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How responsible are you?

Posted into: EU Programmes

How responsible are you?

The H2020 EU funded project ‘Responsible Innovation COMPASS’ has developed an on-line self-check tool that helps SMEs answer this very question. Karen Coughlan, EU Projects Officer for the MARIE project which the Southern Regional Assembly is a partner, attended the conference launching the Responsible Innovation COMPASS tool which took place on the 26th March 2019 in Brussels.

In today’s rapidly changing and demanding society dealing with market & research uncertainties in a responsible manner is key to staying competitive and bringing innovations to market. This is where Responsible Innovation can help.

What is Responsible Innovation?

The European Commission has defined Responsible Innovation (RI) as the aim to better align both the process and outcomes of research and innovation with the values, needs and expectations of society.  Covering the 6 key areas of Engagement, Gender Equality, Science Education, Open Access, Ethics and Governance, it is about creating high-quality science and technology that is more in the public interest.

At the conference there was much discussion around RI being very much an unknown territory but practical tools such as the ‘Responsible Innovation Compass’ will facilitate companies on their journey, no matter what stage they are at, towards embedding RI into the DNA of their organisation.

To remain current and competitive there is a need to start anticipating societal challenges as early as the start-up stage of any initiative, companies need to start asking themselves ‘who do I want to be when I grow up!’.  Much like innovation itself, RI has infinite possibilities and is a concept that will continue to evolve and adapt. 

The learning potential after using the COMPASS tool was highlighted as it makes companies more aware of their strengths and weaknesses in this area.  It is no longer enough to say you are adopting RI principles you need to be able to demonstrate it.  Therefore, there is a requirement to have practical tools and labels to effectively communicate efforts.

The question was asked ‘Is RI gaining traction?’ The younger generation seek out ethical organisations to work for.  There is a heightened appreciation for the risks arising out of societal challenges and if we are to innovate our way out of these problems we must do so responsibly. 

RRI should not be seen as a hurdle but as the root of economic wellbeing of the company.

The Southern Regional Assembly is a partner on the Interreg Europe MARIE Project whose objective is to improve regional public policy that supports delivery of RRI to enterprises’ product, process and service design, production and distribution.  MARIE partners want to integrate the concept of responsibility into regional funding programmes for innovation. Policy changes within the project are expected to lead to a greater awareness of the socio-economic benefits of responsibility.

MARIE is part-funded by the Interreg Europe Programme, through the European Regional Development Fund and is led by CISE – Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Florì-Cesena, Italy.

MARIE will run until 2021, find out more about MARIE at www.interregeurope.eu/marie/

Project Contact: Karen Coughlan, EU Projects Officer, Southern Regional Assembly

Tel: +353 (0) 51 860 706         Email: kcoughlan@southernassembly.ie


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