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A Report On Responsible Research and Innovation

by Jonny Hankins [1], 26 February 2013

As a follow up to my post regarding René Von Schomberg's Matrix for Responsible Innovation [2] I would like to point readers towards a document entitled "A Report On Responsible Research and Innovation" that is free to download from the MATTER homepage linked below.

The document was written by Hilary Sutcliffe, the Director of MATTER [3], on the basis of material provided by the Services of the European Commission, and Prepared for DG Research and Innovation, part of the European Commission.

The report [4] is concise and easy to read, opening with the question of what we understand by responsible research and innovation, which areas it covers and why it is important today.

The author then moves on to debate public involvement in decision-making, from who to involve and when through to questions about the general public's capacity to form a qualified opinion and how this opinion may be interpreted and used.

The report continues by raising the issue of how to prioritize social, ethical and environmental issues both now and in the future before looking at activities aimed at developing effective, adaptable and responsive oversight.

A section entitled "Activities to Embed Openness and Transparency in Research and Innovation" is followed by a discussion of the types of actions that could be foreseen by the EC and member states of the European Union, with examples of initiatives for exploring components of responsible research and innovation to close.

The report raises many interesting and important observations. The arguments are well presented and easy to follow, with a summary following each section. Many questions are asked that by definition must be left open, leaving plenty of food for thought.

If read alongside Von Schomberg's article the Sutcliffe report seems to raise questions regarding both the definitions of the European Union's anchor points and its over importance on societal engagement at the expense of personal responsibility. The report also makes the Matrix look rather bureaucratic, although this observation is not meant as a criticism but a demonstration of the differing roles that the two individuals play in the debate surrounding Responsible Innovation.

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(Photo: GDC crowds [5] by Crashworks from Flickr)

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Links in this document:

  1. 1] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/schedabiografica/Jonny Hankins
  2. 2] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2012/09/von_schombergs_responsible_inn.html
  3. 3] http://www.matterforall.org/
  4. 4] http://www.matterforall.org/pdf/RRI-Report2.pdf
  5. 5] http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrcrash/2290088269/
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cc - by Crashworks from Flickr
Articles by:  Jonny Hankins
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