Approach

Identifying ethical and social issues at an early stage and taking these into account in the design process will lead to responsible innovations that enjoy broad social consensus. This approach also reduces failures or costly adaptations at a later stage.

The projects are implemented as public-private partnerships, so each project has one or more private partners. These are mostly businesses, but public authorities and civil society organisations can also be partners in a project. These partners may make financial contributions but also participate actively in the research or provide access to equipment or relevant data.

The research projects have already led to socially responsible innovations in multiple fields, including life sciences and health care, energy transition, agriculture and food. Spearheads of the NWO-MVI approach are:

  • A proactive creation or design perspective
    Ethical and social aspects are included in the design process of an innovation from the onset. Identifying aspects that play a role in the process and assessing an innovation’s impact on the stakeholders at the earliest possible stage allows these aspects to be taken into account during the design process, which results in socially responsible innovations.
  • Interdisciplinarity
    Researchers in the humanities, exact sciences and social sciences work together on the projects and take a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to an issue based on their respective fields. This guarantees an integrated approach.
  • Social relevance and valorisation
    During the selection process, all research projects are assessed as to social relevance and applicability of the results. In addition, each project also has a valorisation panel comprising representatives of governments, businesses, civil society organisations and citizens who use the innovations, have to take them into account when formulating policy or who may – unintentionally – be affected by them. This ensures that stakeholders are closely involved in the research and that research results are suitable for practical implementation. The projects are implemented as public-private partnerships, so each project has one or more private partners. These are mostly businesses, but public authorities and civil society organisations can also be partners in a project. These partners may make financial contributions but also participate actively in the research or provide access to equipment or relevant data.

The research projects have already led to socially responsible innovations in multiple fields, including life sciences and health care, energy transition, agriculture and food. The following tools have been developed in these projects:

  • guidelines for businesses, public authorities and other parties concerned in order to implement socially responsible innovation processes;
  • models for the design process of innovations;
  • new business models.