Responsible Research and Innovation in Practice

RRI-Practice is a 3-year project under Horizon 2020. Its aim is to understand the barriers and drivers to the successful implementation of RRI both in European and global contexts; to promote reflection on organisational structures and cultures of research conducting and research funding organisations; and to identify and support best practices to facilitate the uptake of RRI in organisations and research programmes. The project will review RRI related work in 22 research conducting and research funding organisations and will develop RRI Outlooks outlining RRI objectives, targets and indicators for each organisation.

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) has emerged in recent years as a science policy framework, which seeks to align technological innovation with broader social values, and to support the institutional decisions concerning the goals of research and innovation in conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity. RRI aims to engage publics and responsible actors in the science and innovation field to produce ethically acceptable, sustainable and socially desirable research and innovation outcomes.

RRI’s rationale is that science and technology have the power to transform the future, that they are socially, ethically and politically entangled and that they can have potentially far-reaching, uncertain and unpredictable social consequences. European Commission views RRI as a framework that can be used to address grand societal challenges through the engagement of societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organisations and others) in the co-construction of research and innovation, and to better align this process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of the European society.

RRI-Practice project takes as its starting point that organisational policies on socially responsible research practices cannot be implemented simply in a top down fashion. In order for organisations (universities, research institutes, funding organisations, etc.) to have ownership of any concept of RRI they have to be able to relate it to their own mandates, cultures, worldviews. In this project, we will use dimensions of institutionalist approaches in organisational theory to clarify challenges and conditions for successful RRI work.

With the RRI-Practice project we seek to:

  • harvest experiences on how research conducting and research funding/policy organisations work to strengthen RRI related values
  • support the systematic development of such work in these organisations
  • generate scalable knowledge about good practices for the wider implementation of RRI

In RRI-Practice we will not define RRI, but will systematically explore the following aspects of RRI:

  • The organisations’ own understanding and operationalisation of socially responsible research practices
  • The 5 European Commission RRI keys: ethics, societal engagement, gender equality, open access/science and science education
  • Process dimensions that are often regarded as central to RRI: diversity & inclusiveness, anticipation & reflexivity, openness & transparency, and responsiveness & adaptation