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Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a term used by the European Union's Framework Programmes to describe scientific research and technological development processes that take into account effects and potential impacts on the environment and society. [1] [2] [3] [4] It gained visibility around the year 2010, [5] arising from predecessors including " ELSA" (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects) studies prompted by the Human Genome Project. [6] [7] Various slightly different definitions of RRI emerged, but all of them agree that societal challenges should be a primary focus of scientific research, and moreover they agree upon the methods by which that goal should be achieved. [8] RRI involves holding research to high ethical standards, ensuring gender equality in the scientific community, investing policy-makers with the responsibility to avoid harmful effects of innovation, engaging the communities affected by innovation and ensuring that they have the knowledge necessary to understand the implications by furthering science education and Open Access. [4] Organizations that adopted the RRI terminology include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

" Horizon 2020", the European Commission's program for science funding announced in 2013, made RRI a main focus. [9] The foundations for this were laid in the program "Societally Responsible Innovating", which was an initiative of Netherlands Organization for Scientific research and six ministerial departments in the Netherlands. [10] [11] [12] [13] The 2005-2007 preparations for this program coined the phrase “Responsible Innovation” and designed a program with several calls for proposals. The core idea of Responsible Research and Innovation in the EU Horizon 2020 Program was inspired by this program. [14] [15]

In 2014, it was suggested that the "broader impacts" criteria of the National Science Foundation were, despite certain dissimilarities, in effect coming to resemble RRI standards. [16]

There are many industries and services that involve research and development and specifically highlight the need and importance of responsible research to make that development most beneficial to all of its stake holders including the society linked with it. [17] Commercial agriculture is one such industry among others that is heavily dependent on responsible research development.

One area in which RRI principles are being applied is quantum computing. A research collaboration led by Oxford University within the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme aims to reveal how quantum computing can be socially and economically transformative, and to identify the potential downsides of the " disruption" it might bring about. [18]

Among the criticisms voiced about RRI, prominent concerns include the vagueness of the terminology, the possibility of discouraging blue skies research and the lack of sufficient practical reward for embracing RRI in a research culture based on competition and short-term contracts. [9]


  1. ^ von Schomberg, René (2013). "A Vision of Responsible Research and Innovation" (PDF). Responsible Innovation. Responsible Innovation: Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 51–74. doi: 10.1002/9781118551424.ch3. ISBN  9781119966364. S2CID  153336433.
  2. ^ European Commission (2013). "Options for Strengthening Responsible Research and Innovation - Report of the Expert Group on the State of Art in Europe on Responsible Research and Innovation" (PDF). Publications Office. doi: 10.2777/46253. Retrieved 24 June 2014. {{ cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= ( help)
  3. ^ Zwart, Hub; Landeweerd, Laurens; van Rooij, Arjan (2014-05-14). "Adapt or perish? Assessing the recent shift in the European research funding arena from 'ELSA' to 'RRI'". Life Sciences, Society and Policy. 10: 11. doi: 10.1186/s40504-014-0011-x. PMC  4648839. PMID  26085447.
  4. ^ a b Peckham, James (2018-08-27). "What is responsible innovation, and why should tech giants take it seriously?". TechRadar. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  5. ^ Owen, Richard; Macnaghten, Phil; Stilgoe, Jack (2012). "Responsible research and innovation: from science in society to science for society, with society". Science and Public Policy. 39 (6): 751–760. doi: 10.1093/scipol/scs093.
  6. ^ Felt, Ulrike (2018). "Responsible Research and Innovation". Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society (2nd ed.). Routledge. ISBN  9781315451671.
  7. ^ Murget, Mirjam; Bardone, Emanuele; Pedaste, Margus (2017). "Definitions and Conceptual Dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation: A Literature Review". Science and Engineering Ethics. 23 (1): 1–19. doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9782-1. PMID  27090147. S2CID  3635486.
  8. ^ Smallman, Melanie (2018). "Citizen science and Responsible Research and Innovation". Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press. pp. 241–253. ISBN  9781787352353. JSTOR  j.ctv550cf2.24.
  9. ^ a b Pain, Elisabeth (2017-01-17). "To be a responsible researcher, reach out and listen". Science. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  10. ^ "History | NWO-MVI". Retrieved 2021-12-13.
  11. ^ Stahl, Bernd Carsten (2013-12-01). "Responsible research and innovation: The role of privacy in an emerging framework". Science and Public Policy. 40 (6): 708–716. doi: 10.1093/scipol/sct067.
  12. ^ Molenaar, Henk (2017). "A Plurality of Voices". A Plurality of Voices: The Dutch National Research Agenda in Dispute. The Dutch National Research Agenda in Perspective: A Reflection on Research and Science Policy in Practice. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 31–46. ISBN  9789462982796. JSTOR  j.ctt1n7qk7m.6.
  13. ^ Rip, Arie (2016-12-14). "The many lives of Responsible Research and Innovation". EuroScience. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  14. ^ Responsible Innovation 1. Innovative solutions for global issues. Springer. 2014.
  15. ^ Directorate-General of Research and Innovation, European Commission (2013). Options for strengthening responsible research and innovation: report of the Expert Group of the State of the Art in Europe on Responsible Research and Innovation. LU: Publications Office of the European Union. ISBN  978-92-79-28233-1.
  16. ^ Davis, Michael; Laas, Kelly (2014). ""Broader Impacts" or "Responsible Research and Innovation"? A Comparison of Two Criteria for Funding Research in Science and Engineering". Science and Engineering Ethics. 20 (4): 963–983. doi: 10.1007/s11948-013-9480-1. PMID  24155159. S2CID  13394652.
  17. ^ Abeysiriwardana, Prabath Chaminda; Jayasinghe-Mudalige, Udith K.; Seneviratne, Gamini (2022-12-31). "Probing into the concept of 'research for society' to utilize as a strategy to synergize flexibility of a research institute working on eco-friendly commercial agriculture". All Life. 15 (1): 220–233. doi: 10.1080/26895293.2022.2038280. ISSN  2689-5293. S2CID  246761304.
  18. ^ "Responsible Research and Innovation in Networked Quantum IT". University of Oxford, Department of Computer Science. Retrieved 2018-11-16.

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