Who is Responsible for Responsible Innovation? Lessons From an Investigation into Responsible Innovation in Health; Comment on “What Health System Challenges Should Responsible Innovation in Health Address? Insights From an International Scoping Review”

Document Type : Commentary


De Montfort University, Leicester, UK


Responsible innovation in health (RIH) takes the ideas of responsible research and innovation (RRI) and applies them to the health sector. This comment takes its point of departure from Lehoux et al which describes a structured literature review to determine the system-level challenges that health systems in countries at different levels of human development face. This approach offers interesting insights from the perspective of RRI, but it also raises the question whether and how RRI can be steered and achieved across healthcare systems. This includes the question who, if anybody, is responsible for responsible innovation and which insights can be drawn from the systemic nature RIH.


Main Subjects

  1. Brey PAE, Soraker J. Philosophy of computing and information technology. In: Gabbay DM, Meijers AWM, Woods J, Thagard P, eds. Philosophy of technology and engineering sciences. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2009:1341-1408. doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-51667-1.50051-3
  2. Bynum TW. The historical roots of information and computer ethics. In: Floridi L, ed. The Cambridge handbook of information and computer ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010:20-38. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511845239.003
  3. Coenen C, Simakova E. STS policy interactions, technology assessment and the governance of technovisionary sciences. Science Technology and Innovation Studies. 2013;9(2):3-20.
  4. Doherty NF, Coombs CR, Loan-Clarke J. A re-conceptualization of the interpretive flexibility of information technologies: redressing the balance between the social and the technical. Eur J Inf Syst. 2006;15(6):569-582. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000653
  5. Grunwald A. Responsible innovation: bringing together technology assessment, applied ethics, and STS research. Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies. 2011;7:9-31.
  6. Hackett EJ, Amsterdamska O, Lynch ME, Wajcman J. The handbook of science and technology studies. 3rd ed. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press; 2007.
  7. Lehoux P, Roncarolo F, Silva HP, Boivin A, Denis JL, Hebert R. What health system challenges should responsible innovation in health address? Insights from an international scoping review. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2019;8(2):63-75. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2018.110
  8. Moor JH. What is computer ethics? Metaphilosophy. 1985;16(4):266-275. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9973.1985.tb00173.x
  9. Oudshoorn N, Rommes E, Stienstra M. Configuring the user as everybody: Gender and design cultures in information and communication technologies. Sci Technol Human Values. 2004;29(1):30-63. doi:10.1177/0162243903259190
  10. Owen R, Heintz M, Bessant J. Responsible Innovation. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley; 2013.
  11. Stahl BC. Responsible research and innovation: The role of privacy in an emerging framework. Sci Public Policy. 2013;40(6):708-716. doi:10.1093/scipol/sct067
  12. Stahl BC, Timmermans J, Rainey S, Shaw M. Ethics in innovation management as meta-responsibility: The practice of responsible research and innovation in human brain simulation. In: Chen J, Brem A, Viardot E, Wong PK, eds. The routledge companion to innovation management. New York: Routledge; 2019:435-454.
  13. Timmermans J, Yaghmaei E, Stahl BC, Brem A. Research and innovation processes revisited–networked responsibility in industry. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 2017;8(3):307-334. doi:10.1108/SAMPJ-04-2015-0023
  14. Von Schomberg R. Towards responsible research and innovation in the information and communication technologies and security technologies fields. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union; 2011. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2436399
  15. Williams LDA, Woodson TS. Enhancing Socio-technical Governance: Targeting Inequality in Innovation Through Inclusivity Mainstreaming. Minerva. 2019;1-25. doi:10.1007/s11024-019-09375-4