What is Responsible Research and Innovation?

Responsible research and innovation is an approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications and societal expectations with regards to research and innovation, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) implies that societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organisations, etc.) 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 society.

In practice, RRI is implemented as a package 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.

EC Horizon 2020: Responsible Research and Innovation


RE-COGNITION is committed to delivering a framework of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).  This framework implies that the stakeholders involved in the project will work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes of RE-COGNITION  with the values, needs and expectations of society. RE-COGNITION aims to implement this framework by:

  • anticipating positive and negative impacts that the technology may have on humans and the environment.
  • reflect on the purpose and goals of the project
  • broadening and diversifying the stakeholder group to amplify the voices that are able to influence the project.
  • being responsive and actively modifying the technology based on stakeholder feedback and involvement


  • Deliver annual Responsible Research and innovation training for consortium members.
  • Maintain continuous RRI reflections and discussions with project partners through regular focus groups.
  • Deliver a public engagement activity with one of the pilot sites.
  • Design and implement an RRI focused stakeholder engagement process.


During the initial RRI meeting, consortium members created a Re-cognition RRI pledge, which will not only help align the project to the RRI framework but also act as the context for continuous RRI discussions and reflections throughout the project.

We pledge to…

  • Make Building Energy systems as secure as possible, both digitally (anti-hacking, anti-interference) and physically.
  • Uphold and defend the privacy of user data.
  • Maximise benefits and minimize harm to the environment.
  • Priorities human choice, comfort and lives during the development of the technology.
  • Ensure the protection of human life, health and environment (in particular electricity, electromagnetic fields and exposures, mechanical and structural safety and comfort, data and information flows should all be examined in order to protect society).
  • Respect regulations whilst acknowledging uncertainty.
  • Work towards user-acceptance of the Re-Cognition technology, through awareness, understanding and inclusion of users (and non-direct users) in the development and implementation of the technology.
  • Explore all possible misuses and negative implications that the Re-Cognition project could impose on society and the environment and make a commitment to reflect on how these negative impacts/misuses could be mitigated.
  • Acknowledge the relevance and importance of other knowledge; encourage multidisciplinary working and to value and embed different perspectives into the project at all stages.
  • Reflect upon the social fairness and access implications of this project and work towards a project that upholds social justice values.

Public Engagement Team
University of Bristol

The Public engagement team at the University of Bristol is a pioneer in developing and implementing RRI and Public Engagement initiatives at all levels. The team works across the University of Bristol to support and promote public engagement with research and teaching. Our team supports a number of innovative projects engaging a range of diverse publics, from SPHERE, an engineering project exploring the use of home-based sensor technologies to improve health impacts, to Invincible, a collaboration between Bristol’s BrisSynBio research and Kilter theatre company, who produced an immersive theatre performance that explored some of the RRI issues surrounding the future of Synthetic.


For more information about RRI and Re-Cognition please contact:

Hannah Berg, hb12029@bristol.ac.uk

Mario Pansera, mario.pansera@bristol.ac.uk  

The Public Engagement team coordinates and delivers a range of training to undergraduates, postgraduates and research professionals in the university, embedding effective public engagement in the culture of the university. One of our specialisms as a department is training and engagement for responsible research and innovation. Through projects such as EU funded PERFORM and Synenergene we have started to explore different methodologies that bring Responsible Research and Innovation in to practice, creating tangible impacts for the public, responding to the specific contexts of different research groups and influencing the culture of research within institutions.