See 2017

14 September

Title: A Toolbox to Support Responsible Research and Innovation at the Lab Floor

Date: 14 September, 12h45-14h00
Venue: Ravelijn, RA 4336
Speakers: Dr. Verena Schulze Greiving (University of Twente - STePS)

Notions of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) have received great interest by policy makers and are increasingly embedded in various research programs. In the Dutch nanotechnology research and innovation program NanoNextNL, RRI is integrated in the form of Risk Analysis and Technology Assessment (RATA) – as a separate research theme and as an obligation for its participants to consider risks and societal dimensions of their research. The application of RATA to research and innovation practices ‘at the lab floor’ however is not straightforward: technical PhD students are challenged by the limited time for such non-core activities, and there is a gap between the world of natural and social sciences.

In order to bridge this gap, we created a ‘toolbox’ that provides an overview and a concrete description of various methods developed in the field of (Constructive) Technology Assessment and beyond. The toolbox aims to assist (junior) scientists who are interested to apply technology assessment methods to their research project to broaden the societal context. As part of the RATA obligation in NanoNextNL, we supported PhD students to apply some of these tools to their research projects enabling them to explore interesting research questions and possible applications in their project, or to consider socio-technical aspects of implementing a new technology. So far, we applied these tools across different levels, from Bachelor, Master and PhD students to seniors and groups of researchers, as well as to different fields such as health, electronics and energy.

In my talk I will present the proposed toolbox, give examples of the various RATA activities we carried out and discuss the lessons we learned from the application of our toolbox and the RATA program in general.