Assessing the Legitimacy of Technological Innovation in the Public Sphere: Recovering Raw Materials from Waste Water

Marlous Blankesteijn, Bart Bossink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper researches legitimacy creation in a publicly-funded trajectory of innovative technological development. It develops a framework of input, throughput and output legitimacy. The framework is developed based on a review of the literature on the creation of legitimacy in innovative technological development. The framework assists in further exploring the potential of the integrated assessment of the legitimacy of technological innovation trajectories in the public sphere, in terms of (1) public accountability (ensuring input legitimacy); (2) science, technology and innovation policy (ensuring throughput legitimacy); and (3) the potential for the implementation of the technology itself in practical contexts (ensuring output legitimacy). The framework is used to analyze a case study about the publicly-funded development of innovative technology for the retrieval of raw materials from waste water. Theoretically, the value of a more processual approach to the conceptualization of legitimacy becomes apparent. Furthermore, the framework assists in the development of practical recommendations on the ways in which to optimize the legitimacy in an earlier stage in the innovation’s trajectory. However, due attention should also be paid to the role of regulatory arrangements in the optimization of the legitimacy of publicly-funded technological innovation. This is an avenue for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9408
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020


  • Circular economy
  • Legitimacy
  • Raw materials
  • Technological innovation
  • Waste water treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the Legitimacy of Technological Innovation in the Public Sphere: Recovering Raw Materials from Waste Water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this