The final 2016 International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) with a focus on Science and Technology Studies (STS) took place at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) 50th Anniversary Conference in early September. Schot outlined the aims and authors contributing to the IPSP’s 2017 report –  ‘Rethinking Society for the 21st Century’  – and invited colleagues and scholars to comment on the STS chapter (No. 22) on the IPSP commenting platform to further support and inform the debate.

EntitledA Critical Conversation about Social Progress’, the SPRU conference session drew together a distinguished panel for the final session of the year. Other sessions completed in 2016 were at the Society for the History of Technology Conference (SHOT) in Singapore and the European Association for the Study of Science & Technology (EASST) in Barcelona.  Seismic socio-political events, such as the Brexit vote and the rise of Trump in the US, indicate further the crucial need to reconfigure how we view and achieve social progress to tackle growing national and international inequalities and their consequences. In the SPRU 50th Anniversary commemorative brochure, Schot comments on our global situation:

“We see that the world is facing an increasing number of crises and persistent problems. The modern way of provisioning our basic needs is not sustainable in the long run, and is already causing climate change, profound societal turmoil, tensions and conflict on an unprecedented scale. It is clear that we cannot globalise our current ways of providing food, energy, mobility, healthcare and water.”

Therefore, achieving ‘progress on progress’ is increasingly crucial for our societies. The International Panel on Social Progress aims to highlight action-driven solutions in the 2017 research-based report, ‘Rethinking Society for the 21st century’.  The report brings together 250 social scientists contributing on topics such as cities, the future of capitalism, supranational organisations and ‘the pluralization of families’. To add your voice use the commenting platform to inform the debate and the reports’ outcomes.

School, as coauthor of chapters 1 and 22 of the 22 thematic chapters to feature, is pivotal in gathering this interdisciplinary perspective to feed into the central themes and ideas coming from STS. The report will give knowledge, resource and momentum to politicians, policymakers and governments; the media; academics and teachers; charities and campaign groups who believe in and strive for a redefinition of global progress in our national and international societies.

Chaired by Judith Sutz, the SPRU 50th Anniversary panel also consisted of:

  • Sheila Jasanoff – Paradoxes of Democracy and the Rule of Law
  • Andy Stirling – Multiple Directions of Social Progress
  • Phil Scranton – The Future of Work

A follow-up dialogue session about the work of the IPSP concludes with three more contributions from:

  • Saurabh Arora – Social Progress: A Compass
  • Raphie Kaplinsky – Markets, Finance and Corporations: Does Capitalism have a Future?
  • Judith Sutz – Inequality and Social Progress

For further information

The sessions was recorded and is available via the  SPRU’s YouTube channel.

Join the debate on Twitter using #IPSP #ProgressOnProgress

Visit the IPSP website –

IPSP logo

Of further interest:

Professor Schot’s Paper on ‘Framing Innovation Policy for Transformative Change: Innovation Policy 3.0′ to encourage new innovation and social progress

Copyright © 2017 Johan Schot