Making an exit in research: ethical and practical implications in a society dependent on sustainability

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Annelie Ekelin, Sara Eriksén
Title: Making an exit in research: ethical and practical implications in a society dependent on sustainability
Conference name: 4S/EASST
Year: 2004
City: Paris
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning (Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad)
School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:,
Language: English
Abstract: This paper draws upon experiences and involvement in several joint research- and development (R&D) projects, organised as a kind of “micro innovation system”, involving multi-organisational and multi-disciplinary cooperators, mainly within the area of e-government or IT-support for homecare. Each project was organised around development or costumization of a computer application, supporting for instance on-line public services, citizen participation or IT-support for home care within the public sector. However, after realisation of the projects, only a few of the applications are maintained. These projects could be regarded as concrete examples of the ongoing reconfiguration of a cluster in a regional innovation system (Miettinen, 2002, p.17, OECD, 1999), and not just as single, stand-alone projects in an expanding region, but also as vital parts in ongoing enactment and refiguration of an extensive national innovation system. The issue then becomes : what implications does this joint innovative growth-stimulation have for the question of completion of research in a growth-intense region, which is concentrating not solely on quick fixes but also on stabilizing innovation? What are the practical and ethical consequences of “making an exit” in the middle of an ongoing mustering of strength – for instance for the citizens, the researchers and the society? These issues are discussed in relation to empirical material gathered during involvement in the start-up of an e-government arena, within the framework of TANGO (Thematic arenas Nourish Growth Opportunities), a program partly funded through Innovative Actions within the European Regional Development Funding (ERDF). Findings, reflections and insights show tensions and ongoing negotiations concerning different perspectives expressed as process- as well as product-orientation in the development. The large amount of ICT-projects, are seen from another perspective, also contributing to the increasing growth in the region. One of the municipalities was appointed “National Leader in Growth municipality” in the year of 2001. The TANGO project itself may actually also be seen as a result of increased regional growth. But the question still remains: is it ever possible to stabilize innovation?
Subject: Human Work Science\Participatory Design
Computer Science\Effects on Society
Keywords: ICT, innovation system, ethics, scientific practices, participatory design, governance