ASU director founds new journal on responsible innovation

March 7, 2014

Interdisciplinary scholars of responsible innovation have a new intellectual space to share, compare and debate their research and ideas with the release of the inaugural issue of the Journal of Responsible Innovation (JRI). David Guston, director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU (CNS-ASU) and co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, is the journal’s founding editor-in-chief. He led an international team of scholars in proposing the academic journal to the British publishing house Taylor & Francis.

The journal covers a wide range of responsible innovation topics beyond traditional risk and environmental health and safety concerns, such as the broader and more subtle issues of the moral, cultural, political, religious, democratic and sustainability implications of innovation and research. David Guston and the Journal of Responsible Innovation Cover Download Full Image

While responsible innovation is not an entirely new concept, a coalesced group of researchers around the topic, as well as a centralized publication space, is.

“JRI gives this emerging community a chance to address its research and policy concerns in a systematic and coherent fashion,” says Guston.

The journal aims to create an arena for interdisciplinary discussion among a range of responsible innovation scholars, “from people who, on the one hand, do the philosophy and ethics of science and technology, to the people on the other who do the more hardnosed, practical technology assessments,” says Guston. That range includes not only scholars developing and studying responsible innovation, but also policymakers implementing it, scientists and engineers attempting to practice it and all of those trying to teach it.

The journal will publish traditional journal articles and research reports, as well as reviews, discussion papers and perspectives on current political, technical and cultural events that don’t often lend themselves to succinct black and white conclusions. Pedagogical articles will round out the journal.

To that end, the first issue’s offerings include, among others, an empirical case study of the de facto governance of financial innovation in the private sector; a debate over whether attempting to envision the future is an effective practice for responsible innovation; a perspective on the new responsible innovation framework implemented by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom; and a meditation on "Fixed," the award-winning documentary film about human enhancement technologies.

All of the journal’s associate editors are part of the new Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation (VIRI), a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and also housed at CNS-ASU. The institute, international in scope, aims to understand responsible innovation and integrate it in academic, government and corporate settings.

“The co-location of JRI and VIRI provides an extremely valuable opportunity to maximize synergies. A lot of what the VIRI network is actively developing might end up being presented and analyzed in the journal,” says Erik Fisher, associate director of CNS-ASU, assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies and an associate editor of the new journal. Fisher leads the NSF-funded project “Socio-technical Integration Research," also known as STIR, which embeds social scientists and humanists in natural science laboratories.

Guston’s leadership with CNS-ASU adds to this synergy, as the center has led the development of a vision for anticipatory governance by building capacities to anticipate research challenges and outcomes, increase public engagement in the innovation process and integrate perspectives from social and natural scientists, engineers, humanists, ethicists and others around responsible innovation.

The launch of the journal comes on the heels of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) symposium “Responsible Innovation in a Global Context,” held at their annual conference in Chicago on Feb. 15. The symposium was led by Guston, and included Fisher as well as participants from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom. A reception celebrating the launch of the new journal, co-sponsored by Taylor & Francis and the Bassetti Foundation, was also held at the AAAS conference.

While the first issue is international in scope, Fisher anticipates that future issues of JRI will also have multinational themes. “Various regional and national approaches to responsible innovation can be displayed, explored, distinguished and compared in the journal,” says Fisher.

The journal will publish three issues per year, and submissions are welcome year-round. For more information, please visit the Taylor & Francis website.

To find out more about CNS-ASU, VIRI or STIR, please visit the CNS website:

Jennifer Pillen Banks

Communications program coordinator, Center for Nanotechnology in Society


Students crowdfund Seattle trip to visit design studios

March 7, 2014

It’s officially spring break, and some 50 Arizona State University students are heading, no, not to the beach, but to Seattle to be inspired by the city’s top design professionals.

For ASU’s Graphic Design Student Association (GDSA), the trip is an annual rite of passage that whisks students into professional design studios in a different major city every year. This academic year, the group also undertook an enthusiastic and highly successful effort to crowdfund the trip so that a larger number of students would be able to go. three ASU students Download Full Image

“The trip opens a lot doors for us,” said GDSA president Joey Raiton, a junior from Ahwatukee, Ariz., who said going on the trip as a freshman changed his life. “These designers step down from their professional level to talk with us, bring us into their studios and show us everything, because as students we are extremely interested in what they do.”

Raiton and his team of GDSA officers, all juniors, spearheaded the fundraising effort called “Send Design Students to Seattle” on behalf of their members – all of them enrolled in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. To raise the money, GDSA partnered with ASU Foundation via its new charitable online PitchFunder program. Watch the GDSA video pitch.

“GDSA’s campaign was our first to surpass their fundraising goal,” said Tiffany Antor, assistant director, Office of Annual Giving, ASU Foundation. “These students are organized, creative and passionate, and I think this was the real key to their success. They were able to coordinate a large group of more than 60 champions, or online advocates, and use their passion to drive outstanding fundraising results.”

Mookesh Patel, associate professor of visual communications design in The Design School at Herberger, has been advising GDSA officers for nearly two decades. He noted that the considerable cost of airfare, hotel, local transportation and other expenses often puts the annual trip out of reach for many students. He credits good planning by this year’s officers for making the Seattle dream trip come true for a record number of future design professionals.

“The trip rewards students in many different ways,” he explained. “It expands their professional horizons, builds their confidence and, on the other side, lets the design world at-large get a glimpse of the high caliber of students from ASU’s Visual Communication Design Program.

“In the past, our students have visited New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago, as well as Seattle. In all of these cities, design professionals have extended the same warmth and education to our students.”

According to Raiton, students organize all aspects of the trip, including researching and contacting local design businesses to request their participation. The goal is to visit a variety of firms recognized for cutting-edge design – ranging from small, boutique shops to larger and more established design studios. Likewise, the students try to line up participants who specialize in different design areas, such as branding and identification, print, digital, packaging, user experience and so on.

In the Seattle area, for example, the students were able to confirm eight design organizations to host GDSA, including such creative leaders as Deloitte Digital, Digital Kitchen and Microsoft Design. Raiton said networking with professionals is especially valuable given that design students today are trained more broadly than in the past, studying a wide spectrum of marketing-related subjects.

“A lot of people don’t realize that today’s graphic designers have a bigger knowledge base,” he explained. “We don’t just know how to design something that looks appealing, but we know how to market, too.”

The expanded role of designers will be evident in those Seattle firms visited by the students, said GDSA treasurer Lizelle Galaz of Nogales, Mexico.

“It’s not just designers making all this cool-looking stuff,” she said. “These design studios also have market researchers, creative managers and web developers – a really broad range of people working on projects together. So design is no longer the cherry on top to make everything look pretty. Now it’s collaboration among many different fields that makes a successful studio.”

ASU’s graphic design program in The Design School is highly competitive, explained GDSA secretary Michelle Hughes of Scottsdale, Ariz. Students pursuing an undergraduate degree are required to pass a portfolio milestone at the end of their freshman year to be eligible to continue.

“On average, of roughly 300 freshmen, only about 40 students make the cut to continue in graphic design,” she said.

As a result, students within each cohort spend a lot of time together, said GDSA vice president Alessandra Sica of Phoenix: “Going on this trip is a good time to be with my friends and learn more about something we all love – which is why we’re all friends and why we’re so close.”

Most of all, the annual design trip offers students an opportunity to network with professionals and open a window to their future careers.

“The trip gives you something to look forward to, in terms of what you can do after you graduate,” Galaz said. “As a student, you can get buried in projects and lose sight of what you’re building toward. Talking to these Seattle designers and seeing their amazing work, you can see yourself in their shoes.”