The Netherlands Responsible Innovation Conference 2014

On May 21 – 22, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) will host the Third International Conference on Responsible Innovation in The Hague, The Netherlands. The conference will bring together researchers from various academic disciplines, as well as representatives from both public and private sector to discuss the merits, practices and necessity of responsible innovation for technological development.

This year’s conference theme will be “Responsible Innovation: Values and Valorisation”. Central will be the multiplicity and divergence of values that are at play in the development of new technologies, as well as the importance to involve stakeholders at all stages in research and innovation processes.

Keynote speakers include Prof. dr. Tsjalling Swierstra (Maastricht University), who researches philosophical, ethical and political, questions concerning technology in general, and concerning medical biotechnology in particular, Prof. dr. M. Lynne Markus (Bentley University), whose current research focuses on automation in mortgage lending and securities trading and on IT management and governance in large organizations, and Prof. dr. Jeroen van den Hoven (Delft University of Technology), who was the founding Scientific Director of the Centre for Ethics and Technology of the three Technical Universities in The Netherlands.

Both Swierstra and van den Hoven have chapters in Richard Owen’s Responsible Innovation publication that I reviewed here last year (and also have a chapter) and are well known across the international responsible innovation community.

My own presentation was written with Utrecht University anthropologist Cristina Grasseni. Food sovereignty and social sustainability through solidarity economy networks: a case study of responsible innovation describes how grass-roots networks are rethinking the core elements of contemporary society: the market, the commons, and the role of the individual as citizen, consumer, and producer. From “political consumers” to “consumer-citizens”.

The presentation is based upon fieldwork conducted in Italy and the USA that aims to provide data about concrete examples of real-world, bottom-up, responsible-innovation attempts in the field of provisioning for the family. Much of the Italian research is described in Grasseni’s latest book that I reviewed on the website here, while the US data is as yet unpublished and out for its first airing.

The Netherlands government has been at the forefront of responsible innovation research for several years now, as it has funded the project that this conference relates to. In some ways it have made the country a hub for European researchers in the field, and I myself will transfer this year to Utrecht to follow developments first hand. I will of course report what I find for you all.

Readers who wish to review the extended poster abstract can find it here.

image credit: venere.com


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Jonny HankinsJonny Hankins is the Foreign Correspondent for Bassetti Foundation for Responsible Innovation. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation, participates in the Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation, and is the Responsible Innovation Editor for Innovation Excellence. Trained as a sociologist at the Victoria University of Manchester UK, his interests range from innovation in the renewable energy sector, bio and medical ethics and the role of politics in innovation, to questions of ethical and moral responsibility. He lives in Boston, MA where he is also a musician, actor and street performer.

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