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Introduction to Responsible Innovation


Admission requirements



Today technology has become a main determinant of the quality of life of individuals and the quality of society. New technologies contribute to human well-being, but they may also introduce considerable risks to humans, the environment and future generations. We therefore have every reason to ascertain that the new technologies we develop as a society respect the values we hold dear. Various governments, companies and research funding agencies have now recognized this need for responsible innovation. Responsible innovation can, as a concept, be understood in a more substantive and in a more procedural sense. As a procedural notion, responsible innovation refers to a process of innovation that meets certain norms, like transparency, public engagement, and accountability (to stakeholders and to society). As a substantive notion, responsible innovation refers to a process of innovation which results in certain products, i.e. innovative technologies, which reflect important moral values. This includes values like health, safety, human welfare, sustainability, justice, inclusiveness, democracy, privacy, trust, and autonomy. In this introductory course, we will learn about responsible innovation by studying these concepts and case studies in the context of academic research, business practices, and government policy. In addition to assigned readings and lectures, students will be expected to prepare a policy brief that assesses a case technology and provides recommendations for responsible innovation. Students will then prepare a presentation about their policy brief, which they will then present to the class.

Course objectives

After this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand and be able to explain the various theories, frameworks, and dimensions of responsible innovation

  • Recognize instances of responsible and irresponsible innovation

  • Discuss and assess (the ethical and societal implications of) real-life cases by applying theories pertaining to responsible innovation

  • Give feedback and critically review work of peers

  • Apply tools and approaches to responsible innovation, like Value Sensitive Design, to their own innovation efforts.



Mode of instruction

  • Study lecture and readings on responsible innovation

  • Write critical reactions to the readings (max 700 words each)

  • Write a policy brief applying responsible innovation (max 2500 words)

  • Prepare and deliver a presentation to the class

  • Give feedback and review work of peers

Course Load

Assessment method


  • five critical reactions to the readings. These will be assessed by the teacher.

  • policy brief that applies responsible innovation to a case technology. This will be assessed by the teacher and/or tutors.

  • presentation based on the policy brief delivered to the class. This will be assessed by the teacher and peers.


  • 25% of the grade: critical reactions.

  • 50% of the grade: policy brief.

  • 25% of the grade: presentation.


The students are allowed one re-sit per examination. It is not allowed to re-sit an examination or assignment for which they have received a pass (6,0 or higher). It is allowed to re-sit an examination or assignment which they haven't done during the first occasion. The re-sit format needs to be discussed with the teacher of the course in line with examination regulations.

In case the student is granted an extra re-sit by the Board of Examiners, this re-sit has to take place within study year 2017-2018. This means the students have to complete the minor within one study year.

Exam Review


All students have to be present in all modules, including the Skill Labs. The teachers and the minor coordinator have to be notified in advance for the absences.
For each absence, students have to do an assignment. The students who are absent more than twice will not pass the module.


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and to make course materials available.

Reading list

Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via Blackboard.


You register for the whole minor and for each individual course in uSis.