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Responsible Research and Innovation: From Science in Society to Science for Society, with Society


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The term responsible (research and) innovation has gained increasing EU policy relevance in the last two years, in particular within the European Commission’s Science in Society programme, in the context of the Horizon 2020 Strategy. We provide a brief historical overview of the concept, and identify three distinct features that are emerging from associated discourses. The first is an emphasis on the democratic governance of the purposes of research and innovation and their orientation towards the ‘right impacts’. The second is responsiveness, emphasising the integration and institutionalisation of established approaches of anticipation, reflection and deliberation in and around research and innovation, influencing the direction of these and associated policy. The third concerns the framing of responsibility itself in the context of research and innovation as collective activities with uncertain and unpredictable consequences. Finally, we reflect on possible motivations for responsible innovation itself.
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Responsible Research and Innovation: from Science in Society to Science for Society, with
Richard Owen1, Phil Macnaghten2 and Jack Stilgoe1
1 University of Exeter Business School, U.K.
2 Department of Geography, University of Durham, U.K.
The term responsible (research and) innovation has gained increasing policy relevance in the last two
years, in particular within the European Commission’s Science in Society programme, framed within the
EU Horizon 2020 initiative. We provide a brief historical overview of the concept, and identify three
distinct features that are emerging from associated discourses. The first is an emphasis on the democratic
governance of the purposes of research and innovation, steering these towards the ‘right impacts’ that are
anchored in societal values. The second focuses on responsiveness, emphasising the institutionalisation and
integration of established approaches of anticipation, reflection and deliberation in and around research
and innovation in such a way that it influences the direction of these and associated policy. The third
concerns the framing of the concept of responsibility itself in the context of research and innovation as
collective activities with uncertain and unpredictable consequences. We conclude by reflecting on the
motivations for responsible innovation itself, asserting that it must be conducted for substantive and
normative reasons, rather than an instrumental approach to expedite the meeting of pre-defined policy
Introduction: the emergence of responsible innovation in EU policy discourse
The terms ‘responsible innovation’ and ‘responsible research and innovation’ have a recent history
stretching back over the last decade (e.g. Hellstrom,2003; Guston, 2006; Owen et al 2009a; Owen and
Goldberg, 2010, von Schomberg,2011 a;b; Lee, 2012; Armstrong et al, 2012), and even further if cognate
terms and synonyms relating to it such as ‘responsible development’ are included ((NNI 2004; National
Research Council 20061; Fisher and Rip, in press). Indeed, these terms are heirs to even earlier
discussions concerning the ethical, legal and social implications of (e.g. genomic) research, and research
integrity. They also evolve from historical visions for collaborations between social, natural and physical
scientists to address the wider dimensions of science and innovation early on, visions that can be traced
decades back in policy discourse, for example through the 5th and 6th European Union (EU) Framework
programme and its calls for socio-technical integration (Rodriguez et al, in press).
It is however over the last two years that the concept of responsible research and innovation (hereafter,
RRI) has gained particular visibility and traction in an EU, and specifically European Commission (EC)
policy context. Evolving from discourses of socio-technical integration within and beyond the EC
Science in Society programme, it may in part reflect recognition of the limitations of extant policy
approaches to managing ethically problematic innovations such as GMOs (Grove-White et al, 2000),
synthetic biology (TNS-BRMB,2000), geoengineering (Royal Society, 2009) and ICT (von Schomberg,
2011a), coupled with an increasing awareness of the global (and intergenerational) impacts of complex
innovations in modern society (Jonas, 1984, Adam and Groves, 2011), of which innovations in the
financial sector are one notable recent example (Mackenzie, 2010, Armstrong et al, 2011l Muniesa and
1!!Which states ’Responsible development of nanotechnology can be characterized as the balancing of efforts to
maximize the technology’s positive contributions and minimize its negative consequences… It implies a
commitment to develop and use technology to help meet the most pressing human and societal needs…while
making every reasonable effort to anticipate and mitigate adverse implications or unintended consequences.’
Lenglet, in press2). These have catalysed an increasing willingness at a policy level to discuss, challenge
and rethink linear models of science policy and the social contract for science (in which scientific
freedom is exchanged for the promise or expectation of socially – beneficial impacts) and risk-based
regulation as a predominant innovation governance paradigm (Owen et al, 2009b; Owen et al, in press).
This has also been fuelled on one hand by a continuing angst concerning the dilemma of control for
emerging technologies (Collingridge, 1980; RCEP, 2008) (and how to proceed under conditions of
uncertainty and ignorance), and on the other by angst concerning the public value of science, the need to
demonstrate research ‘impact’ (Kearnes and Weinroth, 2011), and the place of public participation in
both setting research agendas, and modulating research trajectories towards socially-desirable ends (e.g.
Fisher et al, 2006; Jones, 2008). Questions of purpose, values-sensitive design (van den Hoven et al,
2012), ethics (von Schomberg, 2007), social desirability, social acceptability and governance (Karinen and
Guston, 2010) have all coalesced around an emerging zeitgeist for ‘responsible innovation’ that may
seem to intuitively feel right, but which exhibits a lack of clarity in terms of definition, practice and (at a
policy level) motivation.
The public emergence of RRI in EU policy discourse is a recent phenomenon. It was in May 2011 that
the first public statements emerged indicating its significance at an EU policy level. The first of these was
at a workshop held 16-17 May, 2011 at DG Research in Brussels and attended by a number of experts
drawn from academia and policy (EC, 2011). Opening the meeting, Octavi Quintana, Director of the
European Research Area, stated:
‘We need your help to define responsible research and innovation. After several years of research
on the relation between science and society, we evidenced that we need to involve civil society
very upstream to avoid misunderstanding and difficulties afterwards…. We cannot guarantee the
social acceptability for anything but the more we have dialogue the easier it is to understand the
potential obstacles and to work on them…Your advice is important to help us build a policy
for the years to come, notably for the Common Strategic Framework that will begin its life in
2014 and for the European Research Area’’ (ERA).
The purpose of the event, to reflect on and develop a shared understanding of the meaning of RRI, was
clear. As was its significance: to formulate policy recommendations that would support the development
and implementation of a policy underpinned by the concept across the ERA. Although the motivations
at an EU policy level were unclear, it was evident that responsible innovation was important to the
Commission, at least in sentiment, and that we were being asked to reflect and advise on what it meant,
and how it might be defined (Sutcliffe, 2011).
By co-incidence, a week later on the 23-34 May 2011, an international workshop on the theme
‘Responsible Innovation’ was also held at the French Embassy, London3. This too brought experts and
policy makers together to discuss the concept, building on emerging work in a number of countries
including the UK, Holland and the US. This work itself builds on decades of complimentary study in
fields of technology assessment (Rip et al,1995; Schott and Rip, 1996; Guston and Sarewitz, 2002;
anticipatory governance (Karinen and Guston, 2010), socio-technical integration and ‘midstream
modulation’ (Fisher et al, 2006; Fisher, 2007; Schuurbiers and Fisher, 2009; McGregor and Wetmore,
2009) and public and stakeholder engagement (Stirling, 2005; Wilsdon et al, 2005; Sykes and
Macnaghten, in press). Again, the purpose of the workshop was to come to a common understanding
and definition of responsible innovation, discuss how it might differ from what has come before, and
2 For example asset-backed securities collaterised debt obligations.
what it might involve in practice. Would this emerge as a genuinely transformative and even novel
approach to governing science and innovation or would it merely be a repackaging of existing concepts
to smooth the pathway for pre-defined policy goals?
It was at this meeting that the EC signalled more concrete intentions. First, Gilles Laroche (Head of the
Science in Society Programme) announced that the EC would fund a programme of research and co-
ordination within the remaining period of the 7th Framework Programme on RRI, to include projects
developing governance frameworks; that an expert group with the same title would be established to
advise the EC; that the EC would seek an Opinion from the European Group of Ethics ; and that it
would seek to develop a recommendation on RRI for the ERA, including a possible ‘soft law’ initiative
(Laroche, 2011). Reflecting on the fact that ‘The societal perception and impacts of technology are
difficult (impossible) to predict’ he stated that ‘early societal intervention may enable anticipation of
positive and negative impacts’. The goals, to develop a European model of RRI, would need to be based
on the principle of inclusiveness, involving all actors at an early stage (researchers, civil society
organisations, industry and policy makers), allowing innovation to be developed in a co-building mode
that ‘ensures co-responsibility’. This would herald a transformation from science in society to ‘science for
society, with society’ (Laroche, 2011).
It was also at this meeting that a paper was circulated by Rene von Schomberg from the European
Commission outlining his emerging philosophical thinking (von Schomberg, 2011b). This included a
thoughtful discussion concerning the normative targeting of research and innovation towards the ‘right
impacts’, anchored within the values articulated within the EU Treaty, more of which we will consider
presently. It also included a proposal for a working definition:
‘’Responsible Research and Innovation is a transparent, interactive process by which societal
actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view on the (ethical)
acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable
products( in order to allow a proper embedding of scientific and technological advances in our
society)’’ (von Schomberg, 2011b)
There have been at least seven international workshops of varying sizes over the last 18 months on the
topic of responsible innovation (Fisher and Rip, in press), reflecting growing momentum in both
academic and EU policy contexts. One of the more notable of these was held under the auspices of the
Danish presidency of the EU: a conference on Science and Society in Europe, with the subtitle,
‘Responsible Research and Innovation’. Opening the conference, Morten Østergaard, the Danish
Minister for Science and Education, re-emphasised the evolving ambition at a policy level to support
“the best science for the world” and not just “the best science in the world”. Presenting via video-link,
EU Commissioner Mary Geoghegan –Quinn provided the first tangible evidence of high level EC policy
support for the concept (Geoghegan-Quinn, 2012). Framing the RRI concept as one supporting the EU
Horizon 2020 Strategy, she stated:
‘ to overcome the current economic crisis we need to create a smarter, greener economy where
prosperity will come from research and innovation… In the search for prosperity, jobs and a
better life for everyone, research, innovation and new technologies present us with many
different choices and many possible paths to follow…..Researchers, policy makers, business
people, innovators and most of all, the general public, have difficult choices to make as regards
how science and technology can help tackle our different societal challenges… we can only find
the right answers by involving as many stakeholders as possible in the research and innovation
process. Research and innovation must respond to the needs and ambitions of society,
reflect its values and be responsible...our duty as policy makers (is) to shape a
governance framework that encourages responsible research and innovation’’
(Geoghegan-Quinn, 2012, bolded text as in original statement)
The more instrumental EU policy framing of RRI within the Horizon 2020 Strategy 4was re-enforced by
EC Deputy Head of Cabinet Waldemar Kutt at a panel presentation at the Euroscience Open Forum
meeting, July 2012 in Dublin, Eire entitled ‘Can Responsible Research and Innovation expedite Europe’s
economic renewal? At face value this presentation, and the goals of the strategy to support economic
growth, jobs and strengthened economic governance may appear to frame RRI as being narrowly, and
instrumentally, motivated to support the delivery of a pre-committed policy (largely framed in terms of
economic growth). Quite apart from the fact that the Strategy has other important targets for innovation
beyond economic growth, the language of RRI at this meeting and others before it involving the EC
(often convened under the Science in Society programme) has in fact been more nuanced and more
ambiguous. This ambiguity may reflect a range of motivations in different parts and at different levels of
the EC. These may include a desire to reposition the Science in Society programme within the Horizon
2020 initiative in the face of budgetary pressures. It certainly reflects a desire in some parts of the EC to
expedite and support the meeting of the Horizon 2020 policy goal. But it may also reflect less
instrumental motivations by those who envisage a more normative and substantive process that naturally
builds on decades of research and messages emerging from the fields of science and technology studies,
philosophy and beyond.
Overall RRI has (at least in sentiment) positive, constructive overtones, where science and innovation
are envisaged as being directed at, and undertaken towards socially desirable and socially acceptable ends,
through a dynamic and inclusive process that offers both opportunities for innovation as well as
opportunities for flexible control before technological ‘lock – in’ (Collingridge, 1980). As a term it seems
hard to argue against – few would argue for irresponsible research and innovation. But beyond this
sentiment, what features can we distil from the emerging discourse of RRI in both academic and policy
circles? And can this approach be of practical value (and implementable at an EU – wide level) given the
reality of innovation as a complex, messy, collective and deeply uncertain phenomenon, where
irresponsibility is a manifestation of such complexity (what Beck, 1995 described as ‘organised
Our brief overview suggests that RRI is a rapidly evolving concept accompanied by confusion as to
motivation, theoretical conceptualisation and translation into practice: in this regard it exhibits traits
common to many innovations in their early stages. As with any innovation, its purpose(s), process and
products are still shrouded in uncertainty. But even so, we can identify some distinct features, locating
these in the context of earlier concepts, some of which we have already highlighted above. We now
identify three features of RRI that we suggest are emergent from the evolving discourse. One of these is
the call for reflection and deliberation not only on the uncertain products of science and innovation -
products which in the fullness of time we have been asked in the past as a society to accept or reject in
the face of norms and values- but on the very purposes of science and innovation itself, before the
innovation journey has begun: why do it, who will benefit and how? In this regard, it is perhaps timely
that we collectively reflect on the purposes of RRI as an innovation itself: we conclude with our own
reflections in this regard.
(page 5: ‘introduction of new specific objective: 'Responsible research and innovation’.
Three emerging features of Responsible Research and Innovation
a) Science for society: democratising the governance of intent
The first emerging feature of contemporary RRI discourse we suggest is one that concerns itself with the
purposes of science and innovation, and the underlying motivations and intentions for these. It seeks to
consider not only what we do not want science and innovation to do – a well known and well
documented pre-occupation with characterising and managing unintended risks (the latter often through
regulation) – but what we do want it to do. It asks how the targets for innovation can be identified in an
ethical, inclusive, democratic and equitable manner. It moves beyond the ‘closing down’ framing of
conventional ethical review, limited in scope as it is to research conduct involving people, animals and
genetic material. It has a primary purpose to democratically define and realise new areas of public value
for innovation (Wilsdon et al, 2005).!It asks for inclusive deliberation concerning the direction of travel
for science and innovation, from the outset, opening up opportunities for these to be directed towards
socially – desirable ends. This immediately opens up a tension between the principle of participation and
that of scientific freedom, one that is hardly new but is of particular relevance to RRI. This in turn
prompts an important question concerning when (i.e. how far upstream) such participation should be
encouraged and supported.
For innovation this tension may be less keenly felt. Indeed, the involvement of users and other
stakeholders in innovation, whether this is described as market driven or open innovation
(Chesborough, 2003), and the acknowledged value of this in new product development and beyond is
hardly new. And in the domain of science, one can already witness experiments involving participatory
agenda setting and values-sensitive design within research programmes across the EU (e.g. in The
Netherlands5 (van der Hoven et al, 2012) and the UK (Jones, 2008). The Altzheimers’s Society in the
UK for example has a research network of some 200 carers and people with dementia who help set
research priorities, prioritise grant applications and sit on grant selection panels6.
More broadly, the realisation of economic and social value has long been a considered responsibility of
scientific institutions (Guston, 2006), morphing as it has into the concept of science to meet societal
challenges (Lund Declaration, 2009, Kearnes and Wienroth, 2011). An increasing requirement to
articulate societal and economic ‘impact’ has become a condition of funding even ‘blue skies’, curiosity -
driven research in many countries. This feature of RRI – science for society- is perhaps then a natural
evolution of an existing trend towards challenge-led science and innovation, with a framing that is
broader than generating commercial value. What one senses is a desire for a more institutionalised and
consistently -applied approach that is inclusive and values-based (or at least values-sensitive), in which
the principle of participatory agenda setting, for example through the involvement of publics and
stakeholders in the formulation of grand challenges, is embedded in science and innovation policy and
its delivery as part of a more generalised management framework, at a pan - European scale.
The RRI definition proposed above, and the statements made at an EU policy level, place a premium on
inclusive participation that allows the setting of research and innovation goals, defined in terms of the
‘right impacts’, which are themselves anchored in societal values. The obvious question then becomes,
what are the ‘right impacts’ of research and innovation, and what values should these be anchored in?
Von Schomberg (2011a,b) suggests that we cannot aspire to the abstract ideals of the Aristotelian ‘good
life’ (however contested these may be), and takes a more pragmatic view that, at least in a European
context, the ‘right impacts’ are those enshrined in the European Constitution, such as economic growth,
5!Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren (Responsible Innovation) programme run by the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
jobs and competiveness, quality of the environment and sustainable development. Meeting these he
asserts, should be achieved in a way that is ethically acceptable, socially desirable, safe and sustainable
(von Schomberg, in press). In combination such targets for innovation clearly embed complex dilemmas
and areas of contestation. Some will be in direct opposition to one another. The Horizon 2020 strategy
features a number of high level ‘societal challenges’, to be tackled through science and innovation. These
include not only economic growth and jobs, but climate change, developing sustainable transport and
mobility, making renewable energy more affordable, ensuring food safety and security, or coping with
the challenge of an ageing population. Which should be given more emphasis?
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF, 2012) for example considers the right impacts for innovation as being
dematerialisation (i.e. products, services or processes that dramatically cut the use of natural resources),
restorative (i.e. innovations that contribute to net positive environmental impacts and the restoration of
biodiversity and the environment, open loop (where waste from products is turned back into resource) and
renewable energy and low carbon. Here there is an explicit prioritisation of the targets for innovation to those
that decouple growth from environmental impacts, protect and restore ecosystems and lead to 100%
renewable energy future by 2050 (WWF,2011). One might extend these to argue that any process of
responsible innovation that serves to target innovation at those ‘right impacts’ which support the
increasingly unsustainable grand Capitalist project of modernity in the face of exponential population
growth, deepening inequality, increasing resource scarcity, global environmental degradation and the
exceedance of planetary boundaries may, in the longer term, be viewed as an irresponsible innovation in
Irrespective of one’s own view, it is clear that the negotiation of the ‘right impacts’ of innovation is a
political discussion, involving considerations of power, democracy and equity, and suggests that RRI will
always embed a strongly political dimension if it is to involve the governance of intent. Negotiating and
prioritising such a constellation of ‘right impacts’ will have difficult ethical dimensions and embed
significant dilemmas. It suggests the need for substantive processes of inclusive reflection and
deliberative democracy, supported by mechanisms of anticipation that describe the uncertain translation
of values through to visions of impact. It is the aspiration to institutionally-embed such integrated
processes in such a way that deliberation and reflection can be coupled to action (i.e. responsiveness)
that is a second emerging feature of RRI.
b) Science with society: institutionalising responsiveness
As with the first feature of the emerging RRI discourse, the second may also arguably be considered as
being evolutionary in nature. It emphasises the integration and institutionalisation of established
mechanisms of reflection, anticipation, and inclusive deliberation in and around the processes of
research and innovation (Owen et al, in press; Stilgoe et al, submitted).We describe these dimensions in
terms of a need to a) anticipate: describing and analysing intended and potentially unintended impacts that
might arise, be these economic, social, environmental or otherwise, supported by methodologies that
include those of foresight, technology assessment and scenario development. These not only serve to
analyse promissory narratives of expectation but to explore other pathways to other impacts, to prompt
‘what if...’ questions (Guston, in press); b) ethically reflect on underlying purposes, motivations and
potential impacts, what is known (including those areas of regulation or other forms of governance that
currently exist) and what is not known, associated uncertainties, risks, areas of ignorance, assumptions,
questions and dilemmas and c) inclusively open up such reflection to broad, collective deliberation through
processes of dialogue, engagement and debate, inviting and listening to wider perspectives from publics
and diverse stakeholders.
We have brought these three dimensions together to construct a framework for responsible innovation,
stressing the need for this to be an iterative and flexible process of adaptive learning. But individually
these dimensions are hardly new, building for example on concepts of anticipatory governance,
technology assessment in its various forms and public engagement – all well known to scholars in
science and technology studies. It might be argued that their integration represents a degree of novelty,
but socio-technical integration also has a history in EU policy discourse, including the structuring and
delivery of the EU Framework Programme (to varying degrees); (Rodriguez et al, in press) and more
recent initiatives such as those funded within the US NNI programme (Fisher, 2007). And integration is
a key feature of concepts of real – time and constructive technology assessment (which aims to broaden
technological design, development and embedding in society by including more actors, and to use
insights from such actors to modulate technological dynamics).
It is the institutionalised coupling of such integrated processes of anticipation, reflection and inclusive
deliberation to policy and decision-making processes – i.e. the dimension of responsiveness - that is an
important contribution that RRI makes. Over the past several decades there has been a proliferation of
public engagement activities concerning science and new technologies, from citizens’ juries to consensus
conferences. But this has too often been detached from policymaking, which has not been responsive
(see Macnaghten and Chilvers,2012). Social scientists and public engagement practitioners have too
often been drawn into a pre-occupation with the processes of public engagement at the expense of a
questioning of its purposes (Stirling, 2005; Marris and Rose, 2010) and how science and innovation can
change as a consequence – how it can look different in response (Stilgoe et al, forthcoming).
Responsiveness is a dimension that is evident in recent academic experiments involving the ‘midstream
modulation’ of scientific trajectories described by Fisher and others within the field of nanosciences, in
which the introduction of social scientists and humanists catalyses reflection and the modulation of
research trajectories (Fisher and Rip, in press). There are numerous ways to enact the dimension of
responsiveness, from Fisher’s ‘governance from within’ to more formalised processes of innovation
stage gating that we have recently explored in the controversial area of geoengineering. Here the
application of the responsible innovation framework directly impacted on research- in this case the
decision to undertake the first publicly funded field trial of a controversial solar radiation management
engineering system (Macnaghten and Owen, 2011), with material influence on decisions regarding the
progression and direction of this field of research, at least in the UK. These experiences have also
illustrated the need for any RRI approach to be instigated from the initial definition and inception of a
research programme, which must be then be multidisciplinary in its construction, resourcing and
c) Reframing responsibility
The emerging concept of RRI confers new responsibilities not only on scientists, universities, innovators
and businesses, but also on policy makers and research funders. How are grand challenges to be defined?
How can they be responsive in their delivery? When should such an approach be used? And at what
level (for example with every project, or at a thematic programme level)? How can emerging ‘reflexive
capital’ be communicated to national and international policy making at a governmental level and
beyond, particularly in contentious and controversial areas of science and technology? These are
responsibilities that require reflection, including at the European Commission itself, on the funding and
delivery of science and innovation programmes. Awareness of such responsibilities is developing.
Responding to a public dialogue in the UK concerning synthetic biology, David Delpy (the Chief
Executive of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) stated:
’Research Councils have a responsibility to scrutinize the potential impacts and risks of
emerging technologies, and encourage the researchers we fund to do likewise.... The challenge
will be to define an approach that promotes creativity and innovation in research underpinned by
a commitment to its responsible development’’. (Delpy,2011)
Funders have a leadership role to play in establishing a framework for responsible innovation and its
associated expectations, including processes of governance and oversight. They also have a role to play
in catalysing the development of capacity for responsible innovation to meet such expectations, through
programmes of education and training. But while those with the gift to distribute research funds clearly
have a leadership role to play (see for example EC, 2008 for a controversial example of this in the field
of nanosciences), it is also clear that innovation is a collective process that requires a collective approach to
responsibility (Mitcham, 2003; von Schomberg, 2007, Grinbaum and Groves, in press), extending
beyond the early stages of research and involving other actors and users who collectively translate ideas
into application and value. Von Schomberg (2007) considers that collective responsibility is supported by
public debate (i.e. that ‘upon everyone's shoulders rests a particular moral obligation to engage in the
collective debate that shapes the context for collective decision making’), technology assessment,
foresight/ knowledge assessment and constitutional change, dimensions which have strong synergies
with the dimensions of anticipation, reflection, deliberation and responsiveness we have highlighted
The framing of responsibility itself is perhaps one of the greater intellectual challenges for those
wrestling with the concept of responsible innovation. Consequentialist models of responsibility which
are grounded in the status of various forms of knowledge and in which the consequences of one’s
actions are judged in hindsight (e.g. through legal constructs of liability or reasonable foreseeability) are
deeply problematic for innovation as a future-oriented, highly uncertain activity (Ginbaum and Groves,
in press). Traditionally, crippled by the limits of foresight, the only alternative has been to subscribe to
moral luck, to take one’s chances that we can be excused from moral blame in the fullness of time.
Reframing responsibility in the context of innovation as a collective, uncertain and unpredictable activity
is focussing attention on dimensions of responsibility such as care and responsiveness that are values
and not rules-based, and accommodate uncertainty (Jonas, 1984; Richardson, 1999). It is perhaps in this
regard that research around the concept of RRI might make a truly novel contribution to intellectual
Conclusions: the politics of responsible innovation
The EC Science in Society Stand at the European Science Open Forum conference in Dublin, July 2012
had the title ’’Responsible Research and Innovation: Europe’s ability to respond to societal challenges’’
(Fig 1 below). We have described three emergent features of RRI discourse at an EU policy level, all of
which are encapsulated in that title. The first is an emphasis on science for society – a focus on
purposes, where research and innovation are targeted at Europe’s societal challenges and the ‘right
impacts’, underpinned by a deliberative democracy. The second, linked to the first, is an emphasis on
science with society – a focus on the need for research and innovation to be responsive to society in
terms of setting its direction, and in modulating its trajectory in the face of the uncertain ways
innovation invariably unfolds as part of its naturalisation in the world. RRI calls for institutionalised
responsiveness. A third is encapsulated in the explicit linking of research and innovation to
responsibility, the ‘responsible’ in responsible innovation (Grinbaum and Groves, in press). This is
prompting a re-evaluation of the concept of responsibility as a moral and philosophical social ascription
in the context of innovation as a future-oriented, deeply uncertain, often complex and always collective
phenomenon. This in turn is challenging scientists, innovators, business partners, research funders and
policy makers to reflect on their own roles and responsibilities, acknowledging that the irresponsibility in
innovation is a manifestation of a the ecosystem of innovation and requires a collective, institutionalised
response, if this is indeed possible.
Any process that asks for reflection on the purposes of innovation should also reflect on the purpose of
RRI as an innovation itself. In the field of public engagement, the distinction between instrumental,
normative and substantive motivations (Fiorino, 1989; Stirling 2005) has been one useful way to
consider and evaluate motivations. Is RRI a process that has normative motivations (e.g. that it is the
right thing to do for reasons of democracy, equity and justice), substantive motivations (e.g. that policy
choices can be co-produced with publics in ways that authentically embody diverse social knowledge,
values and meanings) or instrumental motivations (e.g. that it provides social intelligence to deliver pre-
committed policy objectives), (see Sykes and Macnaghten, in press)? Policy statements from the
European Commission suggest that RRI has underlying motivations that are not only instrumental (i.e.
in supporting the delivery of policy commitments in the Horizon 2020 Strategy) but also normative and
substantive (von Schomberg 2011a,b; Laroche,2011). In these position papers and statements one can
discern both grand ambition and shorter term policy goals. If RRI risks becoming a new label for
business-as-usual, it also risks being used instrumentally, to smooth the path of innovation in society,
and/ or to achieve pre-committed policies This, we argue, should be a primary point of discussion and
clarification, acknowledging we are at a stage before the term itself becomes locked - in. The purposes
and motivations for RRI at a policy level must be clear.
Responsible innovation evokes a collective duty of care, firstly to rethink what we want from innovation
and then how we can make its pathway responsive in the face of uncertainty. Acknowledging the power
of innovation to shape our collective future, RRI challenges us first and foremost to ask what kind of
future we want innovation to bring into the World. Ultimately this has to be a project that is far grander
in ambition than the delivery of short term policies. But it must also be practicable and feasible, going
beyond aspiration as a mechanism for genuine and transformative change. Responsible innovation must
be a process in which innovation looks different in response. There are many in academia and policy
who subscribe to this grand ambition, but whether RRI lives up to this challenge remains to be seen.
The authors were part funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and
Economic Social Research Council to develop a Responsible Innovation Framework, on which this
paper is partly based.
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... 1 Some scholars (e.g. Owen, Macnaghten, and Stilgoe 2012;Schomberg, René, and Hankins 2019) have argued that Responsible (Research and) Innovation activities, such as R(R)I national programs, citizen science panels, technology assessments, co-design projects, or mid-stream modulation, are fundamentally 'critical' (Schomberg, René, and Hankins 2019, 6). R(R)I initiatives amount to nothing more than the pragmatic and institutionalised translation of critiques that social and humanistic scholarshipespecially in the field of science and technology studies (STS)has addressed at technoscientific innovation. ...
... By including citizens and civil society in innovation, R (R)I programmes offer more inclusive ways of developing science and technology. Technoscience guided by R(R)I is geared towards inclusive societal changes, and expected to bring about the futures desired by citizens: it is science for and with society (Owen, Macnaghten, and Stilgoe 2012;Owen, von Schomberg, and Macnaghten 2021). Other scholars (Blok and Lemmens 2015;Felt 2017; have cautioned against a simplistic view of the relationship between critical scholarship in the social sciences and humanities and R(R)I activities. ...
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How can critique in responsible innovation (RI) become generative? The anything-but-neutral relations between science, technology and society, at the core of science and technology studies, have led to the development of different repertoires of critique. None of them fitted the configurations in the biomedical practices we came to study. There, biomedical experts presented us with an analysis of the power relations perpetuated through the mainstream practices in their fields and had built socio-material alternatives to the common forms of practicing biomedicine. The paper suggests conceptualising critical observations voiced by experts embedded into socio-material alternatives as 'critique from within' yielding collateral goods and bads. Rather than asking how to foster responsibility conditions in RI, the paper suggests modestly reclaiming critique by articulating already existing forms of responsibility practices developed by experts themselves and analysing the ambivalent effects they engender. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Naturally "responsible innovation" feels right as a mood, as an ideal or desire. It has positive, constructive overtones, with implications of trust and integrity, as science and innovation are directed and done towards socially desirable and socially accepted purposes (Nazarko, 2019;Owen et al., 2012). However, both in concept and practice, it lacks definition and clarity: what may that entail? ...
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Technological innovations, despite their several benefits, may have drawbacks, thus, they need a control mechanism or directional channel. Responsible innovation (RI) has gained popularity in technology-intensive countries as a way to regulate otherwise uncontrollable and radical technological innovations. However, existing RI research lacks a clear theoretical foundation and has not adequately addressed the commercial and performance aspects of innovative products and firms. The current research proposes an empirically testable model for RI by conducting a structured literature review, focusing on the commercial aspect of innovative products and firms’ sustainability performance in the financial, social, and environmental dimensions. The study suggests a link between RI and the resource-based theory of the firm and proposes that RI can be seen as a distinctive competency developed through the firm’s resources and capabilities. The model would help enterprises achieve ethical and social acceptability and improve sustainability performance. Metadata examination of 98 articles yielded insights. The findings and future research directions of this study provide new insights for business strategy and policy.
... We systematised open resources from related fields that could respond to training needs identified in the previous layers and included them in the training structure. We collected relevant training material about team building (Oxfam, 2007), citizen participation (World Bank Group, 2019), stakeholder engagement (Acland, 2012), public engagement (Silva & Bultitude, 2009), open innovation (Chesbrough et al., 2006), participatory action research (Torre, 2014), and Responsible Research (Owen et al., 2012) and Innovation Schomberg, 2013). Finally, we partially based our work on the openly available training programmes developed by the project HEIRRI (Mejlgaard et al., 2019;RRI Tools, 2018) for collaborations in the field of RRI and on an existing manual for multi-stakeholder partnerships (Brouwer & Woodhill, 2016). ...
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Quadruple Helix Collaborations (QHCs) is a cooperation model in which industry, government, academia, and the public interact to innovate. This paper analyses the impact of a training intervention to provide specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes to deal with barriers commonly found in the progress of QHCs. We designed, implemented, and evaluated three training programs in Austrian, Colombian, Danish, and Spanish institutions. We analysed trainees’ (n = 66) and trainers’ (n = 9) perceptions to identify the competencies acquired with the intervention and the approach’s limitations. We used online questionnaires (35 trainees; 9 trainers), semi-structured interviews (10 trainees), and a focus group (6 trainers). Trainees answered positively regarding their self-perception about the impact of the course and highlighted the acquisition of inspiration for their practice (score 4.1 out of 5.0) and knowledge (3.7). In contrast, they perceived that a deeper interaction with other participants (2.7) was challenging. After the courses, 74% of respondents indicated that they know more about how QHCs work in practice, and 86% about collaboration or engagement methods. Moreover, participants plan to be more sensitive towards setting common goals (71%) and power imbalances (63%). Trainers’ perceptions align with those expressed by participants, except that they considered that the interaction amongst participants during the course was higher. Qualitative analysis of interviews with participants and the focus group with trainers provides more detail about the strengths and weaknesses of the intervention. Our study shows that the collaborative design and implementation of training impact the participant’s learning competencies, with potential implications in their medium- to long-term practice.
... Quais são as motivações? Quem poderia se beneficiar e como?, de acordo om Owen et al. (2012). ...
Conference Paper
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Resumo Nos anos de 2015 a 2018, professores da educação básica brasileiros participaram de um curso online de formação continuada para o uso de tecnologias digitais. Neste artigo, objetivamos investigar quais recursos educacionais digitais foram eleitos para implementação em sala de aula pelos professores-estudantes após a participação no curso. Foram analisadas as sequências didáticas dos participantes da primeira oferta do ano de 2018, totalizando 16 produções realizadas em duplas ou individualmente. Os resultados demonstraram que os recursos educacionais digitais apresentados no curso de formação mais utilizados foram vídeos, infográficos e fotos elaboradas pelos alunos. Analisaram-se, ainda, as justificativas para a seleção de determinados recursos digitais, especialmente aqueles que não foram apresentados no curso online. Além desses dados, foram analisados os depoimentos dos professores acerca da contribuição do curso para sua formação. Palavras-chave: Colaboração; formação contínua; tecnologias da informação e comunicação; pesquisa e inovação responsáveis. Abstract In the years 2015 to 2018, Brazilian elementary education teachers participated in an online continuing education course for the use of digital technologies. In this article, we aim to investigate which digital educational resources were chosen for classroom implementation by teacher-students after participating in the course. The didactic sequences of the participants of the first offer of the year 2018 were analyzed, totaling 16 productions done in pairs or individually. The results showed that the most uses digital educational resources presented in the training course were videos, infographics and photos elaborated by the students. It was also analyzed the reasons for the selection of certain digital resources, especially those that were not presented in the online course. In addition to these data, the teachers' statements about the contribution of the course to their formation were analyzed.
... Examples of latest knowledge that feed in the "landscape" are the extensive and continuous metallurgical and materials science research on HEAs, CCAs, RCCAs and RHEAs, e.g., [75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85], research on RMICs, e.g., [86][87][88][89][90][91][92], research on mechanical properties, oxidation, e.g., [86,[93][94][95][96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103] and processing, e.g., [75,76,78,102], data relevant to phase equilibria and phase diagrams, e.g., [71,72,[104][105][106][107][108][109][110][111][112], all of which is assessed and evaluated within and without NICE. However, the latest knowledge does not stop to the aforementioned but includes other types of knowledge, for example, knowledge generated from the pursuit of sustainability and sustainable development [113], from the concept of "circular economy" in the sustainability debate, and environmental risks, and linked with research about shortage of resources and recyclability, and with the exchange of ideas about and discussion of responsible research and innovation, e.g., [114][115][116]. In other words, the "landscape" in Figure 1 connects with other processes of knowledge production, the relationship between science, engineering and society, environmental degradation of materials, and is enthusiastic about knowledge transmission. ...
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The paper is a personal perspective on the design of metallic ultra-high temperature materials (UHTMs). Specifically, the alloy design “landscape” of metallic UHTMs was considered from the viewpoint of the alloy design methodology NICE. The concepts of synergy, entanglement and self-regulation and their significance for alloy design/development were discussed. The risks, ecological challenges and material-environment interactions associated with the development of metallic UHTMs were highlighted. The “landscape” showed that beneath the complexities of alloy design lies an elegant and powerful unity of specific parameters that link logically and that progress can be made by recognising those interrelationships between parameters that generate interesting, diverse, and complex alloys.
In the transition of economic development, innovation is the key to sustainable development in future China, and it is also the only way to turn “Made in China” into “Made by China”. Innovation is embodied in the successful development and utilization of new ideas. Categories of innovation include product/service innovation, process innovation, technology innovation, and management innovation. In the age of knowledge economy, innovation is the silver bullet for companies to win in uncertain complex environments.
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Zusammenfassung In der Innovationsperspektive steht die Wirkung unterschiedlicher Formen von Innovation und deren Anwendung auf die soziale und wirtschaftliche Praxis im Vordergrund – und damit auf die Umwelt, auf klima(un)freundliches Leben und Wirtschaften. Eine Vielzahl an Konzepten der Innovationsforschung (Innovationssysteme, Schumpeters Innovationsbegriff, etc.) haben in der Technologie- und Innovationspolitik der letzten drei Jahrzehnte eine wichtige Rolle eingenommen. Darauf aufbauend und um Herausforderungen und Fragen der nachhaltigen Entwicklung erweitert, hat sich in den letzten Jahren die Forschung zu Nachhaltigkeitstransitionen mit Ansätzen zum Wandel von soziotechnischen Systemen intensiv mit Innovationen für radikalen Wandel auseinandergesetzt. Die wichtigsten Theorien des Wandels aus einer Innovationsperspektive, die in diesem Kapitel dargestellt werden, sind Regionale Innovationssysteme (RIS), soziotechnische Systeme und Nachhaltigkeitstransition, Strategisches Nischenmanagement und Transitionsmanagement, Theorien Sozialer Innovation sowie Ansätze zu Exnovation, Konversion und Minimalismus.
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This chapter discusses initiatives in the field of "Responsible Innovation" (RI) at different levels and some of their dynamics. Then it focuses on two types of intervention-oriented activities that concretely support and stimulate aspirations for RI/Responsible Research and Innovation" (RRI): socio-technical integration research (STIR) and constructive technology assessment (CTA). Finally, it discusses tensions in the concept and practices of RI/RRI, particularly in the light of its prospects for effectiveness and institutionalization.
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In search of differences and similarities in relation to the role and location of science in European societies, we use empirical information from 37 countries as a platform for developing typologies concerning dimensions of science in society. These capture clusters of countries and reveal significant heterogeneity across Europe, providing a point of departure for international learning, while also demonstrating the challenges that the European institutions face in their promotion of a European Research Area, shared priorities and a common model of science in society. Combining national-level and individual-level data, we further show a connection between national differences and the public’s satisfaction with their own role as participants in science and technology. In countries where science communication culture is weak, where science plays a minor role in policy-making, and where institutions and procedures for public involvement are weak, citizens are comparatively less contented with their own involvement in science and technology.
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In this contribution, a framework for ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ is proposed. This framework enables to practice Responsible Research and Innovation while addressing both research and innovation processes and research and innovation outcomes and products. The framework operationalizes general consensual normative anchor points derived from the European Treaties in order to drive innovations towards the ‘Grand Challenges’ of our time for which we share a collective responsibility. This implies an innovation-governance far beyond the means of solely market-driven innovations.
This chapter draws from a recent policy-oriented investigation that seeks to ground measures for the advancement of responsible innovation in finance within an account of several dimensions of responsibility in that area. The purpose of the chapter is to clarify the several meanings that responsible or irresponsible innovation can have in finance, and to illustrate them with some examples. The first section presents these several meanings and the second section comments briefly on how these meanings may be considered in the organizational spaces in which complex financial innovation is handled at a design stage, inside investment banks.