Governing beyond the project: Refocusing innovation governance in emerging science and technology funding

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Abstract

This article analyses how a recent idiom of innovation governance, ‘responsible innovation’, is enacted in practice, how this shapes innovation processes, and what aspects of innovation are left untouched. Within this idiom, funders typically focus on one point in an innovation system: researchers in projects. However, the more transformational aspirations of responsible innovation are circumscribed by this context. Adopting a mode of critique that assembles, this article considers some alternative approaches to governing the shared trajectories of science, technology, and society. Using the idea of institutional invention to focus innovation governance on four inflection points—agendas, calls, spaces, evaluation—would allow funding organizations and researchers to look ‘beyond the project’, developing new methods to unpack and reflect on assumed purposes of science, technology, and innovation, and to potentially reconfigure the institutions that condition scientific practice.

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Smith, R. D. J., Schäfer, S., & Bernstein, M. J. (2023). Governing beyond the project: Refocusing innovation governance in emerging science and technology funding. Social Studies of Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/03063127231205043

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