Organisational institutionalisation of responsible innovation

Owen, Richard; Pansera, Mario; Macnaghten, Phil; Randles, Sally


We describe the institutionalisation of responsible innovation (RI) over the last decade at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and universities funded by it as a focal point for RI in the UK. Drawing on organisational theory we identify factors influencing the dynamics of RI institutionalisation, including forces of legitimation, entrepreneurship and decoupling. We report significant institutionalisation at the EPSRC prior to 2013, when it published its RI policy. Notwithstanding instances of experimentation and assimilation since, we report limited institutionalisation within research communities in universities as RI has encountered competing institutional logics, responsibility norms and epistemic practices. Our findings suggest an ongoing and dynamic process of translation that reflects RI's status as a performative and contested discourse ‘in the making’.