ORBIT, the Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT, began as a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded project. It offers services and support to the UK research community, promoting responsible innovation in ICT. In 2020, ORBIT established ORBIT-RRI Ltd, a not-for-profit company, to continue providing services beyond the project’s end.

Started in January 2017 and concluding in January 2022, ORBIT-RRI Ltd operates under a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) structure. The company’s Articles of Association and Members Agreement ensure its not-for-profit status. ORBIT-RRI has five Members: De Montfort University, the University of Oxford, and three directors.

ICT has widespread benefits but presents challenges like privacy issues and security concerns. ORBIT-RRI encourages responsible research and innovation (RRI) to align with societal goals. RRI, defined by von Schomberg, is a transparent, interactive process fostering mutual responsiveness between societal actors and innovators to ensure ethical, sustainable, and socially desirable advancements in technology and science—addressing grand challenges.

Why is Responsible Research important?

RRI holds particular significance for ICT. Unlike certain R&I areas like genetically modified organisms, nuclear power, or nanotechnology, ICT doesn’t trigger widespread concerns. However, ICT significantly influences our lives, and its “logical malleability” emphasises the need for ethical attention (Moor, 1985). ICT’s impact extends as it blurs boundaries between technologies, fostering convergence (Roco & Bainbridge, 2007) and driving R&I in various sectors. Applying RRI to ICT becomes crucial for it to fulfil its potential in addressing grand challenges, emphasising a meta-responsibility.

Advisory Board

Derek McAuley

Rob Procter

Ewa Luger

Shannon Valor

Maria Axente

Leslie Thompson

Jonathan Legh-Smith

Ben Wagner

Abigail Sellen

Jane Hillston

Meet the Team

Martin De Heaver

Managing Director

Bernd Stahl


Marina Jirotka


Serena Dolby

Training Manager

Carolyn Ten Holter


Philip Inglesant