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01 June 2021
30 November 2021
Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography
Special Issue Editor(s)
Svein Gunnar Sjøtun,
Mohn Centre for Innovation and Regional Development, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
Marte C.W. Solheim,
Stavanger Centre for Innovation Research, University of Stavanger Business School
Exploring the Geographies of Responsible Innovation
The emergence of various normative currents has become prevalent in contemporary innovation studies and policy. One example of a normative approach gaining attention in European research and policy circles, is ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI) (Stilgoe et al., 2013; Owen et al., 2012). While this framework has brought more attention to how innovation should be practiced in more ethical, inclusive and sustainable ways, it has concomitantly been conceptualized as being an/a ‘ideal, strategy, discourse and discipline’ (Koops, 2015), leaving it difficult to operationalize ontologically, epistemologically and methodologically. Moreover, a focus on the contextual underpinnings of responsible innovation is needed, e.g. how responsibility should be practiced or performed in real-world settings (Jakobsen et al. 2019, Coenen and Morgan, 2020, Thapa et al. 2019). This begs the question of how responsible innovation plays out in different geographies, namely how different places and spaces influence (culturally, socio-politically, economically etc.) situated responsible innovation processes and outcomes. Hence, the overarching aim of this special issue is to present papers that deal with various ‘geographies of responsible innovation’.
One avenue for delving more into such geographies is related to the literature on sustainability transitions (Markard and Truffer, 2012), which itself has been criticized for not being sensitive to geography (Hansen and Coenen, 2015). Despite promising potential of marrying the RRI approach and the literature of sustainability transitions, this explicit connection remains quite vague. However, a stronger integration between responsible innovation and sustainability transitions can for instance lead to a different view on the greening of industries, e.g. how these industries undergo sustainability transitions in more inclusive, reflexive and anticipatory ways.
Another avenue for studying geographies of responsible innovation relates to RRI’s empirical focus. RRI suffers from being overly focused on (already) controversial sectors and technologies (e.g. biotech and IT), and there is a need to move beyond these in order to look at other types of industries and how they engage with responsible innovation (Jakobsen et al. 2019). However, more than merely expanding their industrial focus within the private sector, allowing responsible innovation to engage more thoroughly with the public sector and the civil society sector would be fruitful paths to pursue—be that connected to ‘green innovation’ or ‘social innovation’.
A third avenue for investigation concerns one of the core pillars within RRI, namely which actors are involved in the innovation processes. Recent contributions on diversity for example, shed light on how foreign-born workers are positively associated to international networks and innovation (Solheim and Fitjar, 2018). Still, a timely theme herein, is moving beyond diversity of actors and inclusion itself in order to see how one can create sustainable, responsible innovative solutions on the regional level (Thapa et al. 2019). Contributions that are further able to interlink user-involvement/inclusive practices in various geographical contexts are therefore of particular interest.
Potential topics could include (but are not limited to):
- How different regional contexts stimulate and hamper sustainable transitions and responsible innovation
- How responsible innovation should/could be practiced or performed in real-life settings
- Sustainability transitions case(s) reflecting responsible innovation
- Responsible innovation in previously understudied sectors
- Diversity and inclusion in creating responsible, sustainable solutions, and contextual factors affecting this association
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More about this special issue:
This call for papers is directed towards young researchers in different fields (including, but not limited to, economic geography, regional studies and business management studies) who are invested within innovation studies. The editors of this special issue, both early career researchers, seek contributions from researchers currently enrolled as PhD students, or researchers within 5 years of obtaining their PhD.
Scope of Special issue:
The aim of this special issue is to invite papers that seeks to contribute to the ongoing expansion of studies of responsible innovation in various geographies. We welcome conceptual, theoretical, methodological and empirical papers. As this will be a special issue for the Norwegian Journal of Geography, importance is placed on that papers integrate spatial, scalar or contextual arguments and concepts when understanding responsible innovation. We are mainly seeking contributions reflecting the Norwegian/Nordic context, but are open to include one or two (empirical) contributions from other geographical contexts given that these can be linked to the topic of the special issue.
Expected timeline and practicalities:
-Number of full articles to be included in the special issue: 6
-Full article length: 7000 words (including tables, abstract and references)
-Deadline for abstract submission: June 1st 2021
-Decision on abstracts: June 28th 2021
-Deadline full papers: November 30th 2021
The abstracts should be sent via mail to both the guest editors. Please select the special issue title "Exploring the Geographies of Responsible Innovation" when submitting your paper to ScholarOne. Expected final publication Autumn 2022.