Over the last decade, the Human Brain Project Building has used structured and strategic approaches to embed responsible research and innovation (RRI) practices across the project. The efforts to curate the legacy of this work includes the development an online RRI toolkit. A recent paper explores whether this kind of toolkit can help embed the legacy of RRI activities in a large research project, and what is needed to ensure it has a role to play.

The impact of the ethical, social and reflective work in the Human Brain Project is visible in governance structures, how we manage and handle data, in publications and communications. It is also shared in different online resources, including an online Ethics & Society toolkit. This toolkit is the starting point for the discussion on RRI legacy in Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics. The paper is authored by Bernd Stahl, ethics director of the Human Brain Project and Lise Bitsch, who has led the project’s responsible research and innovation work stream for the past three years.

In the paper, they discuss toolkits as legacy in relation to how well it can help embed the legacy of RRI activities in a project. They conclude that an RRI toolkit can play an important role in preserving RRI legacy, but this can only be realised, if organisational structures, funding arrangement and other support are in place to retain this legacy.

For projects who are considering developing similar tools, Lise Bitsch and Bernd Stahl also describe the process of designing and developing the toolkit. Even though this particular toolkit is designed to integrate insights and practises of responsible research and innovation in the Human Brain Project, there are lessons to be learned for other efforts to ensure acceptability, desirability and sustainability of processes and outcomes of research and innovation activities.

In addition to the Ethics & Society toolkit, our work has been published in journals, shared on the Ethics Dialogues blog and the HBP Society Twitter handle, offering more opportunities to engage and discuss in the EBRAINS community Ethics & Society space. The capacity building efforts carried out for the project and EBRAINS research infrastructure have been developed into an online ethics & society training resource, and the work with gender and diversity has resulted in a toolkit for equality, diversity and inclusion in project themes and teams has resulted in a second toolkit.

Read the paper by Bernd Carsten Stahl and Lise Bitsch: Building a responsible innovation toolkit as project legacy, Front. Res. Metr. Anal., 13 March 2023, Sec. Research Policy and Strategic Management, Volume 8 – 2023, https://doi.org/10.3389/frma.2023.1112106

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