First responsible innovation project showcase in CSIRO
On 1 June 2023, responsible innovation project leaders from across CSIRO converged in Brisbane to share their project highlights for the first time in the RI FSP’s history.
The Responsible Innovation Project Showcase was an opportunity for project leaders to share their project highlights and outcomes with each other, as well as an opportunity to meet other RI researchers working across future science and technology in CSIRO. The projects showcased on the day ranged from well-established to brand new projects and covered the breadth of our core focus areas of RI:
- emerging digital technologies (AI, quantum technologies)
- environmental-scale interventions (hydrogen energy technologies/infrastructure, advanced plastics recycling)
- socially responsive genetic technologies (disruptive food innovations, immune resilience).
While RI can be a challenging concept to grasp, the showcase confirmed that a solid science portfolio has been established and is continuing to grow across multiple research areas within CSIRO.
“Seeing the maturity of this scientific portfolio and how it has developed since late 2017 along with the shared findings about responsible innovation emerging across science and technology domains tells me we are on the right track,” said Dr Justine Lacey, RI FSP Director. “The work of these teams also demonstrates that it is possible to move responsible innovation from aspiration to reality in our science delivery.”
The range of presentations also showcased the complexities and kinds of challenges being tackled by these teams, and it was evident new synergies and connections are being formed across projects and themes.
Dr Melanie McGrath, who works across the RI and Collaborative Intelligence FSPs, commented, “Listening to the research underway in the other projects is helping me to identify the methodological approaches we might use to handle the ‘messiness’ of human attitudes, interactions and behaviours across a range of future science areas”.
The diversity of the current RI projects is further reflected in the teams that draw on the broad range of scientific expertise from across six of CSIRO’s Business Units (Environment, Data61, Health & Biosecurity, Agriculture & Food, Energy, Manufacturing). Three of our senior RI researchers from across CSIRO shared their reflections on the development of the research portfolio and community.
Dr Conrad Sanderson, a machine learning expert based in Data61, reflected that the Responsible AI project he is involved with had provided a valuable opportunity to research a topic adjacent to his own expertise, as well as contribute to a new research agenda on AI ethics and work with an interdisciplinary team that had facilitated cross-pollination of ideas. This resulted in new thinking and approaches, leading to impactful outcomes in the translation of AI ethics into practice.
Dr Sinead Golley, a behavioural scientist based in Health & Biosecurity, showcased new results from her project on disruptive food innovations and reflected on the high degree of collegiality among CSIRO’s diverse RI research community. She also noted that the breadth of the research demonstrated how integral RI was in the delivery of CSIRO’s future science and technology agenda.
Dr Rod McCrea, a social scientist based in Environment, shared his team’s progress on measuring and modelling public perceptions of responsible innovation. In reflecting on the day, he offered that RI may function as a framework for effective risk management and a precondition for societal acceptance, locating it as part of a more holistic understanding of how future science and technologies are designed, deployed and impact the world.