Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Europe is facing today many societal challenges such as job security, safety of its citizens, intense migration, environmental degradation and food security among others. That is why the European Union has adopted a challenge-based approach to bring together resources and knowledge across disciplines and fields, and to bring society closer to science and innovation. In this respect The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission is determined to bridge the gap between the scientific community and society at large.

Since 2010 the focus of the EC initiative “Science in Society” has been to develop an approach reconciling the aspirations and ambitions of European citizens and other Research and Innovation actors: a framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

Responsible Research and Innovation means that societal actors 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 European society.

In practice, RRI is implemented as an action that includes multi-actor and public engagement in research and innovation, enabling easier access to scientific results, the take up of gender and ethics in the research and innovation content and process, and formal and informal science education.


The RRI Dimensions are:

  • Public Engagement – the first Dimension

is about co-creating the future by bringing together the widest possible diversity of actors, including researchers and innovators, industry and SME, policymakers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations and citizens, that would not normally interact with each other, on matters of science and technology, in particular to tackle the grand societal challenges that lie before us. PE implies a two-way, iterative, inclusive and participatory process of multi-actor exchanges and dialogues (also involving minorities, considering gender and multiple generations). Public engagement in research and innovation fosters more societally relevant, desirable, and creative research and innovation actions and policy agenda, leading to wider acceptability.

  • Unlock the full potential – the second dimension

Gender Equality. Engagement means that all actors — women and men — are on board. The under-representation of women must be addressed. Research institutions, in particular their human resources manage­ment, need to be modernised. The gender dimension must be integrated in research and innovation content.

  • Creating Learning fresh ideas – the third dimension

The world is changing rapidly and the responsibility for addressing societal challenges needs to be shared through the engagement of all societal actors across Europe. However, the key for co-creation within the research and innovation process is one of enabling sustained dialogue. But before this can happen, the language and tools of science need to be available to everyone. Science education is essential to making this happen. Children and young people enter the education systems with natural curiosity and creativity; recognising and nurturing this will require changes in both the values and governance of science education.

  • ‘Share results to advance’

Science has always been open, unlike the processes for producing research and diffusing its results. It is widely agreed that making research results more accessible contributes to improving research and innovation. As new challenges need to be addressed, we move decisively with this fourth dimension from Open Access into the broader landscape of Open Science.

  • ‘Do the right “think” and do it right’

The fifth dimension is Ethics. European society is based on shared values. In order to adequately respond to societal challenges, research and innovation must respect fundamental rights and the highest ethical standards. Beyond the mandatory legal aspects, this aims to ensure increased societal relevance and acceptability of research and innovation outcomes. Ethics should not be perceived as a constraint to research and innovation, but rather as a way of ensuring high quality results.

  • ‘Design science with and for society’\

Policymakers also have a responsibility to anticipate and assess potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation, with the aim of fostering the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation. Through this last dimension we will develop harmonious Governance models for responsible research and innovation that also integrate public engagement, gender equality, science education, open access/science and ethics.

Link to the European Commission Library on RRI:


MARINA Project and RRI

In the MARINA Project we focus in bridging the gap between scientists and society through different activities:

  1. We are executing 32 local workshops for Mobilising and Mutual Learning (MLL) all over Europe and Turkey among citizens, scientists, innovators, local authorities, national policy makers, business, universities and research centers. The themes of the MML workshops relate to local marine challenges and common visions to define action plans.
  2. All these participants are invited to join the MARINA Knowledge Sharing Platform and to form a community of practice to follow-up the execution of their action plan and to share their knowledge and experiences.
  3. We provide best practices, lessons learned and recommendations for marine and RRI policy improvements at EU-level through 8 international MML workshops and 3 European policy workshops.
  4. We are identifying best practices and lessons learned from previous and current EU-funded projects and provide these on the MARINA Knowledge Sharing Platform for helping future RRI initiatives.
  5. We are raising awareness for improving the sea ecosystems as well as for creating responsible solutions using the marine resources through an exhibition and several communication events in many European countries.
  6. We are providing an easy to use step-by-step Knowledge Sharing Platform to create a strong marine RRI community across geographic boundaries.
  7. The MARINA comprehensive RRI implementation framework will guide organisations to embed RRI in their research and innovation processes.
  8. We are communicating the findings to university and research associations for informing the upcoming generation of scientists about RRI.