Universities and researchers are having to think differently about their approach to their work; to consider the responsibility they have for the impact of their research and education and step out of their comfort zones to involve the outside world in both the focus of their research and the processes undertaken.
 
The focus to date for Responsible Research and Innovation, or RRI, has been the academic research community. Over €20million of funding from the EC's Framework 7 and Horizon2020 programmes has been focused on academic research mainly to better understand the changing expectations of academia in society and the new responsibilities that may go with that. See below for some links to projects
 
Though the role of universities as educators is also fast changing, much of the current RRI thinking focuses on the research and innovation component of university life, and how, as publicly funded institutions, universities can demonstrate greater responsiveness and accountability to society.
 
The term RRI provides an interesting unifying theme for disparate initiatives from various actors which target both the university research environment and the focus and content of the research itself, particularly in science and social science.  
 
This includes:

  • Rethinking the social purpose and benefits of research

  • Exploring new thinking on what constitutes research excellence

  • Research impact beyond citations in academic journals

  • Making research findings more accessible in language & accessibility

  • Promoting collaboration and inter-disciplinarity

  • The importance of stakeholder and public involvement

  • The environment in universities and in research

  • Ethics applied to research

  • Better exploration of risks of science and research

  • Research integrity and responsibilities of researchers

  • Gender, diversity, equality in research & universities

  • Governance and accountability of researchers, especially for public funding

  • Talent identification, management, development & motivation