How can we build and promote scientists’ capability to respond and act in a responsible way? A recent paper from the Human Brain Project looks at how responsible research and innovation practices can be promoted and developed through capacity-building activities and what can be learned from our work over the past decade.

The Human Brain Project is committed to responsible research and innovation, often referred to as ‘RRI’.  Implementing this approach across the project requires the knowledge and understanding of both the concept and practice of RRI and the capability to integrate it into everyday activities.

But what is required? According to the authors, RRI capabilities entails obtaining and internalising skills, knowledge, know-how and attitudes that make it possible to apply the core dimensions and principles of RRI, in the planning, development, management and everyday operation of research and innovation. In the Human Brain Project, this effort is reflected in project-wide governance structures, coupled with a capacity building programme, resulting in a legacy of online Ethics & Society training resources, available to anyone who is interested in the concept and practice of RRI.

The paper highlights some of the outcomes of this big capacity-building exercise and the challenge of assessing the impact. The programme builds on the legacy of the Ethics and Society work carried out over the last ten years, promoting

proactive approaches to address the legal, ethical and social issues that arise in the project. The training has provided  resources for foresight, critical and philosophical reflection, public engagement and science communication. increase the knowledge, experience and skills required to work with the RRI approach.

According to the authors, the experience in the Human Brain Project serves as an example of how RRI capabilities can be developed through training and capacity-building activities. But training is not the only avenue. Over the years, RRI capabilities have also been developed through collaborative research activities and governance structures across the project. The training has served to reinforce tacit knowledge that members of the project have gained through interaction and engagement with structures like the Data Governance Working Group, Diversity and Equal Opportunities Committee, Dual Use Working Group, Ethics Rapporteur Programme, and other cross-cutting research tasks.

Want to know more? Take a look at the Human Brain Project’s ethics & society online training resources, or read the Open Access published paper in the Journal of Responsible Technology:

George Ogoh, Simisola Akintoye, Damian Eke, Michele Farisco, Josepine Fernow, Karin Grasenick, Manuel Guerrero, Achim Rosemann, Arleen Salles, Inga Ulnicane, Developing capabilities for responsible research and innovation (RRI), Journal of Responsible Technology, Volume 15, 2023,

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