Case Studies

NUCLEUS - Bringing Responsible Research and Innovation to life in universities

University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh.

NUCLEUS develops, supports and implements inclusive and sustainable approaches to Responsible Research and Innovation within the governance and culture of research organisations in Europe. A major goal of the transdisciplinary project will be to stimulate research and innovation which continuously reflects and responds to societal needs.

Led by the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, this consortium involves participation from the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh.


The NUCLEUS approach involves generating a deep understanding of how Responsible Research and Innovation is embedded across Universities today followed by implementing recommendations in several test sites or ‘Nuclei’.

The project has undertaken several Field Trips and a large academic study to understand the current barriers that prevent research organisations from engaging with stakeholders to align research with society’s needs.

The NUCLEUS project also focused on highlighting opportunities for stakeholder engagement and solutions to these barriers. The second stage of the project will see these identified opportunities and solutions be put into practice in 10 institutionalised ‘Nuclei’ and 20 mobile Nuclei.

Through this process of continual learning the project will uncover what works in practice and what policies and practical actions will support making RRI a reality in university and research institutions.

Lessons Learned

The NUCLEUS project is currently in the implementation phase, where the ten institutionalised Nuclei are working with their mentors to put into action the ideas and suggestions that emerged from the study and the “Field Trips”.

Each year the NUCLEUS project hosts a conference where the current status, findings and understandings are shared.

From our own institution's perspective, the NUCLEUS project has further galvanised our reputation as a leading exponent of best practice in Public Engagement.  It complements the remit of the Public Engagement with Research Unit and has helped us to foster meaningful links with other institutions that also champion this emerging area within Higher Education.

You can connect with the project via the website, newsletter and social media.

  • Status
  • Live
  • Project Launch
  • 01 September 2015
  • Project completed
  • 31 August 2019

Case Study Website