Responsible Research and Innovation in Agriculture and Food

Date: 13th June 2018

Time: 3:30-5:30 pm

Venue: Banquet Hall (Festsaal Erweiterung), University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna


Vincent Blok (Wageningen University) 

Bernice Bovenkerk (Wageningen University) 

Bart Gremmen (Wageningen University) 

Corresponding Organizer:

Vincent Blok (vincent.blok(at)

Context and Aims: 

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is an emerging field in the European research and innovation (R&I) policy context that aims to balance economic, socio-cultural and environmental aspects in innovation processes (European Commission 2011). Because technological innovations can contribute significantly to the solution of societal challenges like climate change or food security, but can also have negative societal consequences, it is assumed that social and ethical aspects should be considered during the R&I process. By involving multiple stakeholders in R&I processes at an early stage, “societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view to the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products” (von Schomberg 2013). The consideration of ethical and social aspects during R&I processes will lead not only to technological innovations which are ethical acceptable, but also sustainable and socially desirable (cf. Matter 2011). The concept of RRI expresses the ambition to address societal needs, next to the more traditional objectives of R&I like economic growth, profit maximization, competitive advantage etc. (cf. Blok & Lemmens 2015). This workshop aims to explore the opportunities, advantages and disadvantages of the emerging concept of RRI in the field of agricultural and food ethics. 

Key Questions:

  • How can the concept of RRI shed a new light on social-ethical issues in agriculture and food production and consumption?
  • Does the concept of RRI help to identify and solve social-ethical issues in the field of agriculture and food? 
  • How can the application of RRI frameworks help to better embed agricultural and food technologies in society?
  • How can the RRI framework be applied in the assessment of controversial emerging technologies in the agricultural sector (PLF, genetic modification etc.)?
  • How can the RRI concept be applied to improve animal welfare? 

Target Group:

Contributions are invited to reflect on these and other issues from various perspectives (e.g. responsible innovation, technology assessment, animal welfare, agricultural and food ethics, environmental ethics etc.). The main focus of the workshop is on researchers, but may be of interest for practitioners who want to implement the RRI concept in their R&D practices. 

Key Words: 

Responsible Research and Innovation, agricultural technology, food technology, Agricultural ethics, food ethics.