Summer school: 7th – 9th September 2022
Application link:

Welcome to the summer school “engaging in critical research within institutions”, co-organised by the AFINO and DLN centres!

Engaging in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the critical inclusive, reflexive, anticipatory and responsive steps it demands, sometimes conflicts with the policy and funding institutions’ aspirations for excellence, productivity, growth and measurable and demonstrable impacts, in which this research is embedded. This creates a gap between researchers’ intentions for their research, and the expected outcomes; and navigating this gap is a challenge that involves altogether the research, funding and policy institutions.

Group work at AFINO Summer School 2021, with Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, CEARC and Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines guiding the group. Photo: Eva H. Murvold.

The summer school will open a space to discuss the important challenges faced by (early career) researchers engaging in critical research within entrenched institutions, and reflect on the types of skills and collaborations that could help navigate this challenge. In particular, we aim to discuss:
(i) the tensions between researcher’s intentions for their research, and the institutions’ expectations and assumptions. As an example, there are important tensions between the skills that are demanded of early career researchers (to be more inter, or transdisciplinary for instance); and their lived reality (precarity of research careers and potentially limited job opportunities);
(ii) new types of collaboration or dialogue needed between research, private, policy and funding institutions, in a context where research and innovation have a focus on addressing complex societal problems; and –
(iii) the skills needed to address this gap between intentions and outcomes, and to facilitate engaging with critical research within institutions – these skills might, among others, relate to interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity or reflexivity as ways to operationalise RRI.

The summer school will be articulated around short keynotes, leaving time for plenary discussions and time for group work. On the last day, the groups will present their work (see assignment below).

The AFINO and DLN summer school at a glance

Topic: Engaging in critical research within institutions
Who: Priority will be given to (early career) researchers affiliated with the AFINO and DLN centres, but everyone is welcome to apply! Notice – there are limited number of places.
When: Summer school: 7th – 9th September 2022
Where: Hotel near Oslo, to be announced soon
Assignment and ECTS: 1 ECTS (+ 2 additional ECTS if essay), consisting in a 5-minute presentation, and a group work presentation, with outcome to be uploaded onto the RRI garden webpage.
Costs: Participants are responsible for their own travel costs, but accommodation and food will be covered.
Application link:
Application deadline: 17th June 2022 – limited places available
Organisers: Anne Blanchard ( leader of the AFINO Research School; and Anders Braarud Hanssen ( senior adviser for RRI at DLN.

Tentative programme:

Wednesday 7th SeptemberThursday 8th SeptemberFriday 9th September
Morning 09:00 – 12:00Welcome and introduction
Mapping the tensions between intentions and outcomes in research: Will start with 5-minute presentations from participants: identify doubts, uncertainties, complexities that you face in your research
New skills: Focus on inter and transdisciplinarity. What other skills might be relevant?  
Assignment in groups: come up with a set of skills / new research design or methodology / way of working with policy, etc. that would help navigate the gap between intentions and outcomes in research  
  Participants’ presentations      
Afternoon   13:00 – 16:00New collaborations: What new roles for the research, policy, funding institutions? Why? How? What would a collaboration between these institutions look like?Assignment in groups continuedBack home after lunch

Assignment and ECTS: Attendance and working with the following two tasks will give 1 ECTS:

  • participants will prepare a 5-minute presentation on one or two key doubts, complexities and uncertainties that they face in their research, how they attempt to navigate these
  • participants will conceptualise, in groups, a new research design or method, a set of research skills or a way to work with policy institutions, that would facilitate doing critical research within policy institutions, and help navigate the gap between intentions and outcomes. They will present their work on the last day, and it will be shared on the RRI garden webpage.

Participants can choose to earn an additional 2 ECTS by writing a 10-15 pages essay following the summer school, which will be supervised by a member of the teaching team. The essay should further reflect on one (or several) challenges of doing critical research within institutions, met in the participant’s project.

Teaching team so far includes:

  • Anne Blanchard, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT), University of Bergen, leader of the AFINO Research School
  • Anders Braarud Hanssen, OsloMet and senior adviser for RRI at DLN
  • Erik Thorstensen, OsloMet, leader of the AFINO WP4 – Building blocks for enhanced societal responsibility
  • Roger Strand, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT), University of Bergen, and member of the expert task force in DLN
  • Maria Bårdsen Hesjedal, researcher at NTNU and member of the junior resource group at DLN
  • Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, CEARC and Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, France.
  • Sissel Aasheim, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT), University of Bergen

About AFINO: AFINO is a networking centre funded by the Research Council of Norway. It aims to provide reflexive training and learning around Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); by exploring the challenges of evaluating and putting RRI and CSR into practice in concrete settings (AI, energy transition, aquaculture, etc.).
More information here:

About DLN: The Centre for Digital Life Norway, funded by the Research Council of Norway, supports biotechnology research and education with a focus on discussing and increasing sustainable, reponsible innovation and value creation for society. In particular, DLN adopts interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to better understand the broad social impacts of innovation.
More information here:

Featured image: Session at the AFINO Summer School held in Bekkjarvik 2021. Roger Strand, who will be in the teaching team also this year, is leading the class. Photo: Eva H. Murvold.

Anne Bremer
Anne Blanchard
Researcher at Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen

Anne Blanchard is a researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen, where she is working on projects studying how science is employed for complex and uncertain climate and health challenges.
She is also the leader of The AFINO Research School. Read more about Anne at AFINO's webpage.