Europe wants to promote not only excellent but also socially desirable science and technology: it is vital to align the objectives of research and innovation processes with the needs and values of the societies that support them. There is clear evidence that today we need to involve the whole of society in the decisions about the development of science and technology so we can all contribute to the smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth of our societies. This is the core of the ambitious initiative of the European Commission on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as a cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020, the current Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
In this context, RRI Tools has been set up in order to empower all actors to contribute their share to the Responsible Research and Innovation initiative. Funded under the Framework Programme FP7 (2007-2013), the final outcome of RRI Tools is to develop a set of digital resources to advocate, train, disseminate and implement RRI under Horizon 2020.
RRI Tools will be carried out by a multidisciplinary consortium consisting of 26 institutions led by "la Caixa" Foundation (Spain). This consortium brings together considerable experience in the key components of RRI across Europe. In addition, the project aims to be collaborative and inclusive in itself in order to increase creativity and shared ownership of the process. Researchers, civil society, educators, industry, and policy makers will join forces in RRI Tools to work together on the design of a better relationship between research and innovation on the one hand and society on the other.
Nineteen RRI Hubs have been created to provide coverage to 30 countries in the European Research Area, extending across the length and breadth of Europe. These hubs are responsible for training in the use of these tools, advocating policy makers at national and regional level, and spreading the concept of RRI. The ultimate goal is bring into being a European community of practice that draws together all people and organisations that are active in this new vision of scientific and social development, and that can use and continuously contribute to the RRI Toolkit.