Responsible Research and Innovation

Responsible Research and Innovation is an approach to governing research and innovation (R&I) at the European level. RRI is reflected in many policy strategies and programming documents, such as the Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) program.

What is Responsible Research and Innovation?

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is an approach which implies that all societal actors (researchers, innovators, industry, policymakers, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, citizens, etc.) work together during the whole research and innovation (R&I) process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society.

RRI encompasses six fields relating to R&I:

  • Ethics
  • Gender equality
  • Governance
  • Open access
  • Public engagement
  • Science education

Why is Responsible Research and Innovation important?

Policymakers have been adopted the concept of RRI encouraging researchers and innovators to think about the public benefits of science-based and technology-based research.

Researchers have to anticipate and assess the potential consequences and implication regarding their R&I, aligning the scientific and technical development with the values and needs of the European society. Design and implement RRI means:
  • Engage societal actors and citizens in research and innovation activities since the beginning.
  • Ensure gender equality in the research process and research content.
  • Respect fundamental rights and ethical standards.
  • Increase access to scientific results (open access).
  • Promote formal and informal science education.

The UAB is committed with Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) that implies 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, the UAB works on every thematic elements of RRI:

·         Open access
·         Gender
·         ethics
·         public engagement
·         Science education
The UAB is actually involved in different European project to foster institutional RRI:

SeeRRI: (Building Self-Sustaining Research and Innovation Ecosystems in Europe through RRI). The objective of the project is to advance towards a more sustainable R&I ecosystems model, which would include all regional actors (research and education, businesses, administration and citizens, known as the quadruple helix) and incorporate the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

The project is led by the Nordland Research Institute in Norway and includes, apart from universities and research centres, regional governments and business associations. To reach these objectives three European regions have been selected as case studies, each with different intelligent specialisation strategies, one of them being the B-30 area

HEIRRI: The Autonomous University of Barcelona has been one of the institutions selected to participate in a pilot test of two programs and training materials developed by the HEIRRI project (see resolution). The HEIRRI project is focused on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in higher education institutions.

The UAB has been evaluated as one of the best proposals, giving us the mention of “HEIRRI collaboration institution”. The UAB participated actively in the learning process, giving feedback on the materials and their use in our institution. On April 2018, the UAB also participated in the 2nd HEIRRI Conference, sharing the experience with other higher education institutions.

The UAB also piloted two of five courses designed under the HEIRRI project:

  • Responsible PhD: RRI and PHD Research Projects. Audience: PhD Students.
  • Facilitating Reflection on Responsible Research and Innovation. Audience: Academic and non-academic HEI members.
For more information about the HEIRRI project, check the official website:

EGERA (Effective Gender Equality in Research and Academia). The research project EGERA brings together eight research and higher education institutions in seven EU member states (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) and Turkey, bound by a same commitment to the dual objective of achieving gender equality in research, and strengthening the gender dimension in research.

PERFORM aims to investigate the effects of the use of innovative science education methods based on performing arts in fostering young peoples’ motivations and engagement with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in selected secondary schools in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Orion (Open Responsible research and Innovation to further Outstanding knowledge). The project will focus on “embedding” RRI principles (ethics, gender, governance, open access, public engagement, and science education) in Research Performing and Funding Organizations (RPFO) by promoting institutional and cultural changes.