Responsible Research & Innovation (RII): what is it and why do you need to implement it in your projects

Responsible Research & Innovation, RRI, has emerged both as a concept as well as an overall methodology and set of tools over the Horizon 2020 time span and it is here to stay as a key advance to enhance the connections between society and R+I projects. Other funding programs and institutions in Europe and elsewhere are promoting RRI through their calls.

The H2020 program defines RRI as “an approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation”. RRI is a step towards an open research and innovation system to tackle the big societal challenges. 

“Responsible Research and Innovation 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 approach –to which I will dedicate a post soon– and public engagement in research and innovation, enabling not only easier access to scientific results, but direct participation of stakeholders in all the research & innovation process,  from design to data collection, analysis and evaluation; Other important components of RRI are the take up of gender and ethics in the research and innovation content and process, and formal and informal science education.

On of the first Horizon 2020 projects related to training, communication and dissemination of RRI, lead by Fundació La Caixa from Catalonia was RRI Tools , an extensively documented and detailed on-line handbook & guide towards RRI implementation for all actors involved. The project ended in 2016 but it continues to produce information today, as well as a RRI community open to anyone interested. And RRI-EU is a twitter channel jointly curated by some of the on-going European projects on RRI methodologies and directly using RRI.  

RRI can surely be a powerful approach to socioenvironmental innovation, and we are ready to help you in planning, designing and implementing Responsible Research & Innovation in your projects.

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