Developing supportive environments

8 Principle 8: Capacities

For individual capabilities to unfold and express themselves, they need a supportive organisational and network infra- structure, such as access to information and resources for participation. This requires spaces for reflection, interaction and negotiation, appropriate incentive structures, and an open knowledge base. Similar to individual capabilities, systems’ capacities involve answering guiding questions such as: Are there the necessary systems’ capacities to achieve the intended goals related to responsibility-oriented processes and outcomes? If not, how can they be developed in a viable way?

Example 8: A Civic Society Organisation lobbies for institutional change and system capacity-building

A large Civic Society Organisation (CSO) is aware of efforts to improve the capabil- ities and sensitisation of researchers to- wards responsible innovation criteria via training for individuals, especially early career researchers (in participative and co-construction methods, the develop- ment of researchers’ own reflexivity and sensitisation to societal problems, risks and impacts, inter-disciplinary working and futures-oriented methods). Research councils have begun to include these training requirements and institutional responses in new research calls (Prin- ciple 7: Capabilities). However, the CSO believes there is a need to go further to achieve systemic institutional change in order to redress the current dominance of scientific, business and government elites. It acknowledges that current insti- tutional disincentives such as long lead times to publication and publication league tables together with competitive pressures within the new product de- velopment pipeline of large businesses run counter to the aspirations of respon- sible innovation. The CSO argues for a more fundamental role of civil society in constructing R&I pathways, with earlier participation in technology assessment
dialogues, and involving values-centred small and medium and social enterprises. The CSO leads the creation of a network of CSOs covering a range of interests and remits from health and well-being to the natural environment and human rights (principle 8: a supportive organisational and network infrastructure). The network seeks to develop capacity internally and beyond with external funds from gov- ernment and other sources (principle 8: available spaces for reflection, interaction and negotiation and an open knowledge base). It lobbies for deeper institutional change within the dominant institutions of research and innovation to achieve greater diversity in the workforce, an early and transparent dissemination of results, and the engagement of wider constituencies of users and stakehold- ers of research and innovation. How- ever, in order to effectively engage and influence systemic change, the network needs to build the capacity of its network members as well, in order to be able to provide a voice that can balance that of other stakeholders within the emerging dialogue on what constitutes responsi- bility in research and innovation.