Responsible Research and Innovation

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* Maatschappelijk_Verantwoord_Innoveren (dutch)

Contents

General

  • Responsible research and innovation is an approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation (European communion, Horizon 2020)
  • In a responsible research and innovation (RRI) process not only researchers but all societal actors work together to align the research process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of the society.

Background

Responsible research and innovation is an innovative approach to seeing research which is supposed to enable Europe to societal challenges (European Union 2012, RRI): “The grand societal challenges that lie before us will have a far better chance of being tackled if all societal actors are fully engaged in the coconstruction of innovative solutions, products and services. The grand societal challenges that lie before us will have a far better chance of being tackled if all societal actors are fully engaged in the coconstruction of innovative solutions, products and services.”

RRI is based on six keys: (i) Engagement of all societal actors (researchers, industry, policy makers and civil society) in the research process including the framing of societal challenges as a starting point for research on the basis of widely representative social economic and ethical concerns and common principles; (ii) Gender equality in research (including the integration of the gender dimension in research); (iii) Enhancement of current education processes to better equip future researchers and society as a whole with the necessary competences to participate in research processes; (iv) Open access to research results and publications to boost innovation and increase the use of scientific results; (v) Research must respect ethical standards and fundamental rights to respond to societal challenges; (vi) Governance of policymakers to prevent harmful or unethical developments in research and innovation (European Union 2012, RRI).

As the approach of responsible research and innovation is appropriate and contemporary approach to research it also needs to be reflected in science education as to give future scientists and other societal actors an appropriate view on science. Educational research supports the use of rich contexts in science teaching and in consequence also the use of societal challenges as a starting point for learning. Context-based science education does not lead to a decrease in the development of understanding of science, and has considerable benefits in terms of attitudes to school science and of abilities in solving context-based problems (Bennett, Lubben & Hogarth, 2007). Through context-based approaches students gain insight into the meaningfulness of science and this results in improvement in student motivation and attitudes towards learning (Bennett et al., 2006, Maaß 2004) which in turn influences academic achievement (Deci & Ryan, 2002).

Especially contexts that are derived from authentic workplace practices have the potential to improve science education (Prins, 2010; Dierdorp et al., 2010). Research findings show that students experience and understand the functionality, purpose and utility of disciplinary knowledge in scientific careers (Ainley, Pratt & Hansen, 2006; Dierdorp, 2010; Mazereeuw, 2013).

European project with this RRI approach:

References


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