Responsible Innovation


Responsible Innovation for Research

This Responsible Research and Innovation course equips learners with the concepts and practices required to meet the biggest challenges facing society.


By developing skills in creative problem-solving, public engagement, and ethics, the course offers a foundational understanding of Responsible Research and Innovation (RI). It also provides an introduction to the EPSRC's AREA Framework, with a focus on the Anticipation and Reflection elements.  

Split over 5 weeks plus a reading week, between a live online 3-hour workshop and 15 hours of self-paced online learning, Responsible Innovation Foundations covers the history of responsible innovation; ethics, integrity, inclusivity and diversity, public engagement, and social responsibility.

Who this course is for

This course will be relevant to current PhD or post-graduate students, and you do not need to have prior knowledge of responsible innovation to attend this course.

Course benefits 

  • Access to expert academics through the discussion forums who are more than happy to answer your questions.
  • Self-paced online learning that can be completed at your own pace within the teaching week (with the exception of the live sessions which have set times for attendance).
  • Reflective discussion-based approach that provides you with many opportunities to collaborate with learners from other organisations and sectors.
  • 3-hour live workshop in Week 4 giving you the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have learnt and get feedback from discipline experts.
  • Tailored individual feedback from course tutor(s) with subject expertise throughout the course, as well as detailed feedback on your assessment.
  • Designed with the same rigorous approach we take when developing our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
  • Real-world case studies frame the theory and concepts you are learning.
  • Active learning provides you with the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge you are being taught.

Learner reviews

"I would highly recommend this course to my colleagues and friends, and to anyone interested in thinking further about their ethical and social responsibilities. It really was the best virtual course I have ever taken."
Marie, The Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme for the Ecological Study of the Brain.

I thoroughly enjoyed this learning experience[...] The FutureLearn platform was user-friendly and had great features..."
Caryl, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London.

View more Student testimonials.

Course syllabus 

Week 1:
  • What is Responsible Innovation?  
  • Introduction to the AREA Framework 
  • Introduction to critical reflection 
  • Gendered innovation  
  • Gender biases in research
Week 2:
  • Ethical responsibilities of innovators
  • Professional responsibilities of innovators
  • Social responsibility
  • Hippocratic oath for innovators
Week 3:
  • Reading week – this week is for you to reflect on and consolidate your learning so far. There will be no formal learning activities.

Week 4:
  • Live workshop (live virtual face-to-face session)
  • Who is responsible when innovation goes wrong?  
  • Responsibility in sociotechnical systems 
  • Social values and design 
  • What problems are worth solving?  
  • Visions of the future 

This week also includes a 3-hour live virtual face-to-face session focussed on everything learnt so far.

Week 5 and 6 (Assessment):
  • The course is assessed by a 1000 word reflective statement.
  • The deadline for submission is the end of Week 6 meaning you have two weeks (Weeks 5 and 6) to complete the assessment.
  • To prepare for this, you will build up your writing skills by completing shorter formative assignments throughout Weeks 1-4.
  • There are no scheduled online learning activities or live sessions during these weeks but you will still be able to ask the course tutors any questions you may have.

Accreditation and Certification

  • CPD Certified Logo
    The content of the course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.
  • Pass certificates will be awarded to learners who complete all of the required learning and pass the final assessment. 

Meet your instructors

Responsible Innovation Foundations Programme Director

Dr Stephen Hughes
Dr Stephen Hughes is a Lecturer and Teaching Fellow at UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. He is responsible for the delivery of UCL’s Responsible Innovation programme to 13 EPSRC-funded Centres for Doctoral Training. His research explores cultures of responsibility in research contexts and the role that emotions play in researchers’ conceptions of responsibility.

Entry requirements 

There are no entry requirements for this course and no previous knowledge of Responsible Innovation is needed.  

The course is relevant to anyone working in academia, undertaking research and development in the fields of science, technology, and innovation.


  • Education course fee: £375* 

*This fee is available to all full-time and part-time undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students studying at a UK higher education institution. 

  • If you would like to discuss group enrolments or private course runs please contact us directly.

Book your place


Upcoming start dates:

  • 22nd January 2024

Book your place

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