Responsible research and innovation is to align the needs, values and expectations of society with the process of research and innovation. This entails to have a shared responsibility and be aware of society’s demands. In doing that, it is vital to consider and include matters of ethics such as autonomy, privacy, safety, transparency, individual rights, democracy, equality and freedom. Furthermore, it consists of taking responsibility for not only the process but also the outcomes.
Use a bottom-up approach
In innovation processes, the public sector has often turned to industry and research to solve the grand global challenges that we are facing. However, the present decision-makers are aware of the importance of not only finding solutions themselves but rather create solutions that correspond with societal values and norms. There has thereby been a move from a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach in this way more voices are heard and more perspectives are included in the processes.
Meet societal expectations
As a researcher or innovator you have to take new matters into considerations, as there are new expectations in adding value to society. This might feel like there is an increased pressure on you as an individual researcher or innovator, but thinking and working through matters of responsibility will bring a number of benefits.
Gain public trust
In the longer run you will be able to better foresee consequences of your work and what the public’s opinions are by incorporating the fundamentals of responsible research and innovation. It will create an increased public trust and make you appear environmentally, ethically and socially aware, which will help profile your work in a positive way.
Responsible research and innovation is a direct result of a rising awareness from society that demands that matters of quality and safety should be met and should be the focus point in all research and innovation processes. This means that responsibility needs to be met both from the individual researcher or innovator as well as for collectives, groups and organizations.