Under the leadership of Professor Calestous Juma, the STG Project submitted a book manuscript to Oxford University Press. After a lengthy review process, the book was accepted for publication.
This book explores the sources and dynamics of social opposition to innovation. Public debates over new technologies that engender tensions between innovation and incumbency can rage for decades if not centuries. Many of these debates are framed in the context of risks to moral values, human health, and environmental safety. But it argues that behind these legitimate concerns often lie deeper, but unacknowledged, socioeconomic considerations. Technological tensions are often heightened by perceptions that the benefits of new technologies will accrue only to small sections of society while the risks will be more widely distributed. Similarly, innovations that threaten to alter cultural identities tend to generate intense social concern. As such, societies that exhibit great economic and political inequities are likely to experience heightened technological controversies.
Drawing from nearly 600 years of technology history,†Innovation and Its Enemies identifies the tension between the need for innovation and the pressure to maintain continuity, social order, and stability as one of today's biggest policy challenges. It reveals the extent to which modern technological controversies grow out of distrust in public and private institutions. Using detailed case studies of coffee, the printing press, margarine, farm mechanization, electricity, mechanical refrigeration, recorded music, transgenic crops, and transgenic animals, it shows how new technologies emerge, take root, and create new institutional ecologies that favor their establishment in the marketplace. The book uses these lessons from history to examine contemporary debates surrounding technologies such as artificial intelligence, online learning, 3 D printing, gene editing, robotics, drones, and renewable energy. It ultimately makes the case for shifting greater responsibility to public leaders to work with scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to manage technological change, make associated institutional adjustments, and expand public engagement on scientific and technological matters.
How Economies Succeed: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Prosperity
The STG Project is currently conducting research on economic development and innovation. It argues that Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeterís ideas about economic transformation provide a serious intellectual foundation for understanding the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in the success of economies and the spread of prosperity. The ideas, however, need to be reinterpreted in light of contemporary developments. This research reconstructs Schumpeterís original ideas and expands them to accommodate new thinking about the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in development. It also provides a critical review of many of the ideas that have been advanced to inform development policy in emerging nations.
How Economies Succeed is a not a dogmatic appeal to Schumpeterís original ideas. It builds, however, on some of the enduring aspects of his theory to weave a new intellectual tapestry that reflects contemporary challenges and opportunities. It goes beyond Schumpeterís original ideas and offers additional perspectives on the role innovation and entrepreneurship in development, with particular emphasis on public policy implications.
Agricultural Innovation in Africa
African agriculture is at the crossroads. Persistent food shortages are now being compounded by new threats arising from climate change. But Africa faces two major opportunities that can help transform its agriculture and use it as a force for economic growth. First, advances in science and technology worldwide offer African countries new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture. Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade. This is the focus of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa (AIA) project. The project seeks to disseminate policy-relevant information on how to align science and technology missions with regional agricultural development goals. It does so in the context of the larger agenda to promote regional economic integration and development.
The AIA project builds on the findings of the expert report Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa's Development prepared by the High Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology of the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The panel's main recommendations include the need for individual countries in central, eastern, western, northern and southern Africa to work together at the regional level to scale up the development of biotechnology. The upcoming study,†The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, is a continuation of that effort. It positions the agriculture at the center of efforts to spur economic development in Africa. It outlines the policies and institutional changes needed to promote agricultural innovation. For more information:
Climate change reflects the unsustainable growth path followed in the past by the developed economies and some developing economies, implying an incessant and non-judicious use of natural resources, increasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The recent financial and economic crises present opportunities to revisit the path of development and to restructure our development approaches and strategies. This has resulted in the renewed interest within the international community to push for more environmentally sustainable growth - green growth.
Green Development is an economic growth concept and a new paradigm of sustainable development. It emphasizes economic assets of natural resources, the potential multiple benefits of green industries as well as the need for policy mixes in environmental policy which include (or which make more use of) economic instruments. Green Development focuses on the quality of development by promoting eco-efficiency. By moving beyond the three pillars of sustainable development (economic development, social, and environmental), Green Development also pursues a goal of quality of life and well-being for all.
The STG project is researching a green growth strategy that will promote a more inclusive growth model, bringing government, the civil society and businesses, in a synergistic manner in order to bring about the desired changes in the economy.
Development Universities in Africa
The first generation of post-independent universities in Africa focused on nation building. Today these countries are faced with new challenges related to participation in the global economy, meeting basic needs, and making the transition towards sustainability. These challenges require increased investment in the generation and use and diffusion of scientific and technological knowledge. In response, a number of African countries are exploring how universities could contribute directly to economic transformation. This activity focuses on research on new generation of universities and research institutions that emphasize the development of technical expertise, create entrepreneurial capabilities, and strengthen community service in Eastern Africa.