Responsible Innovation in the Active and Assisted Living domain

The AAL Programme and Vilans are organising a workshop on September 23 2024 titled “Responsible Innovation in the Active and Assisted Living domain”. Those involved in the research and development of AAL technologies are invited to collectively reflect on the opportunities and challenges to embedding ethics and responsible innovation into the R&D process.

In the Active and Assisted Living (AAL) domain, new technologies are developed to enable older adults to live a healthy, active and self-determined life for longer. The Responsible Innovation (RI) approach aims to transform R&D into being more anticipatory, inclusive, reflective and responsive towards the social desirability, ethical acceptability and sustainability of innovations. Despite success of the RI discourse in academic and policy fields, research indicates that digital care innovators’ awareness about ethical implications and the ways to address them is limited. This also applies to innovators in the AAL domain.

Vilans – the National Centre of Expertise for Long-term Care in the Netherlands – is doing practice-oriented research on how to narrow the gap between research on ethical and responsible innovation on the one hand, and real-world R&D practices on the other hand. They believe that responsible innovation is not something that can be ‘prescribed’ to innovators from the outside (for instance by ethical guidelines or experts), nor that is something that can be done for innovators. Rather, responsible innovation has to come from ‘within’ the R&D process, from those who actually do the research, design, development and testing of technologies with users. This not only requires intrinsic motivation of innovators to ‘do things right’, to ‘be responsible’, but also practical guidance on how to make responsible innovation part of R&D.

About the workshop

In this workshop, participants will be facilitated to reflect on opportunities to address RI within their own R&D activities in the area of AAL, and think about RI as an integral part of R&D tasks such as co-design, technical development, field testing and commercialisation of AAL technologies. Barriers that may complicate this process will be considered, as well as how these barriers can be addressed in the future by R&D teams, funders and other stakeholders.

Insights will be drawn from a previous AAL project ‘GUARDIAN’ (2020-2023), in which a socially assistive robot was developed to support ageing in place. The PAR in GUARDIAN was conducted with the multidisciplinary R&D team to collectively explore and address how RI could be addressed throughout the project. While the PAR gradually fostered team members’ engagement with RI and resulted in modest actions by the R&D team to improve the robot’s ethical acceptability, it proved especially useful by helping to uncover barriers that actually complicate the embedding of RI in R&D practices.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is relevant for all those who participate in R&D projects in the area of AAL and aspire to foster addressing ethics and responsible innovation (from) within these projects. This includes project coordinators, engineers, co-design specialists, care organisations, etc. In addition, this workshop is also relevant for (representatives of) R&D funding bodies and national contact points, since embedding RI into R&D practices (and addressing barriers that complicate this process) requires reciprocity between different actors such as R&D teams, funders and users.

When and where?

A live workshop will take place on 23 September 2024, in Dutch, at the Vilans office in Utrecht.

An online version will then take place a week later on 01 October 2024, in English.

Find out more here.

This website use cookies. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies Read moreAccept

Want to read more like this?

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest news from the AAL Programme