Vision and Mission Statement
The past decades witnessed a massive increase in scientific knowledge and its application, leading to a huge progress in technology as well as in health and longevity. Despite this undoubted massive success, science is currently struggling with several severe challenges, calling for a critical re-evaluation of the way science is conducted. Prominent among these challenges is the notion that non-reproducible experimental results are no exception but rather common in science (reproducibility crisis). Making experimental data accessible not only led to a higher reproducibility of experiments. It also made it possible for other scientists to test different hypotheses on the published data (Open Data). At the same time, the research process becomes increasingly more complex, multi-disciplinary and data driven. While these internal factors alone already call for a reform of the scientific system, pressing global challenges such as global warming, an increasing and aging population, pandemics etc. also call for a new, more effective and transparent way of conducting research, sharing its discoveries (Open Access) and translating them into relevant societal impact (Open Science).
What is Open Innovation in Science?
OIS integrates Open Science and Open Innovation by applying principles and methods of Open Innovation along the entire process of generating and disseminating new scientific research - for the purpose of improving novelty and impact of scientific research. Open Innovation and Open Science are increasingly recognized as the central pillars of future research and innovation systems. It could help re-think and re-design the way we think about science and how we design the research process. For this aim, it offers a variety of concepts and tools to be incorporated into the scientific process. This contains - among others - a variety of diverse concepts and tools, such as Open Data, Open Publishing, Crowd Science, Gamification, User and Patient Driven Innovation, Citizen Science, all aimed at generating relevant and original research questions, making the research and discovery process more efficient and transparent while increasing the translation of scientific impact on society.
A better integration of Open Innovation and Open Science into research will become an important driving force to increase scientific novelty and impact, calling for the creation of novel fields of activities for Open Innovation in Science (OIS).
The Lab for Open Innovation in Science at the ECN
Empowering a generation of researchers who successfully applies the methods and concepts of Open Innovation in Science (OIS) as part of their research is in our opinion a critical step for the long-term success of new ways to think, to apply and to execute science and research. It is therefore is a critical component to give OIS-trained early-career researchers the professional advantage they need to succeed in science and further disseminate and advertise OIS.
The ECN meets this unmet need with a unique combination of training formats, ranging from lectures to workshops and project-related applications. This new way of teaching which combines not only formal training on methods and concepts of OIS by local and international experts. It also supports an on-demand training when integrating these concepts in current research projects, leading to an original and effective mix of practical training and hands-on application of the learned lessons. This also includes the involvement of the responsible senior investigator overseeing the PhD project. Furthermore, this approach to training also provides participants with the necessary network of local and international experts which is needed to succeed while starting to establish OIS relevant and suited research structures.
The ECN OIS training enables, initiates and purposively manages knowledge flows across organizational and disciplinary boundaries for:
- generating novel research questions and hypotheses: e.g. user and patient driven innovation
- acquiring funding: e.g. crowdfunding
- designing research methods and materials: e.g. prize competitions (NASA Solve), user and patient driven science
- collecting, processing and/or coding of data: e.g. open data, gamification, citizen science
- analyzing data and writing scientific papers: e.g. gamification, citizen science
- disseminating results and eventually translating new scientific knowledge into innovation: e.g. intellectual property protection
The ECN Open Innovation in Science Award
The success of our approach could be seen during the finalists’ presentations of the first ECN OIS Award in 2019. The value of the submitted OI projects, designed mostly during the training of the ECN PhD Fellows, was evaluated by a panel of independent and renowned experts. The high quality of all finalists’ projects proved that an integrated and research project-specific training concepts will lead to the development of research projects which significantly benefit from the inclusion of OI concepts.