Prominent position Responsible Innovation programme in Innovation Contract

Responsible innovation programme to focus on all top sectors from 2016 onwards

12 October 2015

Now that the top sectors Creative Industry and Logistics have also made room for responsible innovation research, the Responsible Innovation Research programme will be expanded to cover all top sectors from 2016 onwards. With a budget of more than six million euros the Responsible Innovation programme has therefore acquired a prominent position in NWO's contribution to the Dutch 'Knowledge and Innovation Contract' for 2016-2017, which was signed on 5 October 2015.

The aim of the Responsible Innovation programme (NWO-MVI, from the Dutch 'Maatschappelijk verantwoord innoveren') is to carry out early phase research into ethical and societal issues related to innovation so that these can be taken into account during the design process. Last spring 17 new research projects started and all of these have at least one private partner that supplements the funding from NWO. Via so-called valorisation/utilisation panels, in which the results are discussed with parties that have a direct interest including policymakers and users, the research is also anchored in society. This means that the results obtained can actually be implemented in practice.

Prominent position Responsible Innovation programme in Innovation Contract. Image: Flickr Commons

For all top sectors

The Responsible Innovation programme (NWO-MVI) started as a collaboration between six Dutch ministries and NWO. In 2012-2013 a pilot was launched to connect the programme to the top sectors approach. After this pilot it was decided to expand the programme to seven top sectors in the period 2014-2015. From 2016 onwards the Responsible Innovation programme will be involved in all top sectors. The research will focus on:

  • specific subjects that play a role in one or several top sectors, such as synthetic biology, energy systems, water management, and smart cities
  • subjects that are relevant for several top sectors at the same time, such as trust in modern technology, sustainable development, and responsible innovation entrepreneurship (companies and organisations dealing with innovations in a societally responsible manner)

International collaboration

The Responsible Innovation programme is aligned with the European Societal Challenges in which Responsible Research & Innovation plays a leading role. In the forthcoming period the programme will be internationally expanded, for example through conferences and increased international collaboration.

About the Responsible Innovation programme

Image: Shutterstock

The Responsible Innovation research programme (NWO-MVI) identifies at the development stage which societal aspects play a role and what societal context is needed to have the innovation succeed. This creates more support in society and helps prevent innovations from unnecessarily coming to a standstill. Furthermore, as a result of this research complex and cost-increasing adjustments later on can be avoided. This provides opportunities for better products and services through societally inspired innovations. In 2016-2017, a responsible innovation expertise centre will be developed. This will further consolidate and expand the knowledge and community developed within the programme.

Further information


Source: NWO