A framework to identify and coordinate responsibilities in industrial research and innovation

M.M. Sonck

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

95 Downloads (Pure)


This doctoral thesis investigates the concept of responsibility in the setting of industrial research and innovation (R&I). Companies have multiple responsibilities in society: profit generation for shareowners, legal and contractual liabilities, as well as socially and morally binding obligations beyond legal compliance. These responsibilities coexist in R&I, and at times, stand in conflict with each other. Moreover, the radical uncertainty of innovation activity raises dilemmas with regard to responsibility. For instance, can R&I practitioners be held responsible for those future impacts of their innovation that still remain unknown at the time of R&I? Furthermore, how should such responsibility be distributed between developers (R&I), enablers (funders, regulators) and appliers (users) of the innovation? To address such questions, the broad notion of responsibility first needs to be opened up, to distinguish between its different meanings and elements. This thesis develops a framework that supports identification and coordination of various responsibilities in the inherently uncertain R&I settings. The main research question of the thesis is: How do different elements of responsibility become identified and carried out in R&I? As outcome, this thesis will present a meta-responsibility map: A tool for industrial R&I teams and consortia to reflect on their responsibilities, in situations such as goalsetting, problem-solving, decision-making, and stakeholder interaction.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Osseweijer, P., Supervisor
  • Asveld, L., Supervisor
Award date8 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Research and innovation
  • Responsibility
  • Biobased sector
  • innovation management
  • Innovation ecosystems
  • Responsible research and innovation (RRI)


Dive into the research topics of 'A framework to identify and coordinate responsibilities in industrial research and innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this