Introduction toolbox

Tools to integrate societal and ethical context in technical research projects

Researchers are increasingly interested to integrate economical, societal and ethical context and value in their research and innovation projects. Additionally, the alignment of scientific and technological advances with values, needs and expectations of society is stimulated in various research programs – often under the phrase of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

This toolbox provides an overview and description of several approaches that help to integrate economic, societal and ethical aspects in technical research project. This overview is aiming at everyone who is interested to learn about such socio-technical integration approaches and who wants to integrate them.

The tools presented here are selected because of their suitability to be integrated in labfloor practices. These can be for instance tools that help to map relevant actors that directly or indirectly influence the technological development or help to analyse the socio-technical environment related to a technology. By doing this, researchers can get a better understanding of the broader context of their research, can be aware of possible difficulties and if needed can adjust their research direction accordingly – with the goal to increase the societal context in their project.

How to use this toolbox

When you click on the picture of the toolbox you will see an overview of various tools and a general description of them. This overview should help you to decide which tool is suitable for you. For example, if you want to explore possible applications of your research, the multi-path mapping approach might be a good starting point. If you want to envision the technology you are developing in a future context, you could make use of scenarios. When you click on the chosen tool, you will find information about relevant literature providing background information about the tool. Examples of how this tool has been applied to a technical research project in the past are also available and described shortly. Combinations of different tools are also possible and already been carried out.