Speaking about Lessons Learned (LL) we definitely speak about knowledge or understanding gained by experience from a project or activity that should be actively taken into account in future projects or actions. The experience can be positive or negative, but a lesson must be significant, with a real impact, valid and applicable, reducing the potential for failures, or reinforce a positive results.
In this context of lessons learned, the MARINA project is a real source of LL gained and extracted from different activities and situations. Analysis of other EU projects, Marina’s own 45 Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) workshops, spillover activities and national policy-makers survey are just some sources of lessons learned.
But what we actually learned? First of all, analyzing the other EU projects, MARINA developed recommendations about how to engage stakeholders and adapt the results, how to define an effective project process, how to overcome with the capitalization challenge and how to deal with cultural and legislation differences. Also, this projects-review gave us the confirmation that RRI dimensions were already discussed and applied in these projects, even if the concept of RRI was still in development during these projects’ implementations.
Second, but the biggest “generator” of LL in the MARINA project, were the 45 “Mobilisation and Mutual Learning” (MML) workshops organized by partners. These MMLs offered over 500 lessons learned related with workshop definition and execution, marine sector, marine challenge and societal challenge, RRI dimensions, but also from the perspective of stakeholders groups, motivation and level of engagement. All these LL represent the base of an RRI Roadmap, a tool for motivating, engaging, co-designing, co-constructing, adjusting and intensifying RRI in research and innovation actions.
Other lessons learned in MARINA come from the spillover activities developed by partners through conferences they attended, where they presented MARINA and the RRI concept with concrete examples, in order to illustrate better the concept to different stakeholders. From the spillover activities we can say that we learned to present our work on every occasion, even if the events we attend don’t have allocated time for this, but we need to see the opportunities and take advantage of them.
All lessons learned identified in MARINA project have helped partners to improve their work quality and actions. The MARINA Lessons Learned are available on the MARINA Platform (link: https://www.marinaproject.eu/index.php/bestpractices/) and on the MARINApedia.
On the MARINA Platform, the interested can search and filter lessons learned using nine filters:
1) RRI dimensions
2) Stakeholder Group;
3) Workshop Participatory
5) Stakeholder Motivation for Participation
6) Stakeholder Level of Engagement
7) Workshop Definition and Execution
8) Societal Challenge
9) Marine Sectors
9) RRI Roadmap Milestone.
After the end of the MARINA project, all MARINA lessons learned will be openly available. They can represent a starting point for future EU-funded projects, responsible research and innovation actions. At the end of the day, all these experiences can be used by any interested organisation and party to improve their own research and innovation processes so that they become inclusive for solving pressing problems that the society faces today. Having said this, these lessons learned are valuable for policy makers as well, because policies must be holistic in order to be effective in addressing societal issues.
(by Anca Gheorghe, Mare Nostrum NGO and Xenia Theodotou Schneider XPRO Consulting Limited)