Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Engaging in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) means involving society in science and innovation in order to align scientific practices and results with collective values. RRI focuses on the relationship between research, innovation and society: it must involve the public, take into account gender issues, promote scientific and ethical education, and adopt a governance model for science.

Science and technology enabled men to develop medicine, agriculture, social sciences, the humanities and all fields of knowledge with extraordinary results. Besides their positive impact in terms of wealth and physical and cultural well-being, science and innovation can open up new fields of knowledge and new questions, but they can also be sources of new risks and ethical dilemmas or even disputes.

Responsible Research and Innovation is an approach that has developed over the years to address these challenges and try to reduce the gap between science and society. RRI tries to raise the issues associated with research and innovation, in order to anticipate their consequences and involve society in the debate and understanding of new values and answers proposed by research.

Embracing an RRI approach means involving all players, including researchers, institutions and governments, in inclusive working methods and processes at all stages of research and at all levels of research governance, from agenda setting and planning to implementation and evaluation. In addition to being ethically and socially useful, the RRI approach makes it possible to produce better science and make research agendas more inclusive and responsive to today's challenges.

RRI practices aim at achieving ethically and socially viable results. The ongoing inclusion of all R&I stakeholders leads to science applications that are relevant to society.

Responsible research and innovation requires processes to be:

  • Diverse & Inclusive – including from the outset a wide range of players and audiences in R&I practices and decisions, in order to promote better and more useful knowledge. This strengthens democracy and widens the potential sources of competence, and the range of integrated disciplines and perspectives.
  • Anticipatory & insightful – assessing the potential impacts and the assumptions, values and objectives of R&I in order to better understand how they contribute to shaping our future. This approach produces valuable insights and increases our ability to act on what we know.
  • Open & transparent – communicating results, implications and conclusions in a balanced and sensible way, so as to promote debate and public scrutiny. This improves the visibility and understanding of R&I.
  • Sensitive & responsive to change - being able to change organizational mind-sets and behaviours in response to changes in circumstances, knowledge and outlook.

The Ethics Committee and the Code of Ethics govern ethical aspects of university research.