“Philosophy of Responsible Innovation” (2016) – OZSW and 4TU.Ethics graduate course

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW), Wageningen University, Delft University of Technology and the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology invite PhD students/ ReMa students in philosophy to register for the course “Philosophy of Responsible Innovation” to take place in November and December 2016.

Organizing university

Wageningen University; Delft University of Technology


23, 24, 25, 30 November and 1 & 2 December 2016


Classes in week 1 (23, 24, 25 November 2016) take place in Delft. Classes in week 2 (30 November and 1 & 2 December 2016) will be held in Wageningen.

Type of activity


Type of activity


Primary target group

PhD students, 2nd year ReMa students

Application/registration deadline

1 November 2016

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.



Week 1 (Delft)

  • Day 1 (23 November 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): Introduction to Responsible Innovation
  • Day 2: (24 November 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): Value Sensitive Design
  • Day 3 (25 November 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): controversies and stakeholder engagement in responsible innovation & governance of Responsible Innovation

Week 2 (Wageningen)

  • Day 4 (30 November 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): Conceptions of responsibility in relation to Responsible Innovation
  • Day 5 (1 December 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): Ethical issues, ambiguities and opportunities for responsible Innovation in the private sector
  • Day 6 (2 December 2016, from 10:00 to 16:00): Technology Assessment & Responsible Innovation: From theory to practice


  • Prof. dr. Tsjalling Swierstra, Maastricht University (day 1)
  • Prof. dr. ir. Harro van Lente, Maastricht University (day 1)
  • Dr. Vincent Blok, Wageningen University (day 4 and 5)
  • Prof. dr. ir. Ibo van de Poel, Technical University Delft (day 2 and 4)
  • Prof. dr. Arie Rip, Emeritus Twente University (day 6)
  • Prof.dr. Stefan Kuhlmann, Twente University (day 3)
  • Prof. dr. Jeroen van den Hoven, Technical University Delft (day 2)
  • Prof. dr. Phil MacNaghten, Wageningen University (day 6)
  • Dr. Eefje Cuppen, Technical University Delft (day 3)
  • Dr. Victor Scholten, Technical University Delft (day 5)

Required preparations

The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments, to actively participate in the discussions, and to give presentations.

Certificate / credit points



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.

Location / accommodation details

TBM, building 31, Jaffalaan 5 Delft – Classroom I

How to apply / register

Please fill out the application form below. The deadline for registration is 1 November, 2016.

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.

Registration/application form


Dr. Vincent Blok (vincent.blok@wur.nl)
Prof. dr. ir. Ibo van de Poel (I.R.vandePoel@tudelft.nl)

Contact info