The EPSRC CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation for the Life Sciences (ICB CDT) takes its commitment to Responsible Research and Innovation very seriously.

What is Responsible Research and Innovation?

With the huge advances seen in recent decades in science, technology and innovation, from the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique to augmented and virtual realities technologies, come new risks and ethical dilemmas.  Concurrent to the numerous positive impacts that research and innovation can have on society and the environment, science and technology sometimes fail to solve the problems that they set out to address but instead can evoke controversy.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) stives to ensure that, in pursuit of new research and the discovery of innovative technology and applications, comes the parallel anticipation of unintended consequences and the potential impact of the research and innovation on society. Moreover, societal involvement is key to this responsibility, ensuring that stakeholders are empowered to help shape and create the kind of world wanted for the future. 

EPSRC has committed to develop and promote responsible research and innovation: "As a public funder of research, we have a responsibility to ensure that our activities and the research we fund, are aligned with the principles of Responsible Innovation, creating value for society in an ethical and responsible way"

The ICB CDT incorporates RRI from the studentship proposal process right through to the RRI workshops delivered to students throughout their doctoral studies.

Our bespoke training programme is facilitated by both in-house and external experts in science and technology studies, research ethics, public engagement, and postgraduate professional development. 

Entry Year 1 

Responsible Research and Innovation Retreat: a four day residential retreat where students are introuced to the overarching concepts in RRI and have the opportunity to network with their cohort and RRI experts.

The retreat provides an introduction to RRI, the AREA framework and interactive workshop activities and debates covering all aspects of responsible innovation: 

  • Ethics 
  • Impact 
  • In academia 
  • Negotiation 
  • Public engagement

What our students said about the RRI retreat:

"I thought about my research with a different and broader perspective; also, that our research can give rise to unintended consequences that we don't tend to think about as we are usually too focused on the positives. I learned that you need to be able to detach from your research and see the bigger picture."

"The extended time away, rather than 9-6 lectures on campus gave time to get to know the cohort and hear more about each other's research and the challenges faced in academia/being a 1st year phd. It is also provided a safe and encouraging space to develop communication skills, such as negotiation skills and public speaking skills. I also didn't realise how many different organisations there were at Imperial that were dedicated to engaging with the public etc - it was very interesting to hear from a broad range of people!"

"Definitely thinking more about unintended consequences, and increasing engagement with relevant public. I also want to put more thought in how research can affect government, which I personally place quite a high emphasis on"

"It brought to light just how much our design choices/creations are influenced by who we are as individuals and our morals/values"

Entry Year 2 

Responsible Research and Innovation refresher, focusing on ethics in research and innovation 

Entry Year 3 

Responsible Research and Innovation refresher, focusing on societal responsibility and public engagement 

Entry Year 4 

Responsible Research and Innovation refresher, focusing on research impact