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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Responsible Research and Innovation Living Laboratory (PGSP11532)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe Engineering and Physical Science Research Council and other funding bodies (eg European Union) require scientists and engineers to acknowledge and address the social and ethical dimensions of their research. Furthermore, researchers are often expected to field media enquiries, take part in public engagement activities, contribute to policy making, work through regulatory issues related to their research, and participate in interdisciplinary teams. This course will equip students with the skills and confidence to contribute productively to broader discussions of what it means to be a 'responsible researcher'.

This option will build upon and apply concepts from the option on Foundations in Responsible Research and Innovation to the specific research areas and projects with which the students will engage
Course description 1) Course description

This interdisciplinary course aims to equip students to address the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding research and innovation and consider how these relate to their research activites. It will build upon the concepts and insights from the introductory course Foundations in Responsible Research and Innovation. Through discussion and student centred learning students will explore how these ideas may be applied in their working lives, and in their proposed research project.

2) Outline syllabus

i) introduction to other members of the cohort; initial mapping of each student's research area/proposed research project; scanning to identify possible controversies; ethical and legal governance regimes

ii) analyse the innovation journey of the student's research area/proposed research project; start by mapping key stakeholders and how their values and concerns may bear upon the research and its exploitation pathways .
analyse processes of research and innovation; the role of scientists and engineers and a range of stakeholders including innovators, regulators and diverse publics; how these may vary between different technoscientific and application domains

iii) undertake an ethical audit of your proposed research project and consider issues arising and how they may shape your research choices

iv) prepare a public briefing of your proposed research project and its socio-legal as well as technical challenges; present this to fellow students; discuss how the presentation would need to be adjusted for particular audiences of this work

v) develop and discuss with your peers a future-oriented assessment of issues that may arise in the conduct and exploitation of your proposed research project. Compare your approach with those proposed by your peers (perhaos comparing a one similar project and another less similar).

3) Student learning experience

The course will revolve around student-centred learning. A major focus will be small group work and discussion in class.
The course is designed to foster exchange and strengthen interactions within and between cohort interactions. This will include interactions with students from earlier cohorts and complementary programmes. The RRI Living Lab will become a repository for ideas about responsible and ethical research practice.
Students will also develop skills and confidence in reflecting upon research practices and in communicating to external audiences
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a critical appreciation of what might be entailed by the practice of responsible research and innovation in their proposed research project
  2. Review external source of information and concepts previously introduced in the course Foundations in Responsible Research and Innovation and how they might apply in their own intended research project/field of research
  3. Develop a reflexive awareness of the diverse orientations, interests and values of the stakeholders potentially involved in and affected by their proposed research project and other developments in their intended field
  4. Develop their ability to present - in written and verbal form -- coherent, balanced arguments about the social and ethical dimensions of developments in science and engineering research and innovation.
  5. Use a range of research skills to plan and execute an original report reflecting on how they might respond to the challenges of being a responsible researcher in their intended field of
Reading List
Balmer, A, Calvert, J, Marris, C, Molyneux-Hodgson, S, Frow, E, Kearnes, M, Bulpin, K, Schyfter, P, Mackenzie, A and Martin, P (2015) Taking Roles in Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Reflections on working in Post-ELSI Spaces in the UK Synthetic Biology Community, Science and Technology Studies 28 (3): 3-25

Bubela, T., Hagen, G. & Einsiedel, E. (2012) Synthetic biology confronts publics and policy makers: challenges for communication, regulation and commercialization. Trends in Biotechnology 30(3): 132-137.

Burgess, J. (2005) Follow the argument where it leads: Some personal reflections on 'policy-relevant' research, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 30 (3): 273-281.

De Marchi, B. & Ravetz, J. R. (1999) Risk management and governance: a post-normal science approach. Futures 31:743-757.

Holliman, R. (2004) Media coverage of cloning: a study of media content, production and reception, Public Understanding of Science,13, 107-130.

Macnaghten, P. & Owen, R. (2011) Good governance for geoengineering, Nature, Vol 479: 293.

Owen, R., Mcnaghten, P. & Stilgoe, J. (2012) Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society. Science and Public Policy 39: 751-760.

Sarewitz, D. & Pielke, R. Jnr. (1999) Prediction in science and policy. Technology in Society 21: 121-133.

Schot, J.W. (1992), Constructive Technology Assessment and Technology Dynamics, The Case of Clean Technologies. Science, Technology & Human Values 17 36-56.

Smith, R.D.J., Scott, D., Kamwendo, Z.T., Calvert, J. (2019) An Agenda for Responsible Research and Innovation in ERA CoBioTech. Swindon, UK: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and ERA CoFund on Biotechnology

Stilgoe, J., Watson, M. & Kuo, K. (2013) Public engagement with biotechnologies offers lessons for the governance of geoengineering research and beyond. Plos Biology, e1001707

Stirling A. (2012) Opening up the politics of knowledge and power in bioscience, PLoS Biology, 10(1) e1001233.

Tait J. (2009) Upstream engagement and the governance of science: the shadow of the genetically modified crops experience in Europe, EMBO Reports, 10 (Supplement 1): S18-S22.

Williams, Robin (2006) Compressed foresight and narrative bias: Pitfalls in assessing high technology futures, Science As Culture, Vol. 15, No. 4, 327 - 348.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students will have strengthened their skills in:

- considering how the concept of responsible research and innovation might be pertinent to their own research activities;
- considering the responses and orientation of a range of stakeholders in relation to their proposed area of research and its implications for their research project;
- presenting information visually and orally (in seminars and essays).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Robin Williams
Tel: (0131 6)50 6387
Course secretaryMr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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