The best science for the world ‐ not only the best science in the world

Professor Marina Jirotka1
1Professor of Human Centred Computing – Computer Science, University of Oxford


Whether it is the discovery of DNA‐based diagnoses of diseases that cannot be cured, the future of a person’s identity in an interconnected world or the consequences of technical  developments on the global climate, scientists and researchers can no longer afford to ignore the societal context of their research. Some approach is needed to open up debate about the potentially rapid changes brought about by technology and the ethical and societal impacts these changes might have. The approach has to allow ICT practitioners to identify and address  issues early in the development process whilst also being practical and manageable.

In recent years, the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has been used to anticipate and respond to the consequences of research and innovation more broadly, by reflecting on whether the processes and products of research and innovation are acceptable and socially desirable.

In this talk, I will discuss ways in which e‐Research professionals might engage in RRI. I will illustrate this with some example problems and controversies that have emerged, and show some  practical methods that have been used to engage participants in discussing the implications of new technologies. These include novel approaches such as, the use of animations, ‘ethicons’ and observatories that both inform multiple stakeholders of the issues  at hand, and allow for the sharing of experiences and solutions.