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PHDINN904 Doing Responsible Innovation

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

The course provides participants with an advanced understanding of real-world applicability of RRI. Through critical reflection, students scrutinize and evaluate key dimensions of RRI (anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion and responsiveness, e.g. Stilgoe et al. 2013) and examine how these are linked to real-world research and innovation practices.

The course is a combination of student active seminars and practice in a private or public organisation in the Vestland region. Students work in cross-disciplinary teams of 3-5 on a real-world innovation project. Students shall critically reflect on the applicability of RRI in the project. The assessment consists of two parts. The student team will write a joint reflection report on the cross-disciplinary project work and process. Further, the student team will present the results from the RRI analysis of their chosen project.

Learning Outcome

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the candidate should be able to:


  • reflect upon key dimensions of RRI in a real-world innovation project
  • demonstrate an advanced understanding of RRI application
  • identify context‑specific challenges of delivering responsibility within individual innovation environments considering the geographical, organisational, industrial, and societal perspective.
  • assess the (social, economic, ethical) implications of their chosen innovation project


  • apply RRI in innovation projects
  • discuss how innovation and RRI can be understood from different fields/disciplines (e.g. Industry, Green and Social)
  • communicate the importance of RRI in innovation projects to public and private stakeholders
  • argue for the pros and cons of the RRI approach based on the students’ own experiences

General competence

  • assess the applicability and limitations of RRI
  • recognize the ethical dilemmas in exploiting innovation
  • advanced adeptness in the application of RRI

Entry requirements

The candidates must have started to collect data for their PhD-projects. And need to be experienced with the researcher role.

Teaching methods

The course introduces students to the literature and concept of RRI and its application in various contexts. Students will through practice advance the ability to critically reflect on the challenges of performing RRI within ongoing research and innovation practices. The course consists of 5 full days seminars with a flexible practice related to a real-life research/innovation project. The course period is during spring.

Module 1 - Introduction to RRI and applied RRI

2 days: Students will be introduced to the literature and concept of RRI and applied RRI. Students will participate actively trough presenting literature and discussing applied RRI in class/groups.

Day 3: Students will group in cross-disciplinary teams of 3-5, and each team will be assigned one specific real-life research/innovation project. Student teams will prepare for practice and the application of RRI (application/analysis tools), and practice methodology.

Module 2 - Practice and reflective writing

The practice is flexible during a period of some weeks. The aim of the practice is to analyse/evaluate how the innovation project performs RRI. Practice may consist of methodologies such as observations/shadowing, interviews with managers, employees, researchers, stakeholders, investors, and reading of secondary data.

During the practice, student teams are expected to engage in critical reflections, individually and in the team during the practice period. Students are expected to reflect on RRI from their own disciplinary perspective but also to understand how other disciplines understand and apply RRI. Reflections should also encompass the application, opportunities, and challenges of implementing the RRI approach in real-world innovation projects/activities. Student teams will perform reflective writing individually and as a team, to document and reflect on the team process while in practice. Team reflections will be summarized in a joint team reflection report.

Module 3 - Presentations of results from practice

Day 4: Students shall prepare for a presentation of the project results (analysis and reflections of RRI as one assessment) to an expert panel with stakeholders/project responsible/academic faculty. Each team will receive feedback on a preliminary presentation from the course responsible and other teams in one session.

Day 5: Presentation of project results to an expert panel, and defence (oral assessment)

Compulsory learning activities



  1. Written reflection report related to the application of RRI in one project and reflections of the process (team-based)
  2. Present and defend project results to public /private stakeholders and academic faculty that constitute an expert panel.

Examination support material

All allowed

More about examination support material