Normative principles to guide the process of responsible innovation
(University of Virginia)
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
Emerging technologies, such as nanotechnologies show promise to address the grand challenges of providing clean water, low-carbon energy, and abundant food supplies. Despite such promise, evidence suggests that contemporary approaches to nanotechnology innovation and governance over-emphasize commercial value, not public value in water, energy and food sectors. Responsible innovation is currently conceptualized as a set of 'good' processes including anticipation, engagement, reflexivity and responsiveness. However, these processes remain silent to the question of "to what end", which is too often absent regarding the normative objectives of innovation. This study aims to synthesize process-oriented responsibilities, as well as responsibilities as objectives. This article attempts to sink a strong normative anchor into the shifting sands of responsible innovation. Exemplary responsibilities are operationalized for relevant stakeholder groups, across the phases of nanotechnology innovation. The framework is tested with empirical evidence of stakeholders' responsibilities. The synthesis offers both a design framework for the governance of emerging technologies and an assessment tool to evaluate and reform current governance structures.
Conceptualizing the practice of responsible research and innovation