The Marina proposal overall aim is to create an all-inclusive Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP) catalysing and organising the convergence of already existing networks, communities, on-line platforms and services providing an online socio-technical environment that facilitates and stimulates the direct engagement of researchers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), citizens, industry stakeholders, policy and decision makers, research funders and communicators for improving Responsible Research and Innovation. In particular, the project will establish, curate and experiment a Responsible Research and Innovation platform involving societal actors working together during the whole research and innovation process for aligning better both the process and its outcomes, with the values, needs and expectations of European society, integrating citizens visions, needs and desires into science and innovation, promoting RRI with focus on marine issues and pressures that have important effects on the European societies. The project activities and outcomes, even if connected with marine research field, will define this systematic approach in order to make it transferable and reproducible for any RRI thematic domain. All project results and activities will be extrapolated from the RRI marine field to general RRI and broadly disseminated. The expected outcome of the Work Programme is a clear improvement of the integration of society in science and innovation. The MARINA project will follow this strategic line of “strengthening and facilitating” the capacity of the research and innovation to align and integrate the social needs through a suitable knowledge sharing platform and federating activities.
New genomic techniques (NGTs) can contribute to an energy-efficient, low-input and zero-pollution agricultural production and industrial processing. Despite rapid recent progress, this toolbox is still in its infancy and substantial investments are needed to optimise the methods. Also, the innovation potential is fully exploited only if economic, social, and regulatory drivers coalesce and are accompanied by transparent communication and inclusive stakeholder engagement. A problem facing NGT innovation in Europe is that regulatory uncertainty restricts investment at all levels – research, innovation and scaling up – and the impacts of NGTs, both positive and negative, are not fully assessed. It also remains to be seen if public and stakeholder acceptance of NGT products will enable their application. The consequence is that NGTs do not yet reach their full potential. The research in GeneBEcon has two facets. First, the technical potential is explored by applying gene editing to develop 1) a virus-resistant potato with an industrial tuber starch quality, and 2) microalgae-based production of industrially relevant mycosporin-like amino acids. Second, the risk-regulatory aspects, economic incentives, and social perceptions are investigated. In the latter, comparative analyses are enabled by our approach with two different production systems: open-field agricultural crop and contained-system microalgae. The results will enable technical innovations as well as allow stakeholders (incl researchers, breeders, primary producers, value chain actors, risk assessors and decision makers) to take informed decisions on the safe and responsible use of NGT-derived products. GeneBEcon has a multi-sectoral consortium and the project links to relevant stakeholders through a Stakeholder Advisory Board. This will, through communication and inclusive engagement, enable an improved understanding and awareness of the risks and benefits of NGT-derived products through societal dialogue.