Higher-level responsiveness? Socio-technical integration within US and UK nanotechnology research priority setting

Erik Fisher, G. Maricle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Enhancing the responsiveness of science and innovation programs to societal values is a critical element of responsible innovation. Distinct from laboratory-level research into socio-technical integration, this paper focuses on integration and responsiveness at the level of research priority setting. Taking the case of nanotechnology, it evaluates decision-making in the USA and the UK in the wake of novel policy initiatives for societal research and engagement. It asks to what extent decision-makers explicitly reflected upon societal considerations during priority setting and allocation. Interviews with key decision-makers and staff reveal limited integration of societal actors and considerations during research prioritization. In response to a pervasive history of institutional practices that preclude socio-technical integration, and in contrast to concerns that such considerations may slow down R&D, we propose that building responsiveness into research prioritization can support productivity, contribute to more socially robust outcomes, and possibly even enhance national competitiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberscu017
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Public Policy
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Nanotechnology
  • Research priority setting
  • Responsible innovation
  • Socio-technical integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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