Professor Richard Owen

Professor Richard Owen

Professor Richard Owen
Professor in Innovation Management

The Priory Road Complex, Priory Road, Clifton
(See a map)

Telephone Number (0117) 331 7106

Department of Management


I am interested in the power of innovation and techno-visionary science to create futures in profound and uncertain ways, how we can engage as a society with those futures and how we can take responsibility for them.  I am interested in the politics, risks, ethics and governance of innovation and new technologies in society, from big data in financial services and planetary climate engineering to innovation for development.  My research sits at the intersection of innovation governance and science and technology studies as a critical, interdisciplinary scholar.

I originally trained as an environmental scientist, firstly as a stable isotope geochemist validating climate change records and then on the measurement and impact of pollutants on vulnerable and important ecosystems such as coral reefs.  My journey to the social sciences began when I started to ask questions about how my data was being used, by whom and for what purpose. I have continued to ask questions since. This led me first into risk assessment and risk governance, then regulation and finally innovation governance, including a spell between 2003 and 2008 at the Environment Agency where I was Head of Environment and Human Health. There my role included leading on the risks and regulation of new technologies. I set up and co-ordinated a large UK-US interdisciplinary programme of research on the environmental risk of nanotechnologies on behalf of the Research Councils, after a secondment into central Government to write its risk research strategy for nanotechnologies in 2005.  It was there that I learned about the strengths and limitations of regulation for new areas of technology, leading me to return to academia in 2008 to develop a new approach for governing innovation and technologies around the concept of ‘Responsible Innovation’.

Working closely with the Research Councils, with colleagues I developed a Framework for Responsible Innovation, which was adopted as EPSRC policy in 2013.  I am interested in working collaboratively with organisations and communities to make responsible innovation a reality in practice. This includes work within the EC funded RRI Practice project, which runs until 2019, and collaboration with the Norwegian Research Council to help develop their responsible innovation approach, notably within their biotechnology programme.  I am a visiting Professor at Oslo Met University (Work Research Institutute). 

I teach innovation management and governance, innovation systems and responsible innovation at all levels.  As of September 2018 I will be Unit Director, Undergraduate Dissertations. I have also held leadership positions at my previous institution (Exeter University Business School) where I was Postgraduate Research Director, Associate Dean for Research and interim Dean/ PVC.       

For a number of recent publications see 'Research Output's, for a full list of publications going back alot further see my profile on Researchgate (


Latest publications

  1. Arthur, K & Owen, R, 2019, ‘A micro-ethnographic study of big data - based innovation in the financial services sector: governance, ethics and organisational practices’. Journal of Business Ethics.
  2. Colombo, LA, Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2019, ‘The discourse of eco-innovation in the European Union: An analysis of the Eco-Innovation Action Plan and Horizon 2020’. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 214., pp. 653-665
  3. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2018, ‘Framing inclusive innovation within the discourse of development: Insights from case studies in India’. Research Policy, vol 47., pp. 23-34
  4. Lasat, MM, Chung, KF, Lead, J, McGrath, S, Owen, R, Rocks, S, Unrine, J & Zhang, J, 2018, ‘Advancing the Understanding of Environmental Transformations, Bioavailability and Effects of Nanomaterials, an International US Environmental Protection Agency—UK Environmental Nanoscience Initiative Joint Program’. Journal of Environmental Protection, vol 9., pp. 385-404
  5. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2018, ‘Innovation for de-growth: A case study of counter-hegemonic practices from Kerala, India’. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 197., pp. 1872-1883
  6. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2018, ‘Innovation and Development: The Politics at the Bottom of the Pyramid’. Wiley
  7. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2015, ‘Framing resource-constrained innovation at the 'bottom of the pyramid': Insights from an ethnographic case study in rural Bangladesh’. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol 92., pp. 300-311
  8. Owen, R, 2014, ‘The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Commitment to a Framework for Responsible Innovation’. Journal of Responsible Innovation, vol 1., pp. 113-117
  9. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2014, ‘Eco-innovation at the “bottom of the pyramid”’. in: Collaboration for Sustainability and Innovation: A Role for Sustainability Driven by the Global South?: A Cross-Border, Multi-Stakeholder Perspective. Springer Netherlands, pp. 293-313
  10. Asante, K & Owen, R, 2014, ‘Governance of new product development and perceptions of responsible innovation in the financial sector: insights from an ethnographic case study’. Journal of Responsible Innovation, vol 1., pp. 9-30
  11. Owen, R, 2014, ‘Solar Radiation Management and the Governance of Hubris’. in: RM Harrison, R Hester (eds) Geoengineering of the Climate System: Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 212-248
  12. Stilgoe, J, Owen, R & Macnaghten, P, 2013, ‘Developing a framework for responsible innovation’. Research Policy, vol 42., pp. 1568-1580
  13. Owen, R, Stilgoe, J, Macnaghten, P, Gorman, M, Fisher, E & Guston, D, 2013, ‘A Framework for Responsible Innovation’. in: Richard Owen, John Bessant, Maggy Heintz (eds) Responsible Innovation: Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, pp. 27-50
  14. Palomino, M, Vincenti, A & Owen, R, 2013, ‘Optimising web‐based information retrieval methods for horizon scanning’. Foresight, vol 15., pp. 159-176
  15. Szerszynski, B, Kearnes, M, Macnaghten, P, Owen, R & Stilgoe, J, 2013, ‘Why Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering and Democracy Won't Mix’. Environment and Planning A, vol 45., pp. 2809-2816
  16. Owen, R, Macnaghten, P & Stilgoe, J, 2012, ‘Responsible Research and Innovation: from Science in Society to Science for Society, with Society’. Science and Public Policy, vol 39., pp. 751-760
  17. Owen, R & Jobling, S, 2012, ‘Hidden Costs of Flexible Fertility’. Nature, vol 485., pp. 441
  18. Palomino, M, Bardsley, S, Bown, K, De Lurio, J, Ellwood, P, Holland-Smith, D, Huggins, B, Vincenti, A, Woodruff, H & Owen, R, 2012, ‘Web-based horizon scanning: Concepts and practice’. Foresight, vol 14., pp. 355-373
  19. Macnaghten, P & Owen, R, 2011, ‘Good Governance for Geoengineering’. Nature., pp. 479
  20. Owen, R & Goldberg, N, 2010, ‘Responsible Innovation: A Pilot Study with the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’. Risk Analysis., pp. 1699-1707
  21. Owen, R, Baxter, D, Maynard, T & Depledge, MH, 2009, ‘Beyond Regulation: Risk Pricing and Responsible Innovation: Harnessing the potential for the insurance industry to drive responsible technological innovation.’. Environmental Science and Technology, vol 43., pp. 6902-6906

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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