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DMU research expertise to help businesses innovate responsibly

Innovation in science and technology can transform lives - but it also has the potential to create ethical issues and dilemmas.

A new approach called Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to support the inclusive, collaborative development of ideas that not only benefit society but have been designed with input from diverse stakeholders.
word cloud rri

Researchers at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are at the forefront of new work to collect and use evidence of how best to apply RRI principles to businesses developing new products and services.

Dr Catherine Flick, of DMU’s Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR) is part of the €1.5 million, 36-month project called COMPASS, funded by the EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

COMPASS is co-ordinated by Andre Martinuzzi from Vienna University. DMU’s role will examine how this approach can be used by businesses in three fields – nanotechnology, healthcare and ICT.

It builds on a project called Responsible-Industry, which the CCSR is co-ordinating, that explores how private corporations can conduct research and innovation activities responsibly.

Catherine Flick inset

Dr Flick (pictured above) said benefits to business of using RRI included boosting reputation, building trust with customers and co-creating products which were better for society.  

She said: “We have evidence from our current project, Responsible-Industry, which shows how important it is for consumers to be able to trust the companies they buy from.

“COMPASS will be a wider study. Although many companies are aware of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) there is less awareness of RRI so it will be our job, partly, to show the benefits of innovation that is anticipative, reflective and responsive.”

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Outcomes will include a self-assessment tool for SMEs, tutorials, online training and other materials for industry. Dr Flick, along with Professor Bernd Stahl, director of the CCSR, will lead workshops for businesses, research representatives and other stakeholders to discuss how best to integrate RRI principles into the design process.

Dr Flick added: “This success shows the importance of the ongoing work of the CCSR in the realm of Responsible Research and Innovation. The project has the potential for significant impact in industry, especially when coupled with the output of Responsible-Industry, that showcases the CCSR’s strengths in this area.”

The project is set to be launched in May with a kick-off meeting in Vienna.
Posted on Tuesday 2nd February 2016

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