Developing University-Industry collaborations for ethics-related research - towards a practical guide

Time: 12.30 - 14.00 hrs
Venue: Ravelijn, RA 1315
Speakers: Dr. Stéphanie Gauttier


Ethics can be applied to businesses in a plethora of setting, looking at responsible innovation, the treatment of big data, the ethics of emerging technologies. However, ethicists tend to undermine the applicability of their work and refrain from reaching out to industry to form collaborations. This in turn prevents them from accessing some funding and also from improving their teaching. While the literature on University-Industry collaboration seems to focus on interactions between natural sciences, engineering, management and industry, and little guidelines are available for researchers involved with humanities. The business ethics literature itself is stuck to a discourse on its lack of practicality. Two questions need to be addressed. Firstly, this research tries to understand to what extent are ethics-related collaborations with industry different than any other. Secondly, it aims at finding out ways to position and transform ethics into a practical tool for business.

Interviews with representatives of companies who have been collaborating or show an interest in working with ethicists were conducted in order to identify facilitators of and barriers to collaboration on ethics-related research. Results show that while insights from previous literature hold, discussing ethics-related collaborations triggers a unique discourse on how to position the added-value of the research and how to communicate ethics. Practical guidelines are derived from the results.