4th Annual VIRI meeting in Szeged

The 4th annual VIRI meeting took place on 4-5 October 2018 in Szeged, Hungary. The event was hosted by the First Hungarian Responsible Innovation Association. The small gathering included 14 participants from Australia, the UK, the US, and throughout Europe.

The meeting began with a joint sightseeing tour which enabled the participants to discuss historical and current developments in Hungary and in Szeged.

In keeping with a VIRI tradition, the first day began with presentations from early-carrier researchers: Johnathan Hankins discussed connections between beauty and RRI, Cian O’Donovan discussed different types of human agency within automation, and Nikoletta Nádas detailed attitudes towards RRI among researchers-in-the-making. The day concluded with an panel debate about the accomplishments of and challenges facing RRI as a scholarly field.

The second day focused on the practical implementation of RRI: Armin Grunwald presented a sophisticated new framework for understanding technology assessment, Tsjalling Swierstra detailed the “mainstreaming” of RRI in the Dutch case, and Sujatha Raman provided an overview of the Australian context for RRI in light of emerging capacities for “responsive novelty.” After a working lunch devoted to a special issue of the Journal of Responsible Innovation on RRI Futures, the meeting turned to a challenge-solution game on self-driving cars, facilitated by Béla Kézy, an international consultant in urban development based in Hungary.

Filling out the day, Hannot Rodriguez introduced anticipation as a socio-epistemic practice, Christine Aicardi critiqued RRI in neuro-ICT, and Miklós Lukovics presented the results of his recent poll of public attitudes towards self-driving cars in Hungary. The meeting concluded with project reports from Péter Kakuk, who introduced the SMART-Map project (Horizon2020); Biborka Janáky-Bohner, who detailed the results of the D-STIR project (Danube Transnational Programme); and Beáta Udvari, who gave a short introduction to ROSIE project (Central Europe).

The organizers also made sure that participants experienced the unique characteristics of the host country: traditional Hungarian food was served with traditional Hungarian live music, including an authentic Hungarian gipsy band. Participants were coached in learning and performing a traditional Hungarian song, “Az a Szép.”

The next meeting is expected to be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands.