A Global Resource
Edited by René von Schomberg and Jonathan Hankins
Chapter 9: First steps in understanding the economic principles of responsible research and innovation
The area of responsible research and innovation (RRI) has gained credibility in scientific research and innovation policy in recent years. Uncertainty, ignorance and negative side-effects associated with innovation have created a school of thought that holds that research and innovation should be responsibility driven in terms of their impact on society, human beings and the environment. Academically, RRI is buttressed by a body of research: definitions, elements, key factors, dimensions and framework conditions have already been explored. Socio-technical integration has also been verified as a key element of the RRI framework. However, an explanation of the background of RRI in economic terms is still underrepresented in the multidisciplinary RRI framework. In this chapter we use simple economic concepts from the neoclassical school to encourage non-economist scholars of responsible innovation to apply the economic way of thinking to this field. We demonstrate that the notion of responsibility can be grasped with tools familiar to the economist community and that this view is capable of offering ideas to promote responsible behavior in innovation. Instead of being technical, we want to be thought provoking and to facilitate RRI research with an economic foundation.
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