An abridged genealogy of the RRI concept

Responsible research and Innovation, or RRI, may not be well understood by some. Yet, what it means is: science policy should explicitly include society. It stems from the fact that resistance to technical progress has always existed, particularly when such new technology is disruptive. Those who, in the XIXth century, did not agree and contested the value of such progress were accused of adopting romantic attitudes, or of being irrational. Read more [...]
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Innovation is not inherently good: René von Schomberg, EuroScientist Interview

Science is not neutral. It can have both positive and negative consequences. Scientists increasingly have to face the ethical dilemma of the consequences of their research. And, thus, their responsibility in science governance. Examples from biotechnology, and nanotechnologies, show that the negotiation of responsibility between scientists and the outside world is still a crucial issue in modern research. Read more [...]
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EC implementing RRI through institutional change

Horizon 2020 has as a notable ambition to address grand societal challenges. It fits in Europe's strategy for jobs and growth, called Europe 2020, where research and innovation play a key role. In this context, several questions have arisen. Read more [...]

Collective responsibility towards research and innovation’s risks and new ethical dilemmas

Research and innovation constantly change our world. From the Internet and mobile phones, to climate change and new cancer treatments, science and technology have the potential to transform our lives. These developments also create new risks and new ethical dilemmas. Responsible research and innovation (RRI) seeks to bring these issues into the open. It also aims to anticipate the consequences and directions of research and innovation. Read more [...]

RRI Tools – where we are and what we are after

Today’s societies face several challenges, ranging from healthy aging to climate change and security, for which there are no straightforward solutions. These challenges are reflected in the European Commission’s seven Grand Challenges, which constitute the focus of European research policy. Throughout the research and innovation (R&I) landscape, people are working to meet these challenges. Read more [...]
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Why develop a toolkit for RRI?

The role of research and innovation in society is increasingly being questioned. In the past few decades, this trend has been exacerbated by controversies around the acceptability of some technologies, such as GMOs, synthetic biology or nanotechnologies. Or even by the decrease in young people choosing science and technological careers. In response, research and innovation scholars, policy makers, scientists and engineers, teachers, civil society organisations as well as industry and business representatives have started to work together on RRI to better incorporate societal values, needs and expectations in research and innovation. The trouble is that it is such a new field that there are no real established ways to go about implementing RRI. Hence, the project RRI Tools set out to identify various practices in the field of RRI as a means to recognise best practice and best tools and share them widely. Read more [...]
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A regional science centre’s perspective on RRI Tools

How did we get involved in such an ambitious European project as RRI Tools? It all started when we were first approached by the European network of science centres and museums, Ecsite, to participate to a tender over a call pertaining to the production and use of a training and dissemination toolkit on responsible research and innovation. Read more [...]

E-cigarettes in regulatory doldrums

The phenomenon of e-cigarette has caught regulators flat footed. The devices vaporise a solution, allowing vapers to inhale nicotine. Their popularity has surged and regulators are running to catch up. However, around the world countries are adopting different approaches as people begin to get into the vaping habit. What is certain is that they are proving controversial. And they have split tobacco-control community. Some see them as life savers, others as a pathway to normalisation and more tobacco use. Read more [...]
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EuroScientist interview: The view of Italian tobacco expert, Riccardo Polosa, on e-cigs policy

Riccardo Polossa heads up the Centre for Tobacco Research at University of Catania, Italy. He is the author of more than 250 peer reviewed articles and books, covering respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and tobacco addiction. He is also the chief scientific advisor for Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF), the Italian Anti-Smoking League. As one of Europe’s top expert on e-cigarettes, he shares his views on the issues surrounding the regulation of such novel products. Read more [...]

Cedric Villani interview — Scientists are trained to solve difficult problems

They call him the “Lady Gaga of the mathematicians”. And he does not really mind. French mathematician Cedric Villani has become a bit of a pop icon after obtaining the Fields Medal in 2010. This highly prestigious award is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics; except that it is awarded every four years. And it is only destined to people younger than 40. Incidentally, until now, no woman has won it. Read more [...]

European science conversations by the community, for the community