Responsible Research and Innovation Hub

  Delivering social impact. Social responsibility as the foundation and objective of an excellent university

The Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Hub considers the assumption of social responsibility as the foundation and objective of an excellent university. The hub gives impetus and provides a platform for joint activities at the interface between science and society.



Julia Berg

Project Management


+49 241 80 90631





Marie Decker

Project Management


+49 241 80 90556



The Hub

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) describes a process for a socially responsible and sustainable orientation of research, innovation and teaching. The RRI Hub is based on the model of an integrated and interdisciplinary university with the responsibility to develop technical solutions to global challenges and to train experts who contribute to a sustainable implementation of these solutions in science, economy, civil society and politics.

Based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the RRI Hub aims at a profound cooperation between science and society, which contributes to more mutual transparency and acceptance and from which solutions for complex challenges emerge.

The RRI Hub promotes a diversification of actors engaged in social innovation and sustainable development and develops the image of an open innovation ecosystem. The Hub strengthens regional, decentralized structures and promotes a common discourse on objectives and visions at the strategy level. It deliberately opens up at the trans-regional level in order to strengthen the university's national and international network.

Together with partners from citizenship and local government, the hub will provide meeting and development spaces for social innovation and co-creation between students and city society.



The RRI Hub is part of Measure 5 "Collaborate in Living Labs" of the excellence strategy of RWTH Aachen University, with which the university was awarded as a university of excellence in the third funding round of the federal and state Excellence Initiative.

Funding Period



Subprojects and Measures

Wirkung Hoch 100

Wirkung Hoch 100 | The Responsible Research and Innovation Hub has been awarded as part of the jubilee initiative of the Stifterverband.

Stifterverband focuses its efforts primarily on the fields of education, science and innovation. To date, it is the only organisation in Germany to engage in holistic work in all three areas, with projects that build on one another with synergistic effect. Stifterverband actively promotes equal opportunities in education, excellent universities and internationally competitive research institutions. Its instruments range from extracurricular talent promotion and higher education structural programmes to detailed analyses of the scientific and innovation system that serves as a basis for recommended policy courses of action.

Lehre N – Sustainability as a challenge and opportunity for society

Within the framework of the programme Lehren, the RRI Hub is developing a course in cooperation with representatives of the Aachen University of Applied Sciences and the Catholic University of Aachen, in which Aachen students from all three universities will work on interdisciplinary issues on the topic of "Sustainability as a challenge and opportunity for society" with the support of external actors such as non-profit organisations or municipal representatives. Lehren is a Germany-wide alliance for university teaching, which is funded by the BMBF as well as the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, the Joachim Herz Foundation, the NORDMETALL Foundation, the Stifterverband and the Volkswagen Foundation. The project is funded within the framework of the Teaching Subject Program 2020.

Innovation Hubs @ Campus

Together with 15 other universities from Germany, including CODE University of Applied Science, the Hamburg School of Business Administration, the Hertie School of Governance and TU Berlin, RWTH Aachen University has been awarded as part of the Innovation Hubs@Campus program.

With this program, the Stifterverband and Dieter Schwarz Foundation promote innovation hubs at universities and improve their strategic integration into university development. The overriding goal is to strengthen the role of universities in regional innovation ecosystems. A central element of the program is also the "Innovation Club". It is intended to establish a sustainable network of innovation actors from higher education institutions that will have an impact on the higher education landscape beyond the funding programme.

Mefferdatisstrasse – A Meeting and Development Space

Within the framework of the project Altstadtquartier Büchel, the hub supports the joint development of four former shops in Mefferdatisstrasse as a meeting and development location for social innovation and sustainable regional development. The project "Altstadtquartier Büchel" is one of the central projects of Aachen's inner city development. The lead management is in the hands of the City of Aachen and the Stadtentwicklungsgesellschaft Aachen GmbH und Co KG (SEGA). A cross-departmental Büchel project team has been set up in the administration. A utilisation concept is currently being developed under the keywords "brilliance", "frequency" and "values". At the same time, the framework conditions for the development are being clarified and preparations are being made for demolition of the multi-storey car park.

#17Goals - Festival of Deeds

In cooperation with the #17Ziele team at Engagement Global, the hub is preparing a regional version of the "Festival der Taten" (festival of actions). The "Festival der Taten" brings together up to 500 young people and develops socially innovative ideas and sustainable solutions to current challenges in small teams. Engagement Global provides information on current projects and initiatives in Germany and around the world, advises individuals and groups on development policy projects and provides financial support. It provides needs-based training, connects people and institutions, supports civil society and community involvement, private sponsors and institutions.


Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals 9 and 11 Copyright: © UN

The activities within the RRI Hub focus on SDGs 9 and 11 by promoting a socially responsible and sustainable orientation of research, innovation and teaching. In the spirit of an open innovation ecosystem, a cooperation between science and civil society is facilitated, e.g. by providing the local urban society and students with living lab spaces to meet and experiment.

Explore all teaching and research activities at GDI concerning these goals:

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities