About the program 'Responsible Innovation. Designing for Public Values in a Digital World'

This programme’s key question is how public values can be safeguarded in digital projects. It is a collaboration between NWO, the municipality of The Hague and several government ministries (Interior and Kingdom Relations, Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Security and Justice). 

The researchers and partners involved invest in the realization of a community in which thinkers and doers exchange knowledge and views on designing for public values in digitalization projects. Read more on the results of community activities and community updates here.


Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, robotics and innovations in the digital terrain can be deployed in a constructive and responsible manner to solve problems and to realise common values and ideals. However, digital technology can also be used to assist people with malicious intentions in achieving their goals. In recent years, it has become clear how digital technologies can be used to undermine democratic processes, manipulate and influence citizens and consumers, attack telecom services, energy services and civil infrastructure, and disrupt payment traffic and armaments.


Research agenda 'Responsible innovation. Designing for public values in the digital world'

Municipalities and government ministries can be equipped to deal with the threats and opportunities provided by digital technology. For this, it is important that municipalities and government ministries take public values into account in their policies, for example human rights and privacy, democracy and the constitutional state. There is a need for knowledge and also for answers to research questions. The research agenda “Responsible Innovation; Designing for public values in a digital world” helps to give this shape. The agenda has four themes:

  • New digital technology in the modern constitutional state
  • Privacy and human rights in new digital networks
  • Big data science for a democratic public space
  • Complexity due to hyper-connectivity for public and private actors


The research agenda forms the basis for the current research programme of five research projects that are now in progress:

  1. Agency and Compliance by Design in Military AI Technologies.
  2. The Role and Responsibilities of Public Actors in Distributed Networks Transparency, Trust and Legitimacy by Design.
  3. Safeguarding democratic values in digital political practices.
  4. Making the hidden visible: Co-designing for public values in standards-making and governance.
  5. Disastrous Information: Embedding “Do No Harm” principles into innovative geointelligence workflows for effective humanitarian action.


Read more about the granted projects

Read more about the community