New possibilities in cancer treatment mean better health, but also involve a risk of increased costs and more dilemmas in setting priorities. A critical discussion of the future projections made by the cancer research community may encourage more responsible research and health policies. The framework for responsible research and innovation provides useful concepts for such a discussion.
The framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a cross-cutting principle for the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme. The Research Council of Norway has published the first version of a Norwegian RRI framework. The Research Council defines responsibility as meaning that «the processes in the research and innovation system shall increasingly be characterised as anticipatory, reflexive, inclusive and dynamic/flexible». It might be tempting to dismiss such characteristics as empty buzzwords. We believe, however, that the RRI framework provides useful concepts for understanding how good decision-making processes can be established in future cancer treatment.
Anticipatory and reflexive – the importance of sociotechnical imaginaries
Inclusive – the relationship to the public
Responsive – are there any roads from criticism to action?
Responsible cancer research should combine biomedical research activities with critical analysis of the same research. At the Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO), a cancer research centre affiliated to the University of Bergen, we have chosen to integrate analyses based on the humanities and social sciences into the general scientific activity. What this might imply in practice we will outline in the following, with reference to the characteristics defined in the Research Council’s framework.