From responsible research to responsible innovation: Challenges in implementation

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This study proposes a new approach to the responsible development of innovative products, processes and services by companies and organisations operating in the bioeconomy and related industry sectors. It departs from much of the recent and currently available research on responsible research and innovation in that it recognises the very different challenges faced by innovating organisations, compared to conventional approaches with a strong emphasis on upstream engagement. It attempts to move away from the politicised perspectives that have dominated many engagement initiatives on disruptive innovations like synthetic/engineering biology, and to focus on practical downstream outcomes, the extent to which they will fulfil the aspirations of ordinary citizens, and will comply with prevailing industry norms of responsible behaviour. The proposed consolidated responsible innovation framework builds on the framework developed in 2012 by the then Technology Strategy Board, implemented using the anticipate, reflect, engage and act approach devised by UK research councils. It distinguishes between routine, company‐specific aspects of responsibility, expected to be addressed within an organisation's standard operating procedures, and project‐specific aspects requiring regular appraisal throughout the development of an innovation. It is designed to be simple and feasible for a company to implement within a commercial environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalEngineering Biology
Issue number1
Early online date18 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • innovation management
  • organisational aspects
  • project management
  • biology
  • bioeconomy
  • industry sectors
  • innovative product development
  • innovative process development
  • innovative service development
  • disruptive innovations
  • synthetic biology
  • Technology Strategy Board
  • anticipate-reflect-engage-act approach
  • UK research councils
  • project-specific aspects
  • engineering biology


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