RRI tools for science shops linked to higher education institutions

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Science Shops


Science education in RRI relates to both informal and formal education and good governance of science requires institutions to take into account the principles and requirements of RRI. There are a number of EU-funded projects e.g. NUCLEUS and HEIRRI exploring ways to integrate RRI into universities and research institutions.

In particular, the EU EnRRICH project looks at how the concept of RRI can be embedded in academic curricula in order to equip students with the competences to respond to societal research needs and become more responsible researchers in the future.

Science shops based within HEIs engage students to conduct research projects for civil society organisations, often as part of their academic curricula, either by incorporating science shops projects in existing courses, by creating specific modules for science shop projects, or by using the science shop project as the subject of a research thesis (BSc, MSc and PhD). Students not only gain research experience but a wide range of additional skills.

Science shops can also help Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) achieve their own priorities and strategies relating to teaching and learning, research and engagement, something that the EU PERARES project (2010-2014) has particularly explored in the context of policy and curriculum development issues within university-based science shops. Science shops are one way in which HEIs can organise and formalise their engagement with society and accomplish RRI. Research and teaching both benefit from stakeholder involvement and addressing issues in a real-world context, and knowledge and experiences gained by academic staff, who act as supervisors for science shop projects, can also help to inform institutional development relating to the RRI agenda.

Here you’ll find resources that demonstrate how RRI can be embedded in higher education via science shops.


… to develop policy and strategy to support RRI  and science shops in HEIs
How to incorporate RRI in higher education institutions provides an overview of how RRI can be embedded into HE institutions with links to further resources.
Sustainability for science shops. A practical guide to developing policy and strategy is a practical handbook produced by the EU PERARES project for Science Shops linked to higher education institutions. It will help users develop policies and strategies supporting the sustainability of such Science Shops by linking to HEI policy priorities and ensuring that policymakers such as funders, political representatives and senior university managers understand and appreciate how Science Shops can help them deliver on their own relevant priorities.

Also, see the PERARES Handbook of models of community engagement strategies in higher education institutions: policy and curriculum development (2013).

The EDGE Tool for institutional reflection on public engagement is a self-assessment questionnaire for universities to help them evaluate their current support for public engagement and identify where they might most effectively target their culture change efforts. Produced by the UK National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), the EDGE Tool aims to trigger discussion and reflection regarding public engagement at the institutional, department, or faculty level.
… to implement RRI in academic curricula
Summary report on policy for rewarding responsible research and innovation through academic curricula in higher education by the EU EnRRICH project on how people working in higher education might, at a policy level, be encouraged to implement Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in their curricula through science shops.
Resources for enhancing RRI understanding and prompting debate on societal issues in the curriculum for early stage students is a 2017 report by the EU EnRRICH project containing case studies to help students reflexively engage with RRI, and on how research and practice within their discipline could incorporate openness and transparency, anticipation and reflection with the research design and innovations processes.