First Asia Pacific Responsible Business Innovation 2014 in Kuching, Malaysia. 19th February 2014.

Posted on: 20.02.2014

RRI_workshop malaysia

The ‘First Asia Pacific Responsible Business Innovation Workshop 2014’ was held by the RESPONSIBILITY project team of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) on 19th February, at Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites, Kuching, Sarawak. RESPONSIBILITY stands for “Global Model and Observatory for International Responsible Research and Innovation Coordination”. Dr. Rohaya Mohd Nor from the Business Faculty of Unimas and head of the Responsibility Team in Unimas was the chairperson of the workshop. The aim was to bring together various stakeholders from different background and business entities that directly or indirectly play a role in promoting, practicing or propagating Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the context of Asia Pacific region.

As this workshop was the first to be conducted in Asia Pacific, hence its primary focus was to open a constructive dialogue with business and other stakeholders from Malaysia and other part of Asia Pacific Region and the and RESPONSIBILITY project consortium. The RESPONSIBILITY project consortium consists of 13 partners (10 institutions are from the EU countries; 3 institutions are from the non-EU countries). Through this workshop, the RESPONSIBILITY project obtained views and positions regarding certain areas that the project that will become actions implementing its strategy, on the dissemination and integration of Responsible Research and Innovation.

The workshop started with the welcome and introduction of Dr. Rohaya Mohd Nor, Workshop Chair and Dr. Zaharya Menevidis, RESPONSIBILITY project Coordinator. It was officially opened by Prof Dato’ Dr Mohamad Kadim bin Suaidi, Vice Chancelor of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak who pointed out that “Technology should be built with the 3As in mind – accessible, affordable and appropriate – in order for it to be useful to society”, and continued “There is no point in having technology that is a misfit and not giving benefit to us”. According to him, the 3A concept is crucial in the university’s research work.

At the following press conference, Dr. Rohaya revealed that RRI is a concept already accepted in Europe. “As network researcher for Unimas and other universities, we are accepted in the network and we are invited to the consortium once we submit our proposal.” Rohaya explained that Unimas is seen as important from the aspect of RRI in areas that need to be explored such as halal products. “If we are to start with the supply chain, we start at the halal concept from the mind of the scientist,” she explained.

On RRI, Ms. Elena Tavlaki, the consortiums’ spokesperson, said the idea and concept behind it emerged from society itself – as many technologies were developing very fast and not easy to absorb but which every society was keen to follow. “So the idea is to have this new technology and innovation to evolve with society. Meaning technology has to be with the society and for the society,” she stressed. “And the work has started to be complicated and we cannot work as individuals or countries alone,” she added.

The co-ordinator for Responsibility Project Dr Zaharya Menevidis said from the engineering view, RRI is not only for Europe but for the whole world. “When we talk about responsibility, we know about the idea and learn from others. We then know the common definition and understanding among us. So this is what we hope from the workshop,” he said.

The RESPONSIBILITY project aimed also to learn from invited participants and listen about business concerns and ideas, and exchange views on new proposals about RRI tools, engagement processes, operation and shared value to society. The workshop in Malaysia added value to the RESPONSIBILITY Forum and Observatory, and got access to ideas to promote business innovation through partnerships for both business and the society. As this workshop was the first to be conducted in Asia Pacific, hence its primary focus is to encourage constructive dialogues between targeted stakeholders of RRI and RESPONSIBILITY project consortium. The invited stakeholders as participants of the workshop were guided to identify key issues that are pertinent in the context of RRI, and supporting the notion of Responsible Business as An Enabler of Innovation. The discussions and dialogues were divided in four groups: (a) R&D and Commercialization (Governance Policies & Procedures), (b) Business Innovation and Application of RRI, (c) RRI in Science, Technology & ICT (Design, Development and Application) and (d) RRI Participation and Engagement.

The project will further utilize the workshop outcomes as a learning tool to understand concerns and issues pertinent to the construction of Responsibility Forum and Observatory. Three keynote speakers, Prof Dr Jane Cardosa, Mr Goh Su Gim and Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot were invited to speak at the event. Prof Philippe Goujon from the Namur University, presented the RESPONSIBILITY Project and GREAT Project (Governance frameworks for REsponsible research and innovation) as consortium partner and project coordinator respectively. This workshop was held in conjunction with the Third Annual Meeting of Responsibility that took place at the same venue, 20th through 23rd February 2014.