Leveraging Leadership for Responsible Research and Innovation in Territories

Providing an insightful perspective on RRI in territories

The responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach anticipates and evaluates the potential effects and societal expectations regarding research and innovation. A major premise of the RRI approach is that different societal actors (researchers, policy makers, civil society organisations, businesses, individual citizens, etc.) work together throughout the entire research and innovation cycle with the intention to attain better alignment of both processes and outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. RRI comprises five thematic elements: public engagement, open access, gender equality, ethics and science education. This framework can be extended by adding four dimensions of RRI governance: anticipation, inclusiveness, responsiveness and reflexivity.

Contributing to this field, the EU-funded RRI-LEADERS project investigates the application and sustainability of RRI within territorial research and innovation systems. To do this, the project's consortium focuses on four European territories, which differ in terms of their cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, territorial oversight, institutional and decision-making infrastructures, R&I landscapes, and dynamics among territorial actors. As such, the four territories represent a diverse range of opportunities and implications for RRI, which will enable the RRI-LEADERS consortium to engage in a multi-stage co-creation process that will mobilise territorial quadruple helix stakeholders towards the elaboration of future-oriented strategy and action plans – territorial outlooks for each of the participating territories for application of RRI as a guiding framework in territorial governance of R&I. The Consortium will further use the accumulated knowledge to provide an evolutionary perspective on RRI for the upcoming Horizon Europe programme.


Geographical focus: Municipality of Sofia (Bulgaria), Municipality of Thalwil (Switzerland), City of Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain), region of Western Macedonia (Greece).

Thematic foci:

  • Support for innovations; digital transition; youth employment & entrepreneurship; sustainable urban development (Municipality of Sofia)
  • Post-coal transition (region of Western Macedonia)
  • Active ageing, intelligent design applied to industry & circular economy (City of Sabadell)
  • Energy transition & sustainability (Municipality of Thalwil).

What is in it for the Western Balkans?

The project’s outputs are open access: https://www.rri-leaders.eu/publications/. Most of these outputs can serve as inspiration and guidance to sub-national territorial units in the Western Balkans (regions, municipalities, cities) on how first to review and evaluate the existing practices and policies that have already integrated or have the potential to integrate the RRI approach, and later to develop their own transformative outlooks for the uptake of RRI as a territorial leadership framework. For example, the report "Map on stakeholder relationships and interdependencies and report on stakeholder needs, interests, power and influence" includes inspiring good practices from the regions covered by the project. “Report on the RRI policy discourse in the involved territories” provides a summary on the findings regarding the embeddedness of the RRI and AIRR (Anticipation, Inclusiveness, Reflexivity, Responsiveness) approaches in the territorial policies based on documentary analysis, interviews and a participatory workshop, identifying opportunities/areas for integration of the RRI approach in the selected territorial policy areas. “Territorial RRI Audit Reports” highlight a number of interesting and sometimes surprising commonalities and differences in the state-of-play concerning the embeddedness, relevance and potential of RRI approach in the policy processes of the four participating territories, and present policy recommendations that might be applicable also in the Western Balkan countries.

Grant agreement ID: 101006439


Project type
  • H2020
Country of the coordinating institution
Geographical focus
  • H2020
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • General
January 2021 - December 2023

Entry created by Elke Dall on June 1, 2022
Modified on June 9, 2022