Thursday, 31 October 2013

Regional Innovation Policies in a Globally Connected Environment: Lessons from Europe

By Dr Michele Mastroeni

This article was originally produced for the CIPS Blog at the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa, as a preview to Michele Mastroeni's CIPS Lecture on 18 October 2013.

Industry leaders and governments have pursued innovation as a source of economic growth for the last two decades. While firms have been striving to harness innovation in order to move beyond their competitors, governments have struggled to find a way to create and maintain an environment that encourages innovation within their jurisdictional boundaries.

The European Union’s efforts to encourage innovation-led economic growth focus predominantly on the regional level of governance, with its most recent approach being ‘Smart Specialisation’. Smart Specialisation offers a potential solution to Europe’s challenges in pursuing its innovation agenda—but as described to date, such an approach is limited.

Read the full post at the CIPS Blog.

'Golden rice', 'wicked' NGOs and the need for rational dialogue

Those opposed to GM crops in developing countries are “wicked”, according to the Environment Secretary,
Owen Paterson.

In a recent interview with The Independent, Mr Paterson backed an open-letter by international scientists calling for the rapid development of “golden rice” – a vitamin A-enhanced rice strain, which scientists believe capable of helping save the lives of around 670,000 children in third world countries who die each year from the deficiency and another 350,000 who go blind.

Mr Paterson attacked NGOs such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for their opposition to GM technology.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Interrogation of the ‘inclusive innovation’ concept

By Dr Rebecca Hanlin

Is the Tata Nano an example of ‘inclusive innovation’? What about solar lighting? How do we determine what is inclusive or pro-poor? Is it about the degree of income generation or saving that is created, the degree of viable business opportunity that a new product creates or is it about the process of innovation around the product more generally?

On 6-8 July researchers from around the world gathered at the Open University to discuss these questions, and particularly what we mean by ‘inclusive innovation’. Over one and a half days using a range of interactive sessions – many conducted outside in the sunshine as the UK basked in an heat wave – researchers considered how their own standpoint – and not just current research results – determine how we think about inclusive innovation.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Green Party - A new found faith in science?

By Professor Joyce Tait

Caroline Lucas, MP and Leader of the Green Party, took part in Friday's Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 (Listen here). In her response to a question on whether climate change is man-made - in the context of the IPCC report - she seemed to have rediscovered a faith in science as a basis for policy decision making.
A few choice soundbites:

"This is a rigorous, robust piece of research, compelling"

"We can now put aside the question of whether the science is right ...98% of scientists say that it is ...We should get on and start talking  about what we're going to do about it"

"It is a concern that even as the science becomes more certain, the public opinion is more confused. That is something we absolutely have to address head-on"

"I was quite shocked...At the 1 o'clock news ...A large amount of  time was given over to someone who was bringing the science into doubt."

"We shouldn't only talk in terms of uncertainty but also talk in terms of risk - when you say the word uncertain people think in terms of  ignorant..."