Responsible Innovation Practices of Sustainable Entrepreneurs in Making the Transition towards Sustainable Agricultural, Water and Energy Systems

Project: Staff

Project Details


Climate change requires new green technologies and transitions in socio-technical systems. A key leverage points for this transition is found in sustainable entrepreneurs, who establish New Technology Based Firms (NTBF’s) providing innovative solutions. The sustainable innovations provided by NTBFs can be considered responsible innovations (RI) since they address a so-called ‘grand challenges’ of our time, namely climate change. Because the concept of RI is mainly researched in the context of research programs, this research project focusses on the opportunities of RI in the private sector in general and NTBFs and academic spin-offs in particular.
On the one hand, RI can be seen as an opportunity for sustainable entrepreneurs; it can create new opportunities, increase stakeholder engagement and better embedding of new innovations in society. On the other hand, it is expected that the RI agenda can be hindered because NTBFs are often small and have limited financial and capital resources during the potentially unprofitable start-up phase. Many processes consistent with RI use precious resources, meaning there could be tensions between the potential opportunities and the challenge to be profitable. It is not clear, in other words, how NTBFs are able to access and adopt opportunities presented by RI processes, how NTBF entrepreneurs deal with potential trade-offs, and what systemic dynamics in the innovation system are involved. To answer these questions, this research will explore how dimensions of RI are applied by European NTBF start-ups developing climate change innovations in the agri-food, water and energy sector, how sustainable entrepreneurship can benefit from RI, and how the innovation systems sustainable entrepreneurs operate in can be supportive to increase the opportunities and lower the threats of RI for NTBFs.
Effective start/end date1/03/1628/02/18


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