Responsible Research and Innovation

The Context

According to the EU, “Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) implies that societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organisations, etc.) work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. In practice, RRI is implemented as a package that includes multi-actor and public engagement in research and innovation, enabling easier access to scientific results, the take up of gender and ethics in the research and innovation content and process, and formal and informal science education.”

Europe’s Horizon 2020 programme includes RRI as a key action of the ‘Science with and for Society’ programme and actions are being undertaken to promote its uptake.

The increasing relevance in EU policy and the calls for projects in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) — both in Europe and abroad — indicate that prevailing research and innovation systems are in a phase of transition to systems that are better equipped to address the great challenges of our time, based on truly collaborative practices.

This transition does not only occur in a top-down direction; it also arises from societal trends. Signs can be found:

  • in market relations between consumers and producers, i.e.parallel and mutually supporting processes such as consumer 2.0, Internet 2.0, the role of social media which, together, result in new phenomena of customisation, presumers, prosumers, sharing economies, and crowdfunding.
  • in businesses, with a transition from a closed to an open innovation model, e.g. ‘wikinomics’, ‘commons–based peer production’ or an internet platform such as InnoCentive which connects enterprises/organisations that have a specific problem with potential problem-solvers.

For the FoTRRIS project, responsible research and innovation is a collaborative activity that starts from the very beginning, and has chosen to add the prefix ‘co’ to the acronym RRI: collaboration starts ‘upstream’, from the definition of the problem or challenge. It continues during the analysis of the problem, the projection of potential solutions, the design of a research and innovation project that aims at achieving a solution, and all the way through its performance and monitoring.

More information

RRI in Horizon 2020