Tool Guideline

STARBIOS2 Guideline on RRI implementation in bioscience organisations

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 18 February 2020
Last modified on 28 April 2020

STARBIOS2 project

The Guidelines are a tool to promote, within biosciences research organisations, a structural
change (i.e., a durable transformation of a research organisation) that facilitates the practice of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). They are one of the outputs of the STARBIOS2 project.

The Guidelines arise from the practical experience of implementing Action Plans carried by the research organisations involved in the STARBIOS2 project, from the mutual learning activity among the STARBIOS2 partners, also supported by a study and update of RRI issues.

The Guidelines aim to help readers to formalize and trigger structural change aimed at introducing RRI-related practices that are appropriate to their own organisations. The  Guidelines are not a series of prescriptions, but an itinerary of reflection and self-interpretation that is addressed to different actors within the Biosciences, such as: researchers, research organisations managers and technical staff members, professionals within research-funding organisations, students and others. Although these Guidelines are not designed for their specific needs, they could be useful to science policymakers as well. In very general terms, the Guidelines’ readers are people who intend to promote RRI or to emphasize responsibility within the research activities in which they are engaged, or who are trying to collect resources for designing and implementing activities with this end.

To support this itinerary of reflection and self-interpretation, the document provides:

  • A description of a general RRI Model for research organisations within the biosciences, that is a set of ideas, premises and “principles of action” that define the practice of RRI in Bioscience research organisations
  • Some practical guidance for designing interventions to promote RRI in research organisations in the Biosciences, putting into practice the RRI Model
  • A set of useful practices in implementing the structural change process.

Information on particular STARBIOS2 cases and experiences, as well as materials, tools and sources, are also provided in the Appendix and in the Annex.



0. Foreword: A model and some practical guidance for initiating change 

1. Introduction

2. An RRI Model for research organisations in the biosciences 

  • 2.1. Crisis in the relationship between Science and Technology, and Society
  • 2.2. RRI as a possible way to face crisis 
  • 2.3. What does RRI mean for the Biosciences? 
  • 2.4. Some principles of action 

3. Practical guidance for using the model to promote RRI in research organisations in the Biosciences 

  • 3.1. Positioning within the networks of relations
  • 3.2. Engaging and mobilizing key “internal” actors 
  • 3.3. Choosing the problems to address 
  • 3.4. Deciding what to change
  • 3.5. Developing a plan of action 

4. The structural change process in practice .

  • 4.1. Core Team establishment and maintenance 
  • 4.2. Context Analysis and Detailed design 
  • 4.3. The mobilization of actors 
  • 4.4. Negotiating change for the promotion of RRI and structural change
  • 4.5. Self-reflection on the change process and the APs 


ANNEX - Notes on Examples of Dynamic RRI Implementation to Achieve Structural Change in Biosciences 


List of Boxes in the Appendix

#1 - The STARBIOS2 six Action Plans in brief
#2 - Mobilizing resources for promoting RRI-oriented structural change
#3 - Some critical areas of the life of scientists
#4 - RRI, the Biosciences and interdisciplinarity
#5 - Biosciences and RRI
#6 - Biosciences are an area of complex Interaction among different actors
#7 - Scientific communication: a broad definition
#8 - Gender and gender issues in the Biosciences
#9 - Better research and systems of incentives
#10 - Research vision: a definition and its connection with RRI
#11 - Infections, nutrition, epigenetics and the exposome - RRI as an approach for designing research in Biosciences
#12 - Framing research process considering RRI
#13 - Possible types of actors in the biosciences sector
#14 - Data on the sector as a whole
#15 - The Bioscience Sector and RRI. How a Self-Reflective Exercise could Work
#16 - Diverse actors
#17 - Singling out actors for triggering the change process
#18 - Institutions and the definition of the boundaries of organisations
#19 - Actors interaction, negotiation, consensus and conflict
#20 - Producing a change towards RRI that is structural
#21 - Structural change, complexity and its time dimension
#22 - Two different approaches to the APs
#23 - How did we produce the Guidelines?


List of Notes in the Annex

Examples of Dynamic RRI Implementation to Achieve Structural Change in Biosciences

#1 - The UNESCO Interdisciplinary Chair in Biotechnology and Bioethics (2000-2019). An Example of Responsible Research and Innovation between Europe and Africa - By Carla Montesano and Vittorio Colizzi
#2 - Responsible research and innovation for the conservation of biodiversity - By Elena Buzan
#3 - An analysis of gender equity in scientific authorships: a case study of the National
institute for health research Oxford biomedical research Centre - By: Rinita Dam, Syed Ghulam Sarwar Shah, Pavel Ovseiko, Lorna Henderson, Vasiliki Kiparoglou and Alastair Buchan
#4 - Technology Transfer as a form of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) - By Maria Salvato
#5 - Science education as a trigger for RRI structural change - By Doris Elster, Tanja Barendziak, Julia Birkholz
#6 - RRI in Africa - By Carla Montesano and Vittorio Colizzi
#7 - Consider your Culture: African Ethics of Ubuntu - By Martha Wium and Luiz Fernando Zerbini
#8 - ZIKA in Brazil Real Time Analysis (ZiBRA-2): an RRI experience - By Marta Giovanetti, Fernanda Khouri, Luiz Alcantara
#9 - Providing information to society on plants and biotechnology - By Daniela Moyankova and Dimitar Djilianov
#10 - RRI and Governance of complex research organisation - By Krzysztof Bielawski, Marta Dziedzic, Izabela Raszczyk
#11 - Achieving impact: some arguments for designing a communications strategy - By Josepine Fernow
#12 - The complexity of monitoring and assessing RRI structural change implementation and impact in research organisations within Biosciences - By Evanthia Kalpazidou Schmidt
#13 - Technical Assistance in the STARBIOS2 Project - By Giovanni Caiati and Claudia Colonnello
#14 - Action Plan design tools – the Action Plan template - By Giovanni Caiati and Claudia Colonnello


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