Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)


“Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a transparent, interactive process by which societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view on the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products (in order to allow a proper embedding of scientific and technological advances in our society)” ( René von Schomberg 2013:19 )

*** video ***


The idea of the concept Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) goes back to the early 20th century and a discussion about the responsibility of science and technology. Thus, there was an increasing need to link innovation and responsibility. RRI is a policy concept that promotes the "(ethical) acceptability, sustainability, and social desirability" of research and innovation by placing society at the center of today's research processes and making research and innovation more responsive to society's values, needs, and expectations. RRI aims to ensure that research and innovation are sustainable, morally defensible, and incorporate societal interests to distribute responsibility fairly among all. Thus, the RRI concept envisions the collaboration of civil society, business and industry, policy makers, the research community, and the education community to find common solutions to global challenges.

Higher education institutions are key players in promoting RRI as they can contribute significantly to addressing global challenges through a socially responsible approach to research, teaching, and transfer. The RRI concept has become increasingly important as a cross-cutting concept within the European Union over the past decade. The concept is part of the European funding strategy to strengthen science and society and was initiated under Horizon 2020. RRI also occupies a significant position in the successor program "Horizon Europe".

With the establishment of the RRI Hub at RWTH Aachen University in 2019, a structure has been created for the pursuit of responsible research and innovation in the three task areas of research, teaching and transfer. The RRI Hub aims to strengthen collaboration in research and innovation between industry, society, administration and universities (as part of the research and education community in the RRI concept).