China National Workshop Report

Executive Summary

  1. Most participants considered RRI as a new concept and were not familiar with it. But they all showed great interest in it, and confirmed its usefulness to their institutions and to China’s research and innovation in general.
  2. All the participants argue that innovation is the key factor driving China’s economic and social development. However, they also agree that China has come to a historical stage where the social impact, social acceptance and social responsibility of scientific research and innovation has to be emphasized and considered seriously.
  3. As the economic and social development phase of China at this moment is different from that of European countries, the responsibilities of innovation are also different. Therefore, when discussing the responsibility of innovation, the situation and needs of China should be considered within a perspective of historical development.
  4. In China, responsibility towards public interest is considered as more important than that towards individual demands, and responsibility towards health and safety issues is considered more important than that towards privacy, open access and gender equality issues.
  5. One prominent problem emerging from the workshop is the conflict of responsibilities, such as efficiency vs. safety, security vs. privacy, etc.
  6. The participants agreed that the public opinion and attitudes towards innovation is important and need to be considered. The challenge, however, is how to increase the quality of public participation when the public’s knowledge and awareness are extremely diversified.