while others addressed specific research challenges: how funding programmes could better involve Environmental Humanities perspectives in topics addressing environmental challenges (Edinburgh); how to enable Education for Urban Sustainability (Turin); how to reduce barriers to cooperation between Digital Humanities research and Cultural Heritage Institutions (Warsaw); and how to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Good (Bilbao). The first three workshops were held in person, with the remaining three held online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
A comprehensive report of the workshop series has been produced as project deliverable D3.2 (Galvini et al., 2020). The current report aims to identify the full set of recommendations and practical measures emerging from the workshops to maximise the impact of IDR/TDR integrating AHSS on society. This is complemented by a Policy Brief, which distils key recommendations for policymakers on maximising AHSS integration in IDR/TDR to provide effective responses to societal challenges.
To organise recommendations emerging from the full workshop series, the current report develops a conceptual model using seven categories outlined by in a recent Joint Research Council report as essential to understanding our political nature: misperception and disinformation; collective intelligence; emotions; value and identity; framing, metaphor and narrative; trust and openness; and evidence-informed policy (Mair et al., 2019). The model, presented in Section 3, was considered as a helpful way of outlining a pathway to impact that accounts for the role of IDR/TDR with AHSS integration and has been used as a way of organising our workshop findings in Section 4.
A first set of recommendations is broader in scope, highlighting the value of the AHSS to better contextualise science advice to policy – the so called “applied humanities” – delivering context-sensitive research, reflectivity and a longer term view of problems and factors, the capacity to widen the scope of research and innovation to include broader societal and human-centric perspectives, and the contribution to strategic foresight informed by the greater capacity of the AHSS to understand the full complexity of the present context.
These recommendations are supported by examples of possible mission-driven IDR/TDR integrating AHSS to address societal challenges, such as climate change, ageing and the social impact and regulation of digital technologies.
Other recommendations are more focused on specific categories, highlighting: the capacity of the AHSS to redefine research problems to centralise the human dimension – e.g. the importance of narrative to support climate change research and policy missions; the need to take emotions, ethics and societal and individual values into account – e.g. in designing technology, or in policymaking for an ageing society; the role of artists, artist-led techniques and tools for sentiment analysis to discover and handle the impact of emotions; the role of applied humanities research to address the problems of misinformation, disinformation and the crisis of democracy; and last but not least, the capacity of well-structured IDR/TDR integrating the AHSS to cultivate the ground for collective intelligence, within and outside academia, supporting dialogue among disciplines, higher education institutions and the wider civil society, triggering teams and networks to co-create solutions for joint missions.