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Home > Focus > International Handbook on Responsible innovation: Overview part 2

International Handbook on Responsible innovation: Overview part 2

by Jonathan Hankins [1], 5 July 2019

As regular readers will know, Mid July sees the release of the International Handbook on Responsible Innovation, A Global Resource [2], Edited by Rene von Schomberg and Bassetti Foundation Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Hankins.

In this short series related to the publication we offer readers the chance to access previously unpublished abstracts and keywords for each individual chapter. The first post [3] addressed the introductory section, Von Schomberg's overview and part 1 of the Handbook.

This the second post contains abstracts from parts 2 and 3; RESPONSIBLE INNOVATION: BECOMING RESPONSIVE TO THE GLOBAL SOCIETAL CHALLENGES and EMBEDDING RESPONSIBLE INNOVATION IN EMERGING TECHNOLOGICAL PRACTICES respectively. The chapter numbers below refer to those appearing in the Handbook.


17 Shared Space and Slow Science in Geoengineering Research

Jack Stilgoe

In this chapter, I use the idea of 'shared space' as an analogy for the responsible governance of a controversial emerging area of science: geoengineering. I begin by sketching a conventional history of geoengineering ideas, before complicating this narrative to suggest that the conventional distribution of responsibility between climate understanding and climate control cannot be drawn as easily as is often assumed. I then consider the contested nature of geoengineering experiments as a site for the negotiation of responsibility. Despite attempts to delineate safe spaces for experimentation, the governance of these experiments has been unable to escape the broader politics of geoengineering. Finally, extending the metaphor of shared space as a governance alternative, I discuss the merits of 'slow science'. My argument is that, while slowness seems almost heretical in science policy discourse, it is both normatively attractive as well as being a reasonable description of the unfolding of geoengineering research.

Keywords: Responsible Innovation, Geoengineering, shared space

18 Responsible Innovation and Healthy Ageing

Ellen H.M. Moors

Healthy ageing innovation is increasingly perceived as an institutional interplay with many heterogeneous stakeholders, users being more pro-actively involved, and a larger focus on personalized health systems. This challenges traditional healthcare innovation practices, focusing on efficacy, safety, quality and costs. Other values become important in healthy ageing innovations, including social and ethical norms, expectations, positions and distributed roles of stakeholders. This chapter questions how to address responsible innovation in healthy ageing innovations. It zooms in on how innovation in healthcare and ageing is currently organized, including the trend to more personalized health systems. It focuses on the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders (users) involved in healthy ageing innovation, especially in the context of early Alzheimer's disease diagnostics, and ends with a discussion on how strategies, policies and interventions for practitioners and users of healthy ageing innovations could become more responsible.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, healthy ageing, personalized healthcare

19 Responsible Innovation and Agricultural Sustainability: Lessons from Genetically Modified Crops

Phil Macnaghten

Although scientists and policymakers frequently see GM crops as part of the solution to the global 'grand challenge' of agricultural sustainability, all too commonly they have been viewed as part of the problem. They have been met with resistance by a variety of social actors, their regulation has been challenged as inadequate, even biased, and their consumption recurrently rejected by consumers as not delivering a societal benefit. In this chapter I examine the case of GM crops and how an analysis of the controversy investigated through the lens of responsible innovation can cast light on the conditions under which innovations in the agricultural sciences can become responsive to this important global challenge. First, I set out a brief context to GM crops within the grand challenge of agricultural sustainability. Second, I examine empirical research on the socio-political impacts of GM crops in Brazil, India and Mexico exploring the views of farmers, scientists and publics. Third, in response to the clear absence of 'authoritative governance' that is identified across these three diverse geopolitical contexts I explore the potential of frameworks of responsible innovation to reconfigure the debate on the governance of GM foods and crops, and to provide new pathways to move it away from its current polemic and impasse. I conclude with a modest set of recommendations.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, genetically modified organisms, sustainable agriculture

20 Responsible Inclusive Innovation - Tackling Grand Challenges Globally

Doris Schroeder and David Kaplan

This chapter argues that a just concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has to be global. Three prominent definitions of RRI are surveyed to assess their suitability for globalisation. The foundational principles of the von Schomberg definition (ethical acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability) are then taken forward in a comparison with the concept of inclusive innovation. Inclusive innovation is a term widely used by international agencies such as the World Bank and middle-income economy governments (China, India, Brazil, South Africa). Bringing out the parallels between societal desirability and inclusive innovation as well as their connection to the Grand Challenges of Humankind leads to the conclusion that RRI can go global.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, inclusive innovation, Grand Challenges


21 Embedding Responsible Innovation in Emerging Technological Practices

Armin Grunwald

Shaping technology in accordance with societal values and realizing Responsible Innovation (RI) often are confronted with lack of knowledge concerning the consequences of technology and innovation. Often there is no valid knowledge about specific innovation paths and products or about consequences and impacts of production, use, non-intended side-effects and disposal of future products, in particular in NEST fields. The rationale of this chapter is to explore how responsibility could be conceptualised and be made operable in this precarious epistemic situation. Responsibility debates in this situation usually can only consider narratives about possible future developments involving visions, expectations, fears, concerns and hopes. Questions arise such as: What could be subject to responsibility debates in the absence of valid knowledge about consequences of new and emerging technological practices? Is it possible to identify sources of providing orientation for responsibility debates and assignments beyond the established consequentialist paradigm? In order to give at least partial and tentative answers to those questions a broader perspective on the possible types of orientation will be unfolded. This perspective allows complementing familiar consequentialist approaches of responsibility by adding a hermeneutic perspective. If it is no longer possible to provide orientation for RI within the consequentialist paradigm it is possible to explore the narratives debated in a hermeneutic mode which could help providing at least weak forms of orientation for RI processes.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, emerging technological practices, hermeneutics

22 From Technology Assessment to Responsible Research and Innovation in Synthetic Biology

Dirk Stemerding

This chapter discusses our experiences with anticipatory governance in synthetic biology as a new and emerging engineering science of life. Our engagement with this field comprised a range of activities, in which we gradually moved from technology assessment (TA) to responsible research and innovation (RRI). As we will argue, RRI not only builds on established forms of TA, but also challenges TA approaches as predominantly framed by a concern with impacts and the governance of risks. By shifting our focus to the purposes of innovation, RRI indeed invites us to engage with technological innovation in new and more aspiring ways. Inspired by the notion of RRI, we have thus been moving in our engagement with synthetic biology from a technological options-oriented approach to a societal objectives oriented approach. Both approaches we see as vital and complementary modes of sociotechnical integration, the first firmly established in various modes of TA, the second highlighted by the aims of RRI.

Keywords: Responsible Innovation, Synthetic Biology, socio-technical integration

23 Responsible Innovation and Public Engagement: What we can Learn from the Case of Nanotechnology

Richard A.L. Jones

Nanotechnology achieved prominence in the 2000's as an emerging area of technoscience, with some far-reaching claims being made about its potential societal and economic impact, which prompted both excitement and anxiety. This coincided with a period of experimentation in science policy, with new views on the roles of public engagement arising and the emergence of the notion of responsible research and innovation. This history is reviewed, with a particular focus on the UK, concluding with some reflections on the future of the Responsible Research and Innovation agenda in an environment of slower economic growth.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, nanotechnology, science policy

24 Responsible Innovation in ICT: Challenges for Industry

Bernd Carsten Stahl, Elisabetta Borsella, Andrea Porcari and Elvio Mantovani

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) can raise specific questions and challenges depending on the field of research or technology in which it is to be implemented. We propose that RRI is best understood as a meta-responsibility that aims to shape and align existing and novel responsibilities in research and innovation. This chapter discusses the particular issues arising from applying RRI to information and communication technology (ICT). We identify five properties of ICT that render predictions and governance difficult: the speed of innovation and diffusion, ubiquity and pervasiveness, the difficult distinction between applied and fundamental research, its logical malleability and the problem of many hands. In order to accommodate these characteristics, we develop a framework for RRI in ICT based on the AREA framework and complement it with 4P: process, product, purpose and people.
The chapter discusses the specific challenges that arise when RRI is to be implemented in industry. We report the findings of a Delphi study on RRI in industrial research and development of ICT for ageing. The findings clearly show that there is a place for RRI in industry but that it needs to be related to existing responsibilities in the R&D processes and broader corporate responsibilities. The chapter provides the starting point for practical interventions that allow the co-creation of specific implementation plans of RRI in concrete research and innovation activities.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, information and communication technology, industrial research

25 Ethics Management and Responsible Innovation in the Human Brain Project

Stephen Rainey, Bernd Stahl, Mark Shaw and Michael Reinsborough

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is a key concept in current discourses concerning research governance and policy. The practice of Ethics Management in the European Union (EU) Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship Human Brain Project (HBP) utilises a concept of 'meta-responsibility' in order to further RRI. This chapter will explain the theory and practice of meta-responsibility to demonstrate RRI in practice in the HBP.
As a Flagship EC research project, the HBP represents a particular opportunity to espouse the best aspirations of the European research area. In this chapter, particular focus is given to responsible research and innovation as it is theorised and implemented within the HBP.
This article focusses specifically on the role and practice of ethics management in the RRI efforts of the HBP. As such, it presents a truncated and incomplete view. This is unavoidable, given the complex nature of the area - the map is not the territory. Other perspectives are possible, from which other aspects of RRI, and of the HBP overall, might gain or lose emphasis. Nevertheless, here is presented an ethics management perspective on, and role in, RRI so far in the HBP.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, human brain project, ethics management

26 Grass-roots Case Studies in 'Poiesis Intensive' Responsible Innovation (PIRI)

Jonathan Hankins

Building upon my working role at the Giannino Bassetti Foundation this chapter presents some work-in-progress insights into high technology artisan working practices and solidarity economies, which play a role in expanding the debate on responsible innovation (RI). I take the term 'poesis intensive innovation' as described and used by Bassetti Foundation President Piero Bassetti and defined here as the addressing of ethical and aesthetic issues through a production process. I argue that the use of this concept as an analysis of production processes offers a new interpretative standpoint in RI research, one that brings the personal convictions of those working within the process to the fore and adds to the body of de-facto RI and grass-roots or bottom-up RI literature. I use case studies to argue that the concept can be articulated into two different strands, one technology-oriented and the other organization-oriented, before addressing the concept's relationship to the current RI debate and developing the concept of poiesis-intensive responsible innovation (PIRI).

Keywords: responsible innovation, poesis-intensive responsible innovation, ethics

27 Robotics and Responsible Innovation

Pericle Salvini, Erica Palmerini, and Bert-Jaap Koops

The objective of this chapter is to provide suggestions for implementing Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in robotics, with a particular focus on Europe, by analysing the role of social aspects, ethics, and law in robotics research and development. To what extent can current approaches based on ELSA (ethical, legal, and social aspects of technology) be considered to comply with the basic tenets of RRI? How are the often-conflictual relationships between social, ethical and legal aspects dealt with in regulating robotics research and applications?

The chapter starts by providing a short overview on robotics aimed at clarifying its main features and components, in its twofold dimension of research (i.e. process) and application (i.e. product) and the interaction between these. It also describes the concept of RRI and its relationship with traditional ELSA research. The chapter then moves on to analyse how the social, ethical, and legal discourses have entered the field of robotics and how related issues have been addressed by scholars and experts at the European and international levels. This exercise allows us to assess whether and to what extent RRI is embedded in robotics research and applications, in particular with respect to the dimensions of public engagement, research ethics, research integrity, and RRI governance. It also allows us to point out the main challenges that robotics research and applications face in an effort towards responsible robotics.

Some of the issues that are discussed in the sections related to society, ethics, and law are: the role of stakeholders in robotics research and innovation and the relation between technological innovation, social challenges, and techno fixes, as far as social aspects are concerned; integrity in robotics research, and methodologies for identifying and analysing problems and possible solutions, such as ethics by design or machine ethics, concerning ethics. Finally, in relation to these aspects, we assess robotic applications against the backdrop of fundamental values and discuss to what extent these can be embedded in the design of robotic applications. Based on this analysis, we propose suggestions for steering innovation towards enhancing social benefits through regulation aimed at fostering RRI in the robotics development cycle.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, robotics, ethical, legal and social aspects of technology (ELSA)

In the coming week a further post will contain abstracts and keywords from Parts 4 and 5 of the Handbook.

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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/international-handbook-on-responsible-innovation
  3. 3] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2019/06/international_handbook_on_resp.html
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International Handbook on Responsible innovation: Overview part 2
Articles by:  Jonathan Hankins
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