Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 8: Reviewing responsible research and innovation: lessons for a sustainable innovation research agenda?

Eefje Cuppen, Elisabeth van de Grift and Udo Pesch


Responsible research and innovation (RRI) has emerged as a policy concept over the past five years as a notion that explicitly aims to emphasize social and ethical issues of research and innovation. Based on a structured literature review, we assess how scholars deal with the concept of RRI in relation to notions of sustainability and sustainable development. This chapter identifies the features of RRI that are relevant for sustainable innovation and discusses how insights from RRI literature can support further development of a sustainable innovation research agenda. We show that RRI literature has a strong focus on process rather than outcome, and a focus on change within systems rather than change of systems. RRI can contribute to the sustainable innovation research agenda by its emphasis on normative dimensions of innovation, and second, through its attention to individual responsibility and thereby the role of agency in innovation.

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