A Free Journal of Current EU Projects

To continue from where I left off last year, in this post I want to take a look at a free online journal that carries a special section on Responsible Innovation, and loads of interesting and maybe useful information about EU funded projects and forthcoming calls.

The Project Repository Journal (PRj) is the European Dissemination Media Agency (EDMA)’s flagship open access publication dedicated to showcasing funded science and research throughout Europe. Projects that are funded either by the European Commission, through one of their current schemes such as with an ERC grant or via Horizon 2020, or has received a grant from one of their National Research Councils or European funding agencies can publish in the journal, having the freedom to present their goals, ambitions and up to date research findings to a community that makes a difference to science going forward.

The current issue contains a host of interesting articles that are related to recent publications on our site: The need to improve internal combustion engines that will run in hybrid electric cars,  an introduction to European space sector investment, Smart maintenance of rail stock to enhance passenger experience, the workings of the Next-Net technology network with the aim of improving supply networks, autism, a sustainable plastic competition, urban waste management, African bio-challenges and changes, plenty of great stuff.

And regarding my own interests this issue contains an RRI Special Feature between pages 54 to 67.

This section presents the work of four funded Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) projects: Nucleus, Fit4RRI, RRING and RRI-Practice, large projects that work on guiding policy for the future of Responsible Innovation, training tools and their use, global collaboration and funding strategies.

Another interesting section offers an overview of forthcoming EU calls for funding, so you can get an idea of what the EU is doing to promote this idea and more importantly how much money they are investing (maybe you could get hold of some yourself).

The journal a free download, following the EU mantra of distributing knowledge for free, so well worth a look. Each of these projects also had downloadable documents if you want to delve further. The articles that we find here are written by people at the cutting edge of research in this field, so anyone with a moment of free time can certainly learn something.

Responsible Innovation: Ethics, Safety and Technology. MOOC.

Delft Technical University in the Netherlands offer a free online University course on Responsible Innovation that may be of interest to readers with a few hours here and there and a thirst for knowledge that would make even Jarvis Cocker proud.

The course is flexible, you can start whenever you like and run it according to personal needs. I myself have completed it, essays and all, even writing an article about it published in the Journal of Responsible Innovation.

The course offers an overview of some of the starter points for the concept of Responsible Innovation, many of which you might have come across through the previous posts in this series. The trolley problem (the ethical issues around decision-making if damage or danger is unavoidable), the problem of innovation processes becoming difficult to steer once they are in full flow, the need for standards and those proposed on EU and UK level as described in my previous post, risk management, design and frugal innovation, to name just a few.

The course also comes with a free downloadable textbook, so it’s goodbye to roaming the isles of the library hunting for a book that somebody has already taken out.

This course also addresses implementation from a business perspective, which makes for interesting reading. Models of innovation management, including economic models that talk about determinants of innovation are also included (a bit technical for the likes of me unfortunately), and questions of how businesses could address problems of risk are also presented and described.

Case studies related to ethical concerns and risks also appear thoughout the course, addressing nanotechnology, self-driving vehicles, robots, AI smart meters for electricity, autonomous weapons, nuclear energy and CO2 capture and coolants, many of which you find addressed in other posts on this website.

One major section relates to the idea of designing values and trust into processes and their products, a centerpiece of the TU Delft approach.

There are a couple of essays to submit for anyone interested in taking the course as part of their university education, with European Education points offered (ECTS) and a certificate (payment required). You can of course just watch the video lectures too if that’s more your scene.

René von Schomberg

In this post I would like to take a look at the work of one of the most important figures in Responsible Innovation, René von Schomberg.

René von Schomberg

Von Schomberg works within the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and innovation, and over the last 12-15 years has introduced and promoted the idea of Responsible Innovation, introducing it to the Commission’s calls for funding over a decade ago, and helping to make it ever more important within research funding.

He is co-editor of the International Handbook on Responsible Innovation, has written the most widely used definition used in academia but also runs a non-academic WordPress blog.

Recent articles include on the blog an overview of our recent book, a summary of projects on RI that have been funded by the Commission, articles on open science and precision agriculture.


Once that has wetted your appetite, you should take a look at the LIVING INNOVATION website, which hosts a video interview with von Schomberg entitled Responsibility and Transformational Change in Innovation Systems. This interview is very recent and wide-ranging, addressing a series of topics and issues and covering the evolution of the concept of RRI within the European Union. Note that he is described as the Father of Responsible Innovation!

In the video von Schomberg addresses lots of interesting topics, including small business practices and local, regional, national and supranational governance of innovation systems.

The website also contains an interview with Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of Digital Europe, a leading trade association representing digitally transforming industries in Europe. The topic of Responsible Research and Innovation and the consequences of its implementation are discussed from the speaker’s own perspective, making for very interesting and thought-provoking listening.

Last but not least comes an article that I wrote in 2012 about von Schomberg’s Matrix for Responsible Innovation, published in various academic books but also in non academic terms on his blog.

Von Schomberg is an interesting and extremely influential character. A good starting point if you want to understand how the idea of introducing responsibility to research funding has developed.