Professor Richard Owen

Professor Richard Owen

Professor Richard Owen
Professor in Innovation Management

Howard House, Queen's Avenue, Bristol
(See a map)

Telephone Number (0117) 42 84653

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 risks 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 (co-I), PhD training / supervision on the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cybersecurity (co-I) and collaboration with the Norwegian Research Council to help develop their responsible innovation approach, notably within their biotechnology programme.  I have recently begun an ESRC funded project (co-I) investigating participatory approaches to smart city development working with colleagues in Mexico, and in Education, Social Sciences and Engineering here at Bristol. I am a co-I on the recently funded Digital Futures Institute, funded by Research England.

I teach innovation management and governance, innovation systems and responsible innovation at all levels.  As of September 2018 I became Unit Director, Third Year Undergraduate Dissertations. I also lecture on the Global Business Environment Unit (Undergraduate Year 1), People, Work and Organisations Unit (Undergraduate Year 2) and Management Research Methods Unit (Undergraduate Year 2). At Masters Level I teach Research Methods and lecture on the MSc Strategy, Leadership and Change.  I also lead on the responsible innovation provision across the University's 10 Centres for Doctoral Training (EPSRC funded).

I have 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. 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
  2. Owen, R & Pansera, M, 2019, ‘Responsible Innovation: process and politics’. in: Rene von Schomberg, Jonny Hankins (eds) International Handbook on Responsible Innovation: A Global Resource. Edward Elgar Publishing
  3. Owen, R & Pansera, M, 2019, ‘Responsible Innovation and Responsible Research and Innovation’. in: Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm, Weert Canzler (eds) Handbook on Science and Public Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 26-48
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Pansera, M & Owen, R, 2018, ‘Innovation and Development: The Politics at the Bottom of the Pyramid’. Wiley
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Stilgoe, J, Owen, R & Macnaghten, P, 2013, ‘Developing a framework for responsible innovation’. Research Policy, vol 42., pp. 1568-1580
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Palomino, M, Vincenti, A & Owen, R, 2013, ‘Optimising web‐based information retrieval methods for horizon scanning’. Foresight, vol 15., pp. 159-176
  18. 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
  19. Owen, R & Jobling, S, 2012, ‘Hidden Costs of Flexible Fertility’. Nature, vol 485., pp. 441
  20. 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
  21. Macnaghten, P & Owen, R, 2011, ‘Good Governance for Geoengineering’. Nature., pp. 479
  22. 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
  23. 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

Edit this profile If you are Professor Richard Owen, you can edit this page. Login required.