Propping up interdisciplinarity: responsibility in university flagship research
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Researchers’ communication activities are influenced by motivations and abilities, but also by specific topics and artefacts of research. This is seldom acknowledged in efforts to embed responsible research and innovation in organizations through mechanisms that promote communication as synergistic activities. Nor is it sufficiently acknowledged in the literature on researchers’ attitudes to communication. To open up a discussion on this issue, we draw on recent literature on affordances to explore how a certain ‘prop’ influences outcomes of research communication in the NTNU Cyborg initiative, which integrates biological neural cultures with electronic circuitry and robotics to build a cybernetic organism. The case illustrates the wide range of affordances – both enabling and constraining features – that a particular object of communication may have in different settings, indicating the need for artefact-specific approaches to researchers’ attitudes to communication and to the institutionalization of RRI.