Responsible Innovation in the Norwegian Salmon Farming Industry: Grand Societal Challenges, Dilemmas and Improvements

Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Project categories

Applied Research

Innovation Project

Project period

November 2020 - January 2024

Project summary

This project identifies a threefold knowledge need on responsible innovation in the Norwegian salmon farming industry, where we believe that new theoretical, empirical and practical knowledge is required. Theoretically, we believe it is needed to develop frameworks able to assess the economic, environmental and social dimensions of innovation and their interplay. In short, we argue that the RRI literature resembles a top-down perspective that focuses mainly on the public governance of research and innovation, while, conversely, the CSR-literature is a bottom-up perspective focused towards the actor-level and the strategies of firms. However, both literatures are normative and provide rather ‘flat’ and ‘universal’ insights into how e.g. public authorities, researchers or firms should act. Accordingly, we add the isight of Global Innovation Networks (GIN) to contextual the specificities of firms responsible innovation practices.

Empirically, we argue that knowledge is needed on how salmon farming firms address dilemmas arising from innovations intended to solve Grand Societal Challenges, exemplified by the industry’s adaptation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We also hold that practical, co-created knowledge is needed on how practices in firms and the industry can be shifted towards more responsible innovation when Sustainable Development Goals of firms come into conflict between each other.

In order to operationalise the mentioned theoretical, empirical and practical requirements coherently, we conduct a comprehensive discussion of responsible innovation (WP1), before mapping the networks and innovation activities of Norwegian salmon farming firms (WP2). In WP3, we investigate the interplay between economic, environmental and social dimensions of innovation, while WP4 investigates the effects of innovation on the economic performance of firms. Finally, WP5 improves responsible innovation practices in the industry through a Responsible Innovation Lab.