Building an R&I Agenda for Urban Sustainability: a participative methodology

By Nuno Moreira– Science Officer Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

Commitment to Knowledge
The Council of Ministers Resolution nr. 32/2016, established the “commitment to knowledge” as a central goal of the XXI Constitutional Government Program and of the action of the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, reflecting the relevance that scientific institutions and higher education and research and development activities should occupy in the Portuguese society.

Close collaboration with local actors
This objective, in line with the ONU 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Agenda adopted by the European countries for sustainable and inclusive growth until 2020, has one of its dimensions in the promotion of research and innovation thematic agendas of national scope and regional specialization. The aim is to link the public and private sectors and the modernisation of the infrastructures network, having in mind the territorial dimension, stimulating the centrality of knowledge in cities and regions, in close collaboration with local actors.

National R&I Agenda Portugal co-created effort of all society
Within the Portugal JPI Urban Europe Bilateral meeting that took place, in Lisbon, on the 1st of February 2017, it was announced that Portugal would soon start to build a national R&I Agenda, that would tackle urban sustainability and the future of cities.
The undergoing process started firmly believing that the issue of urban sustainability is of transdisciplinary nature and that building a R&I agenda on it must be a co-created effort of all society.

Bottom-up approach
Following a bottom-up approach, the subsequent methodology asked for the mapping of national experts, both on research and innovation, representative of the majority of Portuguese regions, research centres and research units. Both researchers and enterprises, by invitation and with voluntary effort, are expected to work with the Ministry of Science Technology and Higher Education (through the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT) to make a diagnose of the Portuguese reality, the state of art in research and innovation for the field and outlook challenges and opportunities – based on the analysis of the previous mentioned diagnose. A thorough study on the main policy documents (national and international) that contributed to the actual state of the art or that constitute an example of best practices will also be performed.

Contribution from the anonymous citizen to a reputable politician or entrepreneur
Before going into the definition of the main domains and subthemes of the agenda, a public consultation is planned, asking for contributions from anyone with interest on this field -ranging from the anonymous citizen to a reputable politician or entrepreneur. In parallel it will be performed the mapping of the relevant stakeholders (enterprises, NGOs, public bodies, city councils, civil platforms, etc.) and the pinpoint of Portuguese researchers that live abroad and have an important contribution to make to the agenda by the knowledge gathered through the participation in relevant projects or by working with relevant international institutions.

‘The process is designed to build a document for the Agenda in a truly participative way’

Defining the domains and subthemes for the Agenda
The working group of experts with writing teams both for research and innovation, will then define the domains and subthemes around which the agenda will be structured and that represent the most significant axes of issues to be addressed in the timeframe defined by the agenda, in alignment with the timeframe of international reference policy agendas.
For each domain will be addressed the challenges and goals for Portugal within the defined timeframe, the main scientific/technological developments in the last 10 years, the key issues for a research/innovation agenda and the critical factors (obstacles and difficulties)for the development of this field in the future.

Public workshop to achieve the final version
After the first draft of the final document is produced by the writing teams of the working group of experts, and revised with the contributions of the relevant stakeholders, it will be made public in a workshop were all the research and innovation communities are invited to participate in its discussion, to achieve the final version.
Through this process, the Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education hopes to build a document in a truly participative way, anchored in the knowledge and experience of our research, innovation and practice communities and sensitive to the national, regional and local needs, challenges and opportunities.




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