Getting SMEs into RRI at the Responsible Nano Breakfast in Brussels

2nd, March, 2017, François Jégou

The first RNB (Responsible Nano breakfast) took place on the 1st of March morning in Brussels. The meeting was set up to initiate the dialogue with nanoelectronics companies about Responsible Innovation.

There were two highlights of this breakfast meeting: the intervention of Roger De Keersmaecker, co-founder of IMEC and member of the COMPASS project Advisory board and first screening of first winner of COMPASS case study competition –  a video testimony of the start-up Applied Nanoparticles S.L. that facilitates in the production of biogas from biodegradable nanoparticles.

Why retaining these two interventions in particular? Roger De Keersmaecker presented his insights from the expert paper (soon to be published on the COMPASS website) that speaks of the nanotech sector and of nanoelectronics arouse interest in the concept of Responsible Innovation. While the four witnesses from Applied Nanoparticles SL delivered their insights into what responsible innovation means to them, they start from their specific company history, from their concerns and the opportunities in their own business that motivates their interests in designing their specific responsible research and innovation process: “… rather than worrying about what happens to nanoparticles after their use, we have designed these nanoparticles to be biodegradable once their action is accomplished … “.

The COMPASS will draw on these two examples to evolve the Responsible Innovation Labs method, namely by:

  • Expunging, as much as possible, the guilt or threatening speech and instead adopt a constructive attitude on “nanotechnologies in society”; and,
  • Intensifying the first step of contact with companies by adopting an interview approach, supporting companies in self-diagnosis and identification of the specific springs for each company potentially interested. This will more likely motivate their participation in the process proposed by COMPASS.

We are still in a transitional moment when companies in the nanoelectronics sector have not yet realized the challenges of Responsible Innovation. This is reflected in the mapping of actors participating in this first Responsible Nano Breakfast – the participants were mostly intermediary bodies of the nanotech industry, networks and associations. Like Roger De Keersmaecker advised: “we must aim for our consortium to involve 5 to 10 precursors interested in each of the 3 sectors of nanoelectronics, cybersecurity and health to make them the champions of the RI-labs process likely to trigger the commitment of followers SMEs…”

The next steps are now going to be the organisation of RI-Labs to co-design roadmaps towards Responsible Innovation for and with companies.  Are you:

  • based in or close to Belgium and do you deal with nanotechnologies?
  • based in Spain and do you deal with biomedecine?
  • based in the UK and deal with cybersecurity?

Would you like to get into the opportunities Responsible Innovation brings and receive some support for your company to develop your own roadmap that will require only 2,5 days of your time over 5 months? Get in touch with us!

You can see the presentations from the meeting here. And sign up to receive an update when the testimonial video and more information about the featured case study from Applied Nanoparticles SL will be published!

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