2022. 01. 21. | Graz

Understanding barriers and drivers to facilitate responsible research and innovation (RRI) in organization contexts

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is often considered to be a call for introducing ethics or politics into technological development. However, technological development has always been a political practice that reflects certain values or politics. The rise of RRI is not rooted in the lack of ethical and political content, but in the dissatisfaction with the actual politics and ethics of current regional innovation ecosystems in place.

The quest for RRI does not start with a clean slate. It needs to consider current aspirations of actors, their narratives on de facto responsibility, as well as the structural constraints amongst which they operate. RRI is likely to involve both de-institutionalization (challenging what is out there) and a process of (deep) institutionalization. RRI, as an element of transformative innovation policy, aspires to bring together various actors in order to co-create change, but can also expect resistance from numerous incumbent actors.

Therefore, one of the most vital issues emerging around RRI is engaging with various (multiple and diverse) actors (an in particular with citizens and civil society organizations) in an inclusive, discursive and reflective way, being also aware of the diversity of goals, values and interpretations, the presence of power differences and potential resistance

The objective of the present session is to understand the institutional and organizational changes required for a transformation of regional research and innovation ecosystems towards RRI; and in particular for building capacity for citizen and community engagement. We propose to discuss whether and how RRI can open up a window of opportunity at research performing or funding organizations (RPOs and RFOs) to call the currently dominant internal logics into question by ethical and political reflections; and how can actors transform and be transformed by the existing RRI discourses and practices.

We invite you to share examples, practices, dilemmas and theories about transforming research and innovation ecosystems at institutional and organization levels towards RRI and, in particular, towards building capacities for citizen and community engagement. Topics may embrace (but are not limited to): Which institutional settings present more/less barriers and tensions towards the adoption of RRI? How can R&I actors be mobilized and incentivized towards the adoption of societal engagement? What is the role of institutional policies in facilitating the adaptation of settings for transformative societal engagement? How organizational change can provide room for transformative change? How to avoid “responsibility washing”? How can community engagement enhance the adoption of RRI? Which regional aspects can deter or favour the adoption of RRI at institutional level?

The session will be organised as an interactive workshop format. Details about the setting will be communicated in the scope of notification about acceptance of submitted contributions.

Keywords: RRI, institutional change, organizational learning, transformative change, regional innovation ecosystems, community based research

Session convenors: Zoltán Bajmócy (USZ – University of Szeged), Sandra Karner (IFZ – Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture, Austria), Raúl Tabarés (Tecnalia, Spain), György Pataki (ESSRG – Environmental Social Science Research Group, Hungary)

The abstracts should be uploaded here until the 21st, January.