Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Definitions and Conceptual Dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation: A Literature Review

  • Mirjam BurgetEmail author
  • Emanuele Bardone
  • Margus Pedaste
Review Paper


The aim of this study is to provide a discussion on the definitions and conceptual dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation based on findings from the literature. In the study, the outcomes of a literature review of 235 RRI-related articles were presented. The articles were selected from the EBSCO and Google Scholar databases regarding the definitions and dimensions of RRI. The results of the study indicated that while administrative definitions were widely quoted in the reviewed literature, they were not substantially further elaborated. Academic definitions were mostly derived from the institutional definitions; however, more empirical studies should be conducted in order to give a broader empirical basis to the development of the concept. In the current study, four distinct conceptual dimensions of RRI that appeared in the reviewed literature were brought out: inclusion, anticipation, responsiveness and reflexivity. Two emerging conceptual dimensions were also added: sustainability and care.


Responsible research and innovation Responsible innovation European union research policy Horizon 2020 Research policy Ethics Research governance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirjam Burget
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emanuele Bardone
    • 1
  • Margus Pedaste
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TartuTartuEstonia

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