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The Online Forum on Responsible Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond Held


May 18, the Forum on Responsible Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond was successfully held online, and more than 140 experts and scholars across the world participated in this online conference.  

The forum was jointly organized by Institutes of Science and Development of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD), the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD) at the University of Oxford, the Sino-UK Innovation Policy and Management Research Network (Sino-UK IRN), the Faculty of Business Administration (FBA) at the University of Macau and the China Institute for Science & Technology Policy (CISTP) at Tsinghua University.  

In the opening speech, Prof. Jiaofeng PAN emphasized that the world has undergone profound changes with uncertainties on the rise. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all countries were facing unprecedented challenges in economic and social development. Science and technology have played a critical role in the battle against COVID-19 in most of the countries. With the rapid growth of new technologies and its uncertainty, tremendous and sometimes irreversible impact on humans and human society, the responsible governance of scientific research and technological innovation has become the global concern of both public and politics. People gradually realized that research and innovation must be conducted in a responsible manner. Derived from the philosophy of technology, the concept of responsible innovation was introduced as a new approach to technological management, a major innovation governance perspective and practice, and a new analytical and policy tool.  

Prof. CHEN Jean, Dean of FBA at the University of Macau, highlighted that the development of technology has a huge impact on the world economy and the society, and the outbreak of the pandemic has accelerated the technology application. Innovation is at the heart of the technology application, which plays an extremely important role in reshaping all aspects of the economy.  

Prof. XUE Lan, Director of CISTP at Tsinghua University, stressed that in the process of accelerating technological development and technology application, attention should be paid to the possible negative impacts of new technologies and how to minimize the risks to meet the challenges. Therefore, the basic principles of responsible science and technology innovation need to be actively explored to make important contributions to the progress of human civilization.  

In the closing remarks, MA Mingjie, Director of Innovation Institute of Development Research Center of the State Council, spoke about how responsible innovation is completely different from the traditional approach to technology innovation and how it is difficult to give it a precise definition. In Chinese practice, the biggest challenge comes from digital innovation, and it is important for the government to explore how to use policy tools to stimulate the innovation. 

Prof. XIONG Yu, Associate Dean at University of Surrey, suggested that cooperation among countries is important to achieve responsible innovation in front of new issues and ethical problems brought about by emerging technologies. Currently, this topic is widely discussed in the UK and Europe, and many projects have been launched to support responsible innovation and the research related to sustainable development. We hope to contribute to responsible innovation through collaborative research and making changes in business practices. 

Prof. Xiaolan FU, Director of TMCD at the University of Oxford, said that in the face of uncertainties, scholars from various institutions should strengthen international cooperation in future work and discuss how to conduct responsible innovation in the post-pandemic era in different academic contexts. 

This forum with the theme on Responsible Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond is also the first event after the official launch of the Sino-UK Innovation Policy and Management Research Network (Sino-UK IRN). The conference focused on two themes, namely, the engagement of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices in innovation activities and the development of responsible digital innovations for inclusive and sustainable development.  

Sino-UK Innovation Policy and Management Research Network (Sino-UK IRN) was established in November 2019 by the Institutes of Science and Development of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD) and the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD) at the University of Oxford, with the aim of playing an important role as a platform and window to promote Sino-UK science and technology exchanges and cooperation. It is supported by more than 30 major research institutions and universities in China and UK, including University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, National Academy of Innovation Strategy, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang University, South China University of Technology, Tsinghua University, Beihang University, Beijing Institute of Technology etc.