Short courses


Responsible Innovation for Industry Professionals

  • 26 hours (including 3 2-hour live sessions and independent study)
  • 6 weeks


Responsible innovation is an emerging field that equips organisations with skills and tools to innovate ethically, inclusively, sustainably, and in socially desirable ways.

This 6-week online course will give you a foundational understanding of responsible innovation, and help you develop skills in creative problem-solving, public engagement and ethics.

The course covers:

  • the history of responsible innovation
  • ethics
  • integrity
  • inclusivity and diversity
  • public engagement
  • social responsibility

You'll also learn about the AREA Framework, a widely recognised tool for applying responsible innovation in a wide variety of settings. In this course we focus on the 'anticipation' and 'reflection' elements of the framework.

    Who this course is for

    This course will be relevant to anyone working in innovation, science, technology, research and development (R&D), and product development.

    It will also be relevant to those working in public policy, the charity sector, government and innovation-adjacent sectors.

    You don't need to have any knowledge of responsible innovation to attend this course.

    Course content

    Week 1

    Topic covered this week include:

    • What is Responsible Innovation?
    • Introduction to the AREA Framework
    • Introduction to critical reflection
    • Gendered innovation
    • Gender biases in innovation

    This week includes a 2-hour live session to introduce the course and tutors, and give you a chance to network with other learners.

    Week 2

    Topic covered this week include:

    • Ethical responsibilities of innovators
    • Professional responsibilities of innovators
    • Social responsibility
    • Hippocratic oath for innovators 

    This week includes a 2-hour live virtual session on the first two week’s learning. You'll have the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills you've learnt and get feedback from discipline experts.

    Week 3: Reading week

    This week is for you to reflect on and consolidate your learning so far. There will be no formal learning activities.

    Week 4

    Topic covered this week include:

    • Who is responsible when innovation goes wrong?
    • Responsibility in sociotechnical systems
    • Social values and design
    • What problems are worth solving?
    • Visions of the future

    This week includes a 2-hour live virtual session focused on everything learnt so far. You'll have the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills you've learnt and get feedback from discipline experts.

    Weeks 5 and 6: Assessment

    You'll work on your assessment, a 1000-word reflective statement, during these 2 weeks.

    There are no scheduled online learning activities or live sessions, but you'll be able to ask the course tutors any questions you may have.

    Teaching and structure

    This online course runs over 6 weeks.

    Except for 3 live sessions, you can complete the activities for each week at your own pace.

    Throughout the course you'll:

    • learn about real-world case studies to help frame the theory and concepts you're learning
    • apply the skills and knowledge you are being taught
    • collaborate with learners from other organisations and sectors
    • have access to expert academics through the discussion forums who can answer your questions
    • receive tailored individual feedback from course tutors, as well as detailed feedback on your assessment

    This course has been designed with the same rigorous approach we take when developing our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.


    The course is assessed by a 1000-word reflective statement.

    You'll need to submit this at the end of Week 6. You'll have 2 weeks (weeks 5 and 6) to complete it.

    To help you prepare, you'll build up your writing skills by completing shorter formative assignments during weeks 1 to 4.

    Certificates and CPD points 

    You'll receive a certificate when you've completed all the required learning and passed the final assessment. 

    The content of the course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service. The course is estimated at 26 learning hours.

    Learning outcomes  

    By the end of the course, you should be able to:

    • appreciate different perspectives on the meaning of responsibility
    • identify potential biases in research and develop approaches to address them
    • discuss how past innovations can help us think about responsibility in the present
    • reflect on who is responsible for intended and unintended consequences
    • consider whose values should be embedded in innovations

    Cost and concessions 

    The standard cost of this course is £1,200.

    Discounts are available for group bookings, for more information email uclengineeringonline@live.ucl.ac.uk

    Course team

    Dr Stephen Hughes

    Dr Stephen Hughes

    Stephen is a Lecturer and Teaching Fellow at UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. He's responsible for the delivery of UCL’s Responsible Innovation programme to 13 EPSRC-funded Centres for Doctoral Training. His research explores cultures of responsibility in research contexts and the role that emotions and affects play in researchers’ conceptions of responsibility.

    Learner reviews

    “This course was a thoroughly thought-provoking look at biases in research. It allowed us to think freely and critically, then gave us tools and processes to apply to our everyday work. I enjoyed the course a lot and have taken very valuable lessons and insights from it”. [Jeremy, Transport for London]

    “I came away from the course with a changed view of how I approached innovation, and an awareness around ethical challenges that simply wasn't there before.” [Martin, Associate Director, Mace]

    “The Responsible Innovation course was so interesting, thought provoking and eye opening. It's certainly got me thinking about how I approach innovation in my role.” [Senior IP and Commercial Research Manager, Healthcare sector]

    “This is a thoughtful and thought provoking course that challenges us to reflect upon the nature of our relationship with science and innovation and how we shape our world.” [Marilyn, R&D Manager, Education sector]

    “So many opportunities for reflection and consideration of how the learnings can be applied outside the course, with some practical tools which can be applied. Would highly recommend.” [Product Manager, Healthcare sector]

    Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:00