A Transnational History of Responsible Innovation

PhD project by Danielle Shanley, supervisors: Cyrus Mody, Darryl Cressman

Largely considered a ‘new’ approach, ‘Responsible research and innovation’ (RRI) ensures science and technology is responsive to society’s needs, anticipating potential consequences of science and technology through the inclusion of multiple stakeholders, all the time reflecting on what could be done differently in order to improve the process. RRI thereby represents a way through which we can think about our relationship with science and technology, including its impacts and effects on society. RRI is broadly considered to have emerged at the beginning of this century, yet its evolutionary origins date back to the 1970s with the establishment of technology assessment (TA). This research starts from this apparent contradiction, turning to an alternative starting point for RRI, namely discussions concerning ‘technology choice’ throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It tells the stories of particular individuals, networks and organizations who played pivotal roles in putting various issues on the map, many of which are today captured under the ‘new’ banner of RRI.