Philosophy of Responsible Innovation

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW), Wageningen University and Delft University of Technology  invite PhD students to register for the course “Philosophy of Responsible Innovation” to take place in January, 2019.

Organizing university

TU Delft, Wageningen University


9-11 January 2019, 14-18 January 2019


First week: TU Delft
Second week: Wageningen University

Type of activity


Type of activity

For this activity PhD students and ReMa students can – after successful completion – earn a certificate. However, the OZSW is not accredited to reward students with credits/ECTS directly. The study load is mentioned on the certificate, which can usually be exchanged for ‘real’ credits (ECTS) at your home university. More information. The study load for this activity is as follows: 5 ECTS

Primary target group

(International) PhD students

If places available, also open to

ReMa students

Application/registration deadline

1 December 2018

About the topic

This course discusses the main philosophical issues in relation to Responsible Innovation, an emerging concept in the EU context which highlights the relevance of social-ethical issues in research and innovation practices. This emerging concept calls for philosophical reflection on the nature, scope and applicability of responsibility and innovation in innovation practices in general, and the way social-ethical issues can be applied and addressed in specific fields like business, healthcare and energy in particular. Topics that will be covered include the nature of responsibility in responsible innovation, the role of societal values in innovation and value sensitive design, philosophical reflections on the role of knowledge and risk in innovation, constructive technology assessment and governance of responsible innovation, Responsible Innovation in the public sector (healthcare), responsible innovation in the private sector.

Students get to know some of the main positions in relation to philosophical issues in responsible innovation, the main arguments in the relevant debates and insight in the dilemma’s which appear in the practical application of responsible innovation in the public and private sector. Although the focus is on the philosophical and ethical issues raised by responsible innovation, we will also touch upon some more fundamental philosophical issues raised by responsible innovation. This includes issues like:

  • The nature of responsibility in light of the unpredictability of the future impact of innovations
  • The philosophical assumptions of the innovation paradigm
  • The way (responsible) innovations affect experience and praxis
  • Value incommensurability, value pluralism and the trade-offs between values in responsible innovation

Aim / objective

To become acquainted with the main philosophical issues in relation to Responsible Innovation.

 Target group

PhD students (alfa, gamma, beta) who start their research in the field of Responsible Research and Innovation, and PhD students in philosophy who want to learn more about philosophical and ethical reflection in the field of science and technology development. Students from universities outside The Netherlands are encouraged to subscribe for the course as well.


Week 1 (Delft)

  • Day 1 (9 January 2019): Introduction to Responsible Research and Innovation (Swierstra & Boenink)
  • Day 2 (10 January 2019): Conceptions of Responsibility in Relation to RRI (vd Poel & Blok)
  • Day 3 (11 January 2019): Value Sensitive Design (vd Hoven & vd Poel)


Week 2 (Wageningen)

  • Day 4 (14 January 2019): AIRR Framework and RRI in Health Care (MacNaghten & vd Burg)
  • Day 5 (15 January 2019): Constructive Technology Assessment and RRI in industry (Rip & Blok)
  • Day 6 (16 January 2019): Postphenomenological analysis of RRI & Stakeholder Engagement (Verbeek & Cuppen)
  • Day 7 (18 January 2019): Final Presentatioins (Blok & vd Poel)


  • dr. Tsjalling Swierstra, Maastricht University (day 1)
  • Marianne Boenink, Twente University (day 1)
  • Vincent Blok, Wageningen University (day 2, 5 and 7)
  • dr. ir. Ibo van de Poel, Technical University Delft (day 2, 3 and 7)
  • Simone van der Burg, Wageningen University (day 4)
  • dr. Arie Rip, Emeritus Twente University (day 5)
  • dr. Jeroen van den Hoven, Technical University Delft (day 3)
  • dr. Phil MacNaghten, Wageningen University (day 4)
  • Eefje Cuppen, Technical University Delft (day 6)
  • Peter-Paul Verbeek, Twente University (day 6)

Required preparations

The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments and to actively participate in the discussions. They also have to give a final presentation (more information about the assignment will be provided during the first lecture).

Certificate / credit points

Study load is the equivalent of 5 EC.


The course is free for:

– PhD students who are a member of the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology and/or OZSW;
– Research Master students who are a member of the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology and/or  OZSW;

All others pay a tuition fee of 250 euros.

How to apply / register

Please register using this form. The deadline for registration is 1 December, 2018.

In case of too many applications, the coordinator of the course will make a selection. In case of too little applications, the course will be cancelled. In case of cancellation, the OZSW will inform participants at least one week in advance. The OZSW is not responsible for any (accommodation) costs that students may have made in preparation for the course.


Wageningen University – Vincent Blok (

Delft University of Technology – Ibo van de Poel (