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Blogging Responsible Innovation

by Jonny Hankins [1], 3 October 2013

In this post I would like to take a look at how and where Responsible Innovation is addressed through blogging.

Last week saw the launch of the (University of) Manchester Policy Blogs [2]. The blogs provide a platform for researchers and academics to blog about policy-related issues, including how science policy relates to and interacts with ideas surrounding responsible innovation.

The blogs currently have the following specific subject streams; Whitehall Watch, Science, Technology and Environment Policy and Policy Book Reviews, but this list is soon to be expanded.

The editorial team are looking for contributions from experienced bloggers who wants to start writing for Manchester Policy Blogs, researchers keen to disseminate policy-relevant work, or postgraduate students looking to get experience of engagement activity.

Dr Andrew Balmer is co-editor of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy stream, and he has a keen interest on responsible innovation developments as his personal blog [3] demonstrates.

As We Now Think [4] offers Reflections, commentary and analysis from Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes [5] at Arizona State University. As We Now Think contains reflections, scholarly musings, far-sighted analysis and insights from the CSPO community of scholars, thinkers and writers, divided into sections such as Energy, Technology Policy, Nanotechnology and Science Communication, to name just a few.

There are many interesting articles covering a broad interest base, and the Nano and Society video collection [6] is certainly worth a browse.

Future Tense [7] is another blog that offers an interested reader a wealth of articles. This blog reports on emerging technologies, tech policy, and digital culture. Future Tense is a project from Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University, "The Citizen's guide to the Future".

Jack Stilgoe [8] has a blog on the Guardian [9]. Stilgoe teaches science policy at University College London, is an affiliated research fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge, and participates in many broad RI projects. Foundation readers might recall his joint authorship of the Developing a Framework for Responsible Innovation [10] article and other references on this website.

Stilgoe is one of the most established bloggers in this field, and the site contains a wealth of reading. His Precautionary Principle Series really offers some fine food for thought.

The Guardian also hosts a blog by James Wilsdon [11], professor of science and democracy at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex. His blog takes more political viewpoint, looking at government and establishment policy towards science and innovation.

Hilary Sutcliffe writes a blog through her MATTER [12] organization. Sutcliffe's aim is to facilitate debate surrounding RI from a non academic perspective. Readers will find open letters, calls to discussion and an aray of interesting projects. Readers can discover more about the author in this article, A Conversation with Hilary Sutcliffe [13] from earlier this year.

The ScipolicyEU blog [14] offers some (EU-centred) thoughts on scipolicy with science communication, public policy and science in society twists. Author Ino Agrafioti is a systems biologist currently working as Project Manager in the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC).

The blog contains articles directly addressing RI debates, as well as comments on blogs, articles, tweets and conferences. They are her own comments and feelings, and do not represent any institution, and easy to read.

The Debating Innovation Blog [15] is maintained by the Observatory for Responsible Innovation, an independent international think tank, created with the purpose of thinking and debating new measures, concepts and methods to foster responsibility in innovation.
The blog is written in both English and French, and readers will know the Director of the Observatory Fabian Muniesa, guest at the Foundation for the Risk and Responsibility in Innovation [16] Lecture held in Milan last year.

Rene' Von Schomberg of the Directorate General for Research at the European Commission also has a blog [17], that very much reflects and interrogates his views regarding EU policy and innovation. Again there are several references to his work on this website, including his Responsible Innovation Matrix [18].

Karim is a Knowledge Acceleration and Responsible Innovation Meta-network. The project is delivered by a consortium drawn from universities, innovation support agencies, regional and national agencies and, crucially, business representative organizations. The website [19]offers articles about responsible innovation approaches, knowledge transfer and a host of other topics, as well as links to conferences, events and other interesting sites.

Science in Europe [20] is a blog written by Floriane Touitou. Floriane is a science communication professional who works for UMAPS [21], an organization that promotes responsible mediation between technological innovators. The blog describes numerous interesting initiatives related to the communication of science, as well as highlighting best practices in communicating European Research Area results, critical aspects for a responsible innovation approach.

2020 Science [22] is written by Prof. Andrew Maynard, chair of the University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences Department and director of the UM Risk Science Center. Maynard describes the project as being a personal and rather eclectic blog focused on the interface between science, technology and society. This is a well laid out and easy to navigate blog that contains a large number of posts, some of which have been previously cited on this website.

And finally for this article I would like to direct readers to my own blog posts. I have about 100 posts on the Technology Bloggers website [23] where I am an editor, covering science and technology and their effects upon society, and several longer articles on Innovation Excellence [24], a large innovation community site where I am the Editor for responsible Innovation.

The blogging format is different in that it tends to be much more informal than academia or other more institutionalized platforms, is widely read and more openly provocative. It is a form of writing that also allows comments, and although commenting is less popular that in recent history, many of the posts on the blogs cited above have dozens of comments that respond to the article, and comments upon comments.

I believe that because of these factors blogging can offer an efficient platform for provoking debate surrounding responsible innovation in concrete terms. Ethical issues come through discussions that on the surface may not necessarily seem to be related to ethics or responsibility, and the result is to draw a readership that would not necessarily come into contact with an abstracted debate from a philosophical perspective.

The list above certainly is not meant to be exhaustive, and we at the Foundation would very much like to hear of other portals that offer such debate. Please see the contacts page for details.


Some snapshots (from our account in Flickr [25]):




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(image: snapshot from the blogs on Responsible Innovation)

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Links in this document:

  1. 1] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/schedabiografica/Jonny Hankins
  2. 2] http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/sci-tech/2013/09/23/a-welcome-message-from-the-science-and-technology-editors/
  3. 3] http://andybalmer.wordpress.com/
  4. 4] http://aswenowthink.wordpress.com/
  5. 5] http://cspo.org/
  6. 6] http://aswenowthink.wordpress.com/category/nanotechnology/
  7. 7] http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense.html
  8. 8] http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/network/jack-stilgoe/
  9. 9] http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jack-stilgoe
  10. 10] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2013/07/developing_a_framework_for_res.html
  11. 11] http://www.theguardian.com/profile/james-wilsdon
  12. 12] http://www.matterforall.org/blog/
  13. 13] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2013/04/a_conversation_with_hilary_sut.html
  14. 14] http://scipolicyeu.wordpress.com/
  15. 15] http://www.debatinginnovation.org/blog/
  16. 16] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2013/01/risk_and_responsibility_in_inn_1.html
  17. 17] http://renevonschomberg.wordpress.com/
  18. 18] http://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2012/09/von_schombergs_responsible_inn.html
  19. 19] http://www.karimnetwork.com/
  20. 20] http://www.scienceineurope.com/
  21. 21] http://en.umaps.fr/
  22. 22] http://2020science.org/
  23. 23] http://www.technologybloggers.org/author/jonny-hankins/
  24. 24] http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/author/jonny-hankins/
  25. 25] http://www.flickr.com/photos/fondazionebassetti/sets/72157636145045744/
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snapshot from the blogs on Responsible Innovation
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