Douglas is an expert in science, technology and innovation studies and characterising their link with socio-economic impacts. Originally trained as a physicist and space scientist, Douglas has been both researcher and consultant focusing on the emergence of breakthrough technologies and their transformation into working technologies in society. A large part of his work is connecting academic research with real-world problems, through engagement exercises, operationalising responsible research and innovation (RRI), multi-stakeholder technology assessment and the development of policy relevant intelligence.
Recently, Douglas has been engaged in the ramifications of the move towards challenge driven research and innovation, mission-oriented policies and how missions can be implemented by both targeted policy, by researchers and through co-creation activities.
Alongside publishing scientific articles, Douglas also produces reports on emerging technologies and their ramifications for the economy and for society, recent reports for public agencies and international organisations include OECD, European Space Agency and NASA.
Since 1st January 2020, Douglas is Deputy Director of LISIS.
Full publication list can be found here.
Three overlapping research themes
- Futures and Socio-Economic Impact: This research line develops and applies methods of foresight and impact assessment with a view to informing both innovation itself and its governance. Approach: Stakeholder engagement, field work, workshops, constructive technology assessment, foresight and co-development of indicators. Examples: Anticipating impact pathways in (marine) biotechnology (click here). Real-time and ex ante impact assessment approaches (click here)
- Breakthrough Technologies, their emergence and generalisation: This research line involves understanding the dynamics of new technology fields, how they are co-created through the interaction of various stakeholders and how they are taken up and become integrated into societal systems. Approach: Case studies, interviews, database analysis and visualisation, theory-building and testing. Examples: Analysis of 3D printing and bioprinting (click here for presentation) Sub-theme organiser and chair at EGOS 2019 “Organising the generalisation of distributed and decentralised technological innovations” (click here)
- Innovation Policy, grand challenges and transformative change: This line explores new policy rationales (and implementation mechanisms) aimed at facilitating innovation in a particular direction towards desirable transformative change. Particularly relevant for addressing sustainable development goals and grand challenges Approach: Policy analysis, participation in policy forums, case studies, involvement in advisory groups. Examples: Dedicated EU-SPRI 2018 special track (click here) Activties as Senior Research Associate in Prof. Mariana Mazzucato’s lab at UCL, UK. See Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (click here).
Selected articles and book chapters:
- Boon, W. P., Edler, J., & Robinson, D. K. R. (2020). Market formation in the context of transitions: A comment on the transitions agenda. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Volume 34, March 2020, Pages 346-347 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2019.11.006
- Robinson, D. K. R., & Mazzucato, M. (2019). The evolution of mission-oriented policies: Exploring changing market creating policies in the US and European space sector. Research Policy, 48(4), 936-948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.10.005
- Robinson, D. K. R., Lagnau, A., & Boon, W. P. (2019). Innovation pathways in additive manufacturing: Methods for tracing emerging and branching paths from rapid prototyping to alternative applications. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 146, 733-750. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2018.07.012
- Joly, P. B., Matt, M., & Robinson, D. K. R. (2019). Research Impact Assessment: from ex post to real-time assessment. fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, 47, 35-40. http://doi.org/10.22163/fteval.2019.326
- Clare Shelley-Egan, D.M. Bowman and Douglas K. R. Robinson (2018). Mapping ‘devices of responsibility’ over a decade of responsible research and innovation initiatives for nanoscience and nanotechnology. Science and Engineering Ethics journal. December 2018, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1719–1746 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-017-9978-z
- Mazzucato, M. and Robinson, D. K. R. (2018) Co-creating and directing Innovation Ecosystems? NASAs changing approach to public-private partnerships in low-earth orbit. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 136, 166-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2017.03.034