Responsible research and innovation (RRI)

 Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is a multi-actor approach that implies the public engagement of societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, NGOs, business, etc.) which work together over the whole R&I innovation process. The main objective is to promote the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation. At the same time, this approach would guarantee that R&I outcomes line up with the values, needs and expectations of society.

In practice, RRI enables easier access to scientific results, the take up of gender and ethics in the R&I process, and formal and informal science education.

In recent years the concept has been used broadly, as a method to verify whether the processes and outputs are acceptable and socially desirable.

RRI Tools, a three-year project (2014-2016) funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program (FP7), has produced a quick guide explaining what responsible research and innovation really means and why it is so important for modern society

RRI in Horizon 2020 

 Science has deeply contributed to change our perspective on the world we live in. It is the driver of all discoveries and enabling technologies and innovation. Beside positive societal changes, scientific applications have sometimes given rise to risks or ethical issues which have not always been addressed properly.

During the last decades EU programmes have boosted their efforts to close the gap between science and society, leading to RRI in the domain of the Horizon 2020 program. In Horizon2020, RRI initiatives are designed to meet wide participation of all stakeholders involved in the process, by starting from a very early stage to evaluation.

These initiatives respond to a need to consider the potential of societal expectations in innovation. They aim to foster inclusive, participatory approaches in European R&I processes. A core principle of RRI is the alignment of its outcomes with societal values, by engaging citizens in discussing how science and technology can contribute to create the kind of world we aspire for present and future generations.

RRI is a cross-cutting issue within the Horizon 2020 funding scheme, and in line with Europe 2020 – the EU's strategy for growth launched in 2010. RRI can also be found in Europe's emerging policy of 'Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World'.

Responsible research and innovation is key action of the 'Science with and for Society' objective (we have dealt with the Swafs actions here). Actions on thematic elements of RRI (public engagement, open access, gender, ethics, science education), and integrated actions, that for example promote institutional change, to foster the uptake of the RRI approach by stakeholders and institutions, serve this objective. The 'Science with and for Society' programme is instrumental in addressing the societal challenges identified in Horizon 2020, building capacities and developing innovative ways of connecting science to society.

H2020 funded projects dealing with RRI


 PRISMA – Piloting RRI in Industry: a roadmap for tranSforMAtive technologies. Its aim is to overcome the current limited experience with RRI, social engagement, and gender considerations in industry.

COMPASS – Evidence and opportunities for responsible innovation in SMEs. The challenge is to collect and deploy evidence on how RRI can be meaningfully integrated into extant innovation systems in European industry.

RRI-ICT Forum – Supporting and promoting responsible research and innovation in ICT. The proposal aims at monitoring, analyzing, supporting and promoting SSH contribution to, and RRI approach in ICT research and innovation under H2020.

FoTRRIS – Fostering a Transition towards Responsible Research and Innovation Systems. Itse main objective is to develop and introduce new governance practices to foster RRI policies and methods in R&I systems.

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