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Title: Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation in research projects
Author: Timmermans, Job Franciscus Catharina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 0168
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2017
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Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to achieve societally desirable outcomes and marketable products of innovative processes. In recent years RRI has become a key factor in national and international Research and Innovation (R&I) policy and funding. As a consequence, actors involved in R&I are required to implement it. However, while on a conceptual and theoretical level RRI has been discussed in depth, on a practical and empirical level it remains largely underdeveloped. To contribute to the bridging of this gap between policy/theory and practice, this research assesses how RRI can be conceptualised and implemented in research projects in a way that allows it to reach its objectives. To attain an in-depth understanding of the implementation of RRI, a qualitative research strategy is deployed using a case study approach. As cases, three research projects are selected from the Netherlands Responsible Innovation (MVI) programme, which is the first programme to fund dedicated RRI projects. Analysis within and across the cases is supported by an analytical model based on a relational conceptualisation of responsibility. The model enables describing and analysing how the overarching aims and requirements of RRI translate into responsibilities taken and ascribed by R&I actors involved in projects. Building on an in-depth review of eight accounts of RRI and deploying the analytical model, this research provides a better understanding of the relationships between RRI and the targeted R&I, RRI and further instances of RRI beyond it, and RRI and its academic context. Furthermore, it identifies a number of key components that affect the outcomes of RRI, namely: the status of researchers implementing RRI as societal stakeholders, the role of interdisciplinary collaboration as a strategic means to defend (societal) interests, and the role of authorities such as funders in incentivising and sanctioning RRI. Lastly, the research reflects novel barriers and enablers that are relevant to implementing RRI. On the one hand, meeting the aims of RRI may be problematic due to academic and societal aims of researchers being in tension with each other, and to the manner, researchers defend their societal interests, which also may negatively influence the implementation of RRI. On the other hand, consideration of the R&I stage in projecting an impact and involving R&I actors, as well as making RRI rewarding to researchers throughout academic careers enables effective implementation of RRI. Based on the insights gained, recommendations are made for policymakers, funding bodies and researchers concerning the current lack of alignment between societal and academic interests when implementing RRI, capacitating and motivating actors to implement RRI, and ensuring alignment of RRI activities over time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: EPSRC ; European Union (FP7)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available