Why territorial RRI

Territorial Responsible Research and Innovation (Territorial RRI) is the idea that RRI principles should be embedded into R&I ecosystems and governance structures at regional and local level. One example of this might, for example, be the establishment of a Gender Equality Committee within a territory’s administration or higher education institutes or integrating RRI principles into a region’s Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3). 

Territoria will contribute to the building of territorial RRI in the 5 territories it covers through its 5 Transformative Experiments. But why? What does society stand to gain from this? 

The benefits of RRI at national and European level are understood to be the improvement of communication and trust between citizenry, government, and R&I actors. For this reason, RRI places strong emphasis on bringing together all 4 helixes of the Quadruple Helix Model of Innovation. Since not everything is decided or developed at (super-)national level, it stands to reason that regions and local areas have their own elements that can be improved through RRI implementation. 

A classic target for this is the regional S3. These were introduced by the European Union’s Cohesion Policy for the enhancement of decision-making and stakeholder involvement in innovation policies at both regional and national level. The regional-level cementing of RRI keys and approaches is thus highly relevant to the process of regional priority-setting and decision-making, as well as to the R&I implementation phase, which all imply a multi-stakeholder approach. 

But above all, territorial R&I strives to make local and regional R&I ecosystems more open and inclusive. In the context of growing scepticism towards science and governance, making R&I more reflective of public needs and expectations and more of a combined effort of society as a whole is a sure-fire way to increase acceptance of it, leading to better outcomes.