Exploring Responsible Innovation as a Guiding Concept: The Case of Neuroimaging in Justice and Security

  • Marije de JongEmail author
  • Frank Kupper
  • Anneloes Roelofsen
  • Jacqueline Broerse


Although responsible innovation (RI) is to change the scientific system to meet the grand challenges of our time, its criteria are still unclear. This study explores meaning negotiation on RI by academic actors in both formal and informal discourse. In the formal discourse on RI, we identified characteristic shifts, including engagement of societal stakeholders, anticipation and adaptability, broadening, and new insights on impacts and regulation. However, the intended group of scientists themselves were not visibly involved in the formal discussion. Therefore, as a case study, we studied the informal discourse of Dutch scientists in the field of functional neuroimaging relevant to the domain of justice and security. Our findings show that RI is unfamiliar to scientists. We suggest that RI as a guiding concept is in need of operationalization within the specific context in which it is used. A point of entry for such a process is the role responsibility taken on by scientists. Resistance can be expected as RI can be equivocated with a limitation on the autonomy of science. To avoid evasive practices, extra efforts are needed to involve the scientists in a co-constructive process to operationalize RI.


Responsible innovation Neuroimaging Security Justice Science and technology 



We thank the anonymous reviewer for Jacqueline Broerse the helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marije de Jong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Frank Kupper
    • 1
  • Anneloes Roelofsen
    • 2
  • Jacqueline Broerse
    • 1
  1. 1.Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life SciencesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.KWF KankerbestrijdingAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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