June 5, 2014, by Warren Pearce

Responsible research and innovation: challenges and opportunities for governance

Innovation chalkboard, by Missy SchmidtWe are delighted to announce a new project, funded by the University of Nottingham’s Bridging the Gaps programme, which will investigate the institution’s approach to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). RRI has emerged in recent years as a potential bridge between science and society that aims to increase the public value of science. The project brings together two Research Fellows from the Making Science Public programme, Warren Pearce and Sarah Hartley, with Alasdair Taylor, a Business Science Fellow with expertise in green chemistry and sustainability. The project will develop interdisciplinary collaboration between the Fellows’ three Schools, Sociology and Social Policy, Biosciences and Chemistry, to bridge the gap between science practitioners and social scientists studying RRI. While the researchers are based in these three Schools, the project seeks to investigate the movement of RRI across the entire University.*

What is Responsible Research and Innovation?

The European Union has defined RRI as encompassing six ‘keys’ – ethics; gender equality; open access; public engagement; science education; and governance. The European Union’s Horizon 2020 funding programme also has a dedicated section for RRI entitled ‘Science with and for Society‘. Some UK research funders have also adopted RRI, intensifying top-down pressure on universities to respond. The academic literature has identified expanding the RRI concept from research project-level to becoming policy-relevant as a key theoretical challenge.

This interdisciplinary project brings together theoretical expertise in RRI, with practical experience of research, innovation and knowledge exchange to explore this challenge using the University of Nottingham as a case study. Further it will contribute to the academic literature through an understanding of how RRI might be incorporated within a university governance framework and the potential benefits and risks of doing so. We will:

  • produce a short report for the University outlining the RRI agenda,
  • compile a list of researchers across UoN with an interest in RRI funding opportunities,
  • contribute to the growing academic literature in this area.*

Want to know more or contribute?

If you want to know more about RRI, or are someone at University of Nottingham who has an interest in the concept, please leave a comment below, or get in touch with Penny Polson before July 18th.

* Amended for clarity, June 11th.

Posted in responsible innovationresponsive research