Luck as a challenge for the responsible governance of science and technology

Martin Sand*, Samantha Copeland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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From the early days of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), luck has played the role of an antagonist to responsibility: responsible innovation is, in part, an effort to control for the possible negative effects of luck–the chance that chance itself will take our technologies in directions that we would rather avoid. If we are to have innovations that are socially desirable and ethically acceptable, it seems, we must prevent bad luck by controlling for uncertainty wherever we can. This control-based approach has, however, proven to be impossible, with consequences for the practice of research, for the institutions that fund and guide research directions, and for how we as a society conceive of the potential for responsible research to deal well with the uncertainties of our contemporary and future world. This special issue of the Journal of Responsible Innovation tackles the relationship between responsibility and luck head on, with authors providing assessments and potential solutions for the problems that luck creates, for how researchers conceive of their own responsibilities, how institutions can be more responsible toward research itself, and how we can take luck up into our innovation practices in a productive way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S11
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Governance
  • Luck
  • Responsibility
  • Responsible Research and Innovation
  • Serendipity

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