Next Generation Responsible Innovation

September 6th, 2020

Young Australians designing the future of responsible science, technology and innovation
Project Duration: April 2021 – October 2021
Overhead view of students in after school computer coding class learning to program Robert vehicle


Next Generation place responsible innovation front of mind

The Challenge

We know that science and technology have the power to change our world but how do we ensure that change will generate positive benefits, now and for future generations? And how do we design for a future when we don’t really know what it holds?

Scientific research and technology development are highly complex and multi-faceted. How we design and develop new and potentially disruptive technologies can have implications on both our environment and society – implications we must anticipate and plan for. Science and technology are human endeavours, and at the heart of this lies responsibility. The decisions we make now can leave a legacy on our world for generations to come.

Including the input of young Australians in discussions on responsible science, technology and innovation provides opportunities to identify their priorities, aspirations and possible solutions to current and future challenges. Engaging young people in the conversation about responsible innovation taps into innovator diversity and creates a cross-generational vision for how we might develop innovative solutions using science and technology.

Responding to the Challenge

CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform (FSP) and Education and Outreach (CEdO) teams are collaborating to mobilise and develop the best science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent for the future of Australia. A pilot project is underway to develop new modes of learning and enquiry that will enable young Australians to inform the responsible design and use of future science and technology and to consider innovative solutions.

By harnessing the curiosity and blue sky thinking of Australian students, the pilot project uses design thinking in a series of online workshops. The aim is to unlock their future visions for responsible science and technology. Students and alumni (18 to 21 years) of CSIRO Education and Outreach programs engage in facilitated workshops that provide a place to connect and reflect as they participate in learning supported by student driven engagement tools.

Project Impacts

This work advances CSIRO’s objective to foster STEM interests in Australian students. The project enables the participation of young Australians in responsible innovation and informs the principles for delivering socially responsible science and technology to solve our greatest challenges. It is anticipated that the outputs of the project will be developed into materials for use in Australian primary and high schools to grow our next generation’s engagement with responsible innovation.


CSIRO: Sarah Yates, Gemma Reid, Sarah McDonnell and Martijn Mooij (Project Leader)

Additional information on this project is available as follows:

CSIRO: Skilling up the scientists and innovators of the future:


CSIRO: Explore Education and Outreach, CSIRO Education:

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Embedding responsible innovation thinking in the next generation of STEM professionals