Moving from constraints to openings, from red lines to new frames in Horizon 2020

Specific Challenge

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is cutting across Horizon 2020. RRI is a package aiming to better engage society across all Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation activities. Nevertheless it is not immediately clear what the issues are in the various parts of Horizon 2020 and how they can be best addressed. The definition or characterisation of RRI is rather too open and this creates difficulties to operationalize it directly in each of the parts of Horizon 2020. This has also to do with the fact that RRI works out differently in different domains and for different industrial and societal challenges.

Furthermore, eventual desirable outcomes of RRI depend just as much on what is happening overall, also in the Member States, than what can be done within the confines of Horizon 2020. Still, Horizon 2020 activities can play a leading role, through articulating an evidence-based diagnosis, storyline or narrative for each of its parts, and through taking up and further developing approaches and tools, including training tools.


Applicants will select experts from different parts of Horizon 2020, project coordinators and participants as well as representatives of the main stakeholders with a view to engage together to compare experiences and identify opportunities to develop RRI in the various parts of Horizon 2020.

An RRI diagnosis will be developed for each of the parts of Horizon 2020, including substantial issues of science and technology developments, processes and institutions, as well as relevant societal aspects. Each part should try and formulate actions and activities to address items from the diagnosis (which might include work to improve the diagnosis). This will be articulated as a 'storyline' or a 'narrative' about overall present and future developments, which would then lead to identifying RRI aspects and activities specific to the different Horizon 2020 parts.

The work on the diagnoses, for each part of Horizon 2020, should lead to suggestions for further work, including RRI work (activities and studies). It will also be an occasion to adapt training tools as available today (e.g. RRI-TOOLS, FOSTER, not excluding others) to the specific situation of each part of Horizon 2020, so as to be more effective in reaching and supporting stakeholders. These training tools will be tested in the specific scientific and societal fields considered. They will be practical, engaging, and outcome-oriented. The online didactic material and training toolkits will be made available free of charge/open access for re-use linked with existing online material.

Sophisticated public engagement, including co-creation, will be one important set of tools for the present topic. It can also be interesting to explore the notion of ‘society-readiness level’, just as there is use of a notion of 'technology-readiness level' (TRL). The actual practices of using TRL can be somewhat limited, considering that TRLs are eventually always socio-technical, i.e. include economic and social (and sometimes political) readiness.

Good embedding practices can be drawn from the Horizon 2020 work programmes 2014-15 as well as from other similar public funding programmes at any governance level (i.e. international, national, regional or local levels) in Europe and beyond. Integration of the global dimension will be a must.

To address this specific challenge, proposals should have a wide geographical coverage. It is therefore expected that consortia would include at least entities from 10 different Member States or Associated Countries, although smaller consortia will also be eligible and may be selected.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 6.8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

Expected Impact

'Storylines' or 'narratives' developed in relation to the various parts of Horizon 2020 will allow RRI to be an integral part of a more coherent Work Programme in Horizon 2020. They will impact as well on the relevant stakeholder communities as well as in the European Research Area and beyond.

Application date
Social sciences