The thesis aims at investigating whether the Horizon 2020 programme incorporates the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation and if this is based on the Systems of Innovation approach, including the Triple Helix model and the Regional System of Innovation approach. It is a specific concern to understand on what grounds a policy is based on, as the underlying theory provides details about the aim of a policy. Responsible Research and Innovation is a rather new concept but increasingly used in European Union policies. Therefore Horizon 2020 is evaluated against the background of the Responsible Research and Innovation framework defining Responsible Research and Innovation through six criteria ( ‘engagement of all societal actors’ , ‘gender equality ’ , ‘science education’ , ‘ethics’ , ‘open access’ and ‘governance’ ), which will then be compared to the criteria of the innovation systems. The thesis is based on an exploratory analysis and the data used will be mainly qualitative, comprising scientific literature, as well as policies and communications by the European Union, collected mainly through electronic means. Based on the findings it is concluded that Responsible Research and Innovation is indeed included in the Horizon 2020 programme (all six criteria are mentioned and promoted) proving that the concept is gaining in importance in policies and that this inclusion is effectively based upon the Systems of Innovation approach.