Responsible Innovation of Medical Technologies

From September 2012, Anne Kerr, Chris Till and Paul Ellwood worked together with a multidisciplinary group of Leeds University scientists actively engaged in developing new medical technologies to explore responsible innovation in a 1 year study funded as part of the Innovation Knowledge Centre in Regenerative Technologies and Devices (funded by the EPSRC, TSB & BBSRC).

Following an analysis of current policy, professional and academic approaches to responsible innovation to identify the key frameworks, models and metrics for its articulation and promotion, the team tracked the development of three new devices being developed as part of the IKC, exploring the ways in which practitioners, their partners, sponsors and advisors, approached issues of risk, benefit and responsibility in their work, including their use of particular kinds of models and metrics to guide / gauge their activities, and how this shaped the development of the technologies. 

We focussed upon the ways in which risks, benefits and responsibilities are conceptualised and approached at different stages of the projects, and the roles of different actors in these processes. This included an ‘action research’ element, designed in collaboration with scientists, including engagement with key stakeholders at important junctures in the projects where their views and perceptions fed into the innovation process. 

We analysed the production, distribution and management of responsible innovation in these projects, mapped key actors, tensions and effects, and reflected on the implications of the findings for the wider effort to promote and deliver responsible innovation in the medical technologies sector and beyond.