Professor Schot delivered a presentation on Transformative Innovation Policy as a new organising principle to the Norwegian Research Council and the new CEO, John-Arne Rottingen.

The news report below is a translation from www.forskerforum.no

We need a new innovation policy

One new policy for innovation must facilitate the integration of the societal consequences of innovation into the innovation process.

Research and innovation policy should look forward to the future. This was the main topic when the Research Council invited the launching seminar for the Indicator Report 2017. Even the report draws lines twenty years backwards, and describes how the Norwegian research and innovation system has changed during this period. Investing far more in research than twenty years ago, Norwegian researchers are more productive and cooperate more internationally. Quantitative targets indicate that production is of a higher quality. But is that enough?

“If we are working to create good societies as the main objective of research, we can not be so shocked, because we are at the top of all living conditions indicators,” said Espen Solberg of NIFU, who talks about what the Indicator Report says about Norway.

At the same time, he showed that Norway has to face the same challenges as other countries: climate change, migration and resource scarcity, as well as the special Norwegian challenge of finding other resources other than oil and gas. The indicator report has specifically focused on R & D investments in energy, and shows that, even if investments in petroleum research has gone down, none of the respondents seem to be researching renewable energy.

The Research Council had invited Professor Johan Schot, Director of Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, to talk about what research and innovation policy must do in future.

“I like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a focal point to see changes in the world through. The problems they describe are characterized by the fact that they are not going to disappear by themselves. The societal Grand Challenges are a direct consequence of the way we live and work.”

Schot said that the research sector has long been allowed to live away from the challenges in the world. This will not be the case in the future.

“Earlier, one has thought that, even if innovation can have negative consequences in the short term, such as unemployment, the positive consequences in the longer term will offset the negative. It is the principle of Schumpeter’s “creative destruction”. The question is if this longer holds water, he said.

He thinks that the model has so far been that one first researches and innovates, then studies the consequences and introduces regulation.

“We know that the consequences of innovation may be negative as well as positive, the question is whether we can manage the consequences of the innovation process. It needs to involve those who will notice consequences in innovation, and it will necessarily lead us to pursue research and innovation in a different way than today, he said.

At the University of Sussex, Schot is developing a new strategy for such transformation of research and innovation policy. Initially, work is carried out through a consortium of selected countries, where Norway is represented through the Research Council. This is the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium In essence, the consortium has studied concrete policies for innovation and, in turn, viewed the direction of innovation – whether impacts are integrated into innovation policy; whether policies have a clear social goal; and whether they are able to change the habit and the routines as existing systems quarrel.

“Transformation must involve more than just making the existing systems more efficient,” Professor Schot concluded with.

For the next five years, the consortium will be expanded, and a 5 year programme will be launched for the transformation of the research and innovation system.

Arne Norheim, Managing Director of IBM Norway, used his own company to demonstrate the demands for change, making no use of new methods and technologies, but actively removing the old ones.

“Today we are surrounded by huge amounts of information that is unstructured and uncertain. The development goes so fast that the unintended consequences become more serious and more serious.

He thinks that scientists, as much as society, face major changes as a result of digitization. Much research results are so great that they can not benefit those without digital systems, but data networks and systems are at the same time leading to dilemmas that must be resolved with regulation, to judge such as debt privacy and ownership of information.

Managing Director of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen, said that the UN’s nuclear power targets set a good agenda for future research and innovation policies. “Should we be competitive in future, innovation must take place in line with this painting and direction,” he said.

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