A Decentralised Approach to the Second Social Laboratory in Cantabria 

Cantabria organised the second social laboratory, carried out by SODERCAN with the technical support of TECNALIA on the 23rd of March 2022. This event is a follow-up to the first workshop held on the 29th of October 2021, in Santander, on ‘Regional Responsibility in Research, Development, and Innovation’. After the initial event, an online follow-up meeting with all the socio-economic actors took place to confirm the initial mapping, confirm the needs and pilot collaboration proposals to organise this second social laboratory.  

The workshop was organised by the partners of the TetRRIS project (SODERCAN and TECNALIA), with the strong involvement of the General Direction of Innovation of the Government of Cantabria. The approach for this second workshop was to reinforce inclusiveness, organised in a decentralised way to involve more actors. It changed its location from Santander, the capital city of the Region, to Torrelavega which is the region’s second-largest city, and is located in the Besaya valley. The purpose to change location was to involve even more actors, gathering the ones from the first workshop and new ones from the area of Besaya. It was the proactive cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce of Torrelavega and it took place in the Centre for Promotion and Technological Innovation (CPIT), a business incubator of the local development agency. 

This second workshop went beyond the ideas of the first workshop and co-created new pilot ideas to promote and facilitate work on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and contribute to the development of the regional smart specialisation strategy (RIS3). An important focus was to discuss the social dimension of RRI. The workshop has an external expert, Dr James Wilson, Research Director of Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and professor at Deusto Business School. He gave insights on the social impact of clusters and the tools for learning. As in the previous edition, the workshop was focused on the participatory processes for the design of policies and programmes. The discussion concluded on the important role of clusters as drivers of regional economic activity. The discussion was carried out in a cooperative format broken into four areas of common interest or opportunity domains for RRI: bio-economy, health, and post-Covid-19 society; blue economy and just energy transition; responsible industry 4.0; and sustainability and territorial responsibility. 

These social laboratory workshops are gathering all the relevant regional actors as the result of its decentralised approach with the changes of location, and the direct involvement of the Directorate-General for Innovation, Technological Development and Industrial Entrepreneurship of the Government of Cantabria. TECNALIA is involved in establishing a careful design of the agenda and working dynamic that leads to gathering valuable outcomes that could be in the smart specialisation strategies. 

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