Institut für Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement
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Responsibility in the spotlight at Europe’s largest conference for research and innovation


The ESOF is the largest showroom for EU funded research and annually attracts an audience of 4,000 individuals from industry, research, policy and civil society. This year, a particular focus was set on showcasing on-going European projects dealing with responsible innovation. Katharina Jarmai and Norma Schönherr, both project managers at the Institute for Managing Sustainability, seized this opportunity to present two large projects on responsible innovation in industry funded by the current European Commission’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” and coordinated by the Institute for Managing Sustainability: COMPASS ( and LIVING INNOVATION (

In the first part of the workshop organized by the Institute for Managing Sustainability, five experts from research and industry pitched their most important messages about meaningful collaboration for responsible innovation in industry.

  • The issue of meaningful collaboration was introduced by André Martinuzzi, head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability in Austria, who pointed out the importance of trustful relationships, commitment and learning on both sides.

  • Insights on creating value from collaboration from a case study set in the healthcare sector were offered by Karsten Bolz, project leader for innovation and technology at Steinbeis 2i in Germany, who emphasized the importance of creating spaces for collaboration.

  • A first-hand account of why and how a medium-sized IT company in the UK became engaged with the issue of responsible innovation was given by Julie Dawson, director of regulatory and policy at Yoti Ltd. in the UK.

  • The importance of language in collaboration was described by Emad Yaghmaei, research fellow in ethics and technology at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

  • Experiences from awareness raising and employee engagement campaigns at Atos were recounted by Lydia Montandon, business development director at Atos Research and Innovation group.

In the second part of the workshop, the 40 workshop participants were invited to discuss challenges and success factors of meaningful collaboration with one of the five speakers at five different tables. To wrap up the workshop, discussion facilitators Katharina Jarmai (Institute for Managing Sustainability), Heike Vogel-Pöschl (Institute for Managing Sustainability), Josephina Antoniou (University of Central Lancashire Cyprus), Catherine Flick (De Montfort University) and Margaret Pesuit (Isinnova) summed up the discussion outputs. They emphasized the importance of understanding each other’s contexts and objectives, the need to create trustful relationships and the relevance of sufficient information on both sides combined with a high level of process transparency as success factors for meaningful collaboration. Such conditions of mutual understanding, trust and transparency form the basis for collaboration that creates learning on both sides and enables the development of better solutions for the company and society alike.

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