The BETTER Life project, a consortium of research institutions committed to advancing socially engaged research (SER) in life sciences (LS), recently organized another online workshop to discuss the development of design standards for this area of research. The workshop brought together consortium members from various fields to share their insights and experiences, with the goal of creating a set of standards that will guide the implementation of socially engaged research in life sciences.
The workshop partially followed up on two previous workshops that focused on the Framework of SER, which aimed to define the key principles, values, and practices of socially engaged research. The development of design standards for SER in life sciences builds on the foundation established by the Framework and reflects the ongoing commitment of the BETTER Life consortium to advancing socially responsible research that is relevant and beneficial to society.
The need for standards in SER in LS arises from the increasing importance of engaging with society in the research process. Socially engaged research recognizes that scientific knowledge is not created in a vacuum, but is shaped by societal needs, values, and expectations. As such, SER seeks to integrate the perspectives and knowledge of quadruple helix stakeholders in the research process.
Based on the status quo, consultation events, and regional reports, the BETTER Life consortium aims to develop a set of standards for SER applied to life sciences on the interinstitutional level. These standards will serve as a guide to ensure that SER in LS is conducted in a rigorous and systematic manner, with appropriate consideration for the perspectives and needs of stakeholders. The standards will also provide a barometer to assess, measure, and recommend actionable items for SER in life sciences.
The workshop resulted in the identification of key issues and challenges in SER in life sciences, as well as the development of a preliminary set of design standards. These standards will be further refined and validated through consultations with stakeholders and experts, with the aim of producing a comprehensive set of standards that can guide the implementation of SER in LS.
The BETTER Life consortium believes that the development of design standards is an important step towards promoting socially responsible research that is aligned with the needs and expectations of society. The consortium remains committed to advancing socially engaged research in life sciences and looks forward to continuing the dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders and experts in this area.