Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a concept under construction. According to René von Schomberg , “a transparent, interactive process by which societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view to the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products (in order to allow a proper embedding of scientific and technological advances in our society)”. RRI seeks the alignment between R+D+I and the societal needs, values and expectations.
The European Commission defined a framework of six key issues for the development of RRI: public engagement, gender equality, science education, ethics, open access and governance. TeRRIFICA will refer to these six key issues and go beyond them, acknowledging the need for RRI to be sustainable within its environment and anticipative of future needs in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) building blocks are:
- Public engagement: in Responsible Research and Innovation is about co-creating the future with citizens and civil society organisations, and also bringing on board the widest possible diversity of actors that would not normally interact with each other, on matters of science and technology.
- Open access: the global shift towards making research findings available free of charge for readers, so-called ‘Open access’, has been a core strategy in the European Commission to improve knowledge circulation and thus innovation. It is illustrated in particular by the general principle for open access to scientific publications in Horizon 2020 and the pilot for research data.
- Gender equality: in Horizon 2020 Gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation.
- Ethics: for all activities funded by the European Union, ethics is an integral part of research from beginning to end, and ethical compliance is seen as pivotal to achieve real research excellence.
- Science education: building capacities and developing innovative ways of connecting science to society is a priority under Horizon 2020. This will help to make science more attractive to young people, increase society’s appetite for innovation, and open up further research and innovation activities.
Climate change and RRI are crosscutting issues, playing on the same ground as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The Sustainable Development Goals (or the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the 17 Global Goals, the Global Goals or simply the Goals) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly: « Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ». That has been shortened to « 2030 Agenda ». These 17 Goals build on the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
TeRRIFICA focuses its territorial RRI approach on climate change adaptation and mitigation, directly addressing specific Sustainable Development Goals, such as Quality Education, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Production and Consumption, Climate Action, Life on Land and Partnerships for the Goals.
Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC).
Climate change adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. Examples of adaptation measures include: using scarce water resources more efficiently; considering fresh air corridors in urban planning to improve the air quality in cities; and setting aside land corridors to help species migrate. Adaptation strategies are needed at all levels of administration: at the local, regional, national, EU and the international level. Due to the varying severity and nature of climate impacts between regions in Europe, most adaptation initiatives will be taken at the regional or local levels. The ability to cope and adapt also differs across populations, economic sectors and regions within Europe.
Climate change mitigation refers to a wide scope of efforts to reduce or even prevent the emission of greenhouse gases. These efforts range from changing consumer behaviour to boosting the efficiency of out-dated equipment to the use of newest technologies and renewable energies. Planning a new city can be a means of mitigation as well as the replacement of an old furnace. This means that mitigation often involves fundamental changes in the way individuals and societies as a whole produce and use energy (Description of Actions).
We define co-creation as the “collaborative development of new value (concepts, solutions, products and services) together with experts and/or stakeholders (such as customers, suppliers etc.). Co-creation is a form of collaborative innovation: ideas are shared and improved together, rather than kept to oneself. It is closely connected to – and mentioned alongside – two other buzz-words: open source and mass-customisation” . The co-creation term is a “living concept” and it can also be understood as “a management initiative, or form of economic strategy, that brings different parties together (for instance, a company and a group of customers), in order to jointly produce a mutually valued outcome”  or “an active involvement and engagement of actors in the production of knowledge that takes place in processes either emerging or being facilitated and designed to accomplish such active involvement” .