On irresponsibility in times of crisis: learning from the response to the Zika virus outbreak

Marko Monteiro, Clare Shelley-Egan, Jim Dratwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This perspective paper offers some first thoughts regarding the current Zika virus outbreak and the immediate response it generated in health and research policy. We suggest that in times of emergent health crises, irresponsibilities may arise in the way responses which involve science and technology are framed and implemented. These pertain both to how such situations emerge under a crisis frame, and to pre-existing irresponsibilities which condition how such crises unfold. Reflecting on these irresponsibilities helps to clarify both how crucial it is to promote responsibility in research and innovation in everyday situations, and how important it is to maintain vigilance in times of crisis. We argue that care for the future needs to incorporate attention to persisting inequalities, which become especially salient in moments of emergency and which condition how crises are dealt with and the role innovation is perceived to play in their solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Zika virus
  • responsible research and innovation
  • public health ethics
  • research policy


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