I am a postdoc researcher at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and one of the women in the RRI project. I am currently co-responsible for the RRING Work Package 5, in which we examine the relationship between RRI and competitive advantage. What we want to find out is whether RRI may be a driver of competitive advantage, or maybe a barrier, in different areas of the world. We are looking at the linkages for RRI worldwide; therefore, we look at the 5 geographical areas defined by UNESCO that are the focus of the project RRING; that is, Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
There are three distinct phases within this work package. The first phase is mostly exploratory and consists of a theoretical part and an empirical part. To start with, we will examine both academic literature and policy, managerial and European project documents that can help to shed light on the relationship between RRI and competitive advantage. This is a particularly challenging task in those geographical areas where the term RRI has not been very widely utilized. Therefore, we also look for proxies that are consistent with a global understanding of RRI. This is relevant for the next phases of the work package, where we will look at RRI and competitive advantage in practice. As part of this exploratory exercise, we will also conduct interviews with experts in RRI and competitive advantage, and we will perform a survey. The next phase of the project in this Work Package builds on the review and develops indicators that can be used to help businesses policymakers – and potentially other stakeholders – in their evaluation of RRI and competitive advantage. At the moment, it is difficult to assess the business case for RRI, and by looking at proxies for RRI we aim to develop usable indicators that are valid globally. In the third phase of the Work Package we are going to go back to businesses and policymakers, to work with them in two different tasks: evaluating the usefulness of the developed indicators, and carrying out case studies that will help us to understand whether and how RRI and competitive advantage are intertwined. Based on all this data, Work Package 5 will provide reports for different stakeholders on the relationship of RRI and competitive advantage.
Beyond RRING, I am interested in the inclusion of sustainability and socio-ethical goals in the innovation process, and how the whole system surrounding businesses affects the development of the firm’s innovation activities in one way or another. The main reason why I do what I do is my will to contribute to sustainability. And as noted by New Zealand’s former primer minister Helen Clark, “any serious shift towards more sustainable societies has to include gender equality”.
Thus, I stand with my peers and allies in those areas where I can have the greatest impact: visibility of women researchers, equal education for girls worldwide and social and economic equality for women everywhere. Because gender equal societies are more prosperous and more sustainable societies.