The Why and How of Enabling the Integration of Social and Ethical Aspects in Research and Development

Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (3):703-725 (2013)
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Abstract

New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) based innovations, e.g. in the field of Life Sciences or Nanotechnology, frequently raise societal and political concerns. To address these concerns NEST researchers are expected to deploy socially responsible R&D practices. This requires researchers to integrate social and ethical aspects (SEAs) in their daily work. Many methods can facilitate such integration. Still, why and how researchers should and could use SEAs remains largely unclear. In this paper we aim to relate motivations for NEST researchers to include SEAs in their work, and the requirements to establish such integration from their perspectives, to existing approaches that can be used to establish integration of SEAs in the daily work of these NEST researchers. Based on our analyses, we argue that for the successful integration of SEAs in R&D practice, collaborative approaches between researchers and scholars from the social sciences and humanities seem the most successful. The only way to explore whether that is in fact the case, is by embarking on collaborative research endeavours

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