While the future of RRI in Horizon Europe is still rather uncertain, it is not as bleak as it appeared in 2019. Several advocates in the ERA have called for higher visibility of RRI in “Horizon Europe”. Moreover, the Orientations towards the first Strategic Plan for Horizon Europe keeps the door open for RRI and even indicates a ’home’ for RRI in Horizon Europe (in Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I system). However, there is still a need to continue to reinforce the importance of RRI and to help show how it can be implemented widely in Horizon Europe.

This is why a group of RRI scholars and practitioners have joined in the effort of supporting the visibility and operationalisation of RRI in “Horizon Europe”. 


RoBUTCHER aims to develop an autonomous Meat Factory Cell (MFC) for the meat processing sector using Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Mechatronics and Co‐operative Human–Robot Interaction. The project outcome will be evaluation and demonstration of prototype cell within an operational pilot facility.

RoBUTCHER is a disruptive concept for the meat sector. For NORSUS, the main goal will be to evaluate social impacts of introducing the Meat Factory Cell concept at the slaughterhouse. The evaluation will be seen in comparison to the conventional slaughter and linear cutting process (today’s system). Social aspects such as working conditions, employment generation, health and safety, equal opportunities, working hour and more, are to be evaluated in order to map the social opportunities and barriers to MFC deployment.

Furthering the application and experience with social life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods in the European meat sector will help in defining key performance indicators feasible for the meat sector and industry. NORSUS is also responsible for organizing focus groups in which slaughterhouse workers interact with the demonstrator. The purpose of these focus groups will be to extract information about user needs, how the system will work in practice (given user experience), how design elements can be adjusted to appear more convenient, safe and efficient for workers, and how computer-operator interfaces can be more user-friendly.

About sustainability

The traditional environmental life cycle assessment, a well-established methodology for evaluating the environmental impacts of the food industry, does not assess the pillar of social sustainability. Therefore, more recently a Social LCA method has been introduced to evaluate social impacts for involved stakeholders.

NORSUS is one of ten partners and NMBU are the project manager.

A peek into the RobUTCHER project

The BREAD project is interested in diagnosing the obstacles for responsible innovation in the food sector and identifying innovation potential that can be unlocked. Our study will be conducted at 3 levels: of policies, firms and on the meeting point of individual consumers and food industry actors. This is reflected in the organization of the project, with 3 Work Packages covering these levels and the fourth aimed at a learning process at Integration. They ask 4 questions:

  1. How can European regulatory experiences enhance responsible innovation in Norway’s food sector?
  2. How can best CSR practices & RRI experiences be scaled-up?
  3. How can consumer perceptions of (co)responsibility in the food sector inform companies responsible innovation?
  4. How to integrate all RRI dimensions to unlock multidirectional learning and food waste reduction innovation?

The project is led by Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo, and Matvett and the REMARC center at the University of Pisa are collaborators, together with NORSUS. More information about the project can be found here (in Norwegian).

Information about the outcomes of the project’s first workshop with companies that have signed the industry agreement on food waste reduction in October 2020 can be found here (only in Norwegian).

RRI-Practice is a 3-year project under Horizon 2020. Its aim is to understand the barriers and drivers to the successful implementation of RRI both in European and global contexts; to promote reflection on organisational structures and cultures of research conducting and research funding organisations; and to identify and support best practices to facilitate the uptake of RRI in organisations and research programmes. The project will review RRI related work in 22 research conducting and research funding organisations and will develop RRI Outlooks outlining RRI objectives, targets and indicators for each organisation.