The inaugural Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium conference‘Prospects for Transformative Innovation Policy’ – jointly organised by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex and the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa, takes place from 20-21 September in Pretoria. It marks a new stage in the collaborative work between South Africa’s science, technology and innovation (STI) policymakers and, along with other SPRU colleagues including Dr Chux Daniels, Professor Johan Schot, Director of SPRU.

With South Africa setting a new strategy for the role of STI in tackling economic and social reform, Professor Schot has been a member of the international element of the National Advisory Committee on Innovation (NACI) and, subsequently, part of the consultation process on the international reading group for the Department of Science & Technology (DST), the Ministry responsible for producing the new White Paper. Professor Schot said:

“South Africa published a revolutionary science, technology and innovation white paper in 1996 as part of the drive to rebuild the country and leave behind the legacy of apartheid. This led to a build up of a National System of Innovation.  However, inequality and unemployment still needs urgent attention as does the question of addressing climate change. South Africa is at a new crossroad, it needs to use the transformative power of innovation for a new inclusive and sustainable pathway.”

As founding members of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC), South African’s Department for Science and Technology and National Research Foundation are at the fore of co-creating this new innovation policy and practice. The creation of TIPC is in answer to the need for these fresh directions in many countries around the world. Based around the Frame 3 perspective of Transformative Innovation Policy, the Consortium is shaping the agenda in experimenting with and developing alternative frameworks, methods and metrics for science, technology and innovation policy to reach new societal achievements. At the Conference, by expanding the narrative and knowledge around Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP), new pathways and partnerships can be forged. The prospects for TIP within both the South African context and those of the other founding members, are exciting, challenging and, potentially ground breaking, for the entire globe. Professor Schot said:

“At the culmination of our exciting exploratory year, the TIPC conference is the finale to our pilot programme of activities for TIPC’s founding members. We have started to test ideas and rationales; built strong, productive relationships; and most crucially, begun to identify the directions to go and the difficult questions to ask. We may be a long way from the answers, but the exploration for fresh policy thinking and practice in STI has commenced with commitment and rigour. Our vision is an essential one. We know building new knowledge, and the associated narratives and frameworks, is complex.  Yet, we know too that our current systems of provision must change. We need to experiment, research, evaluate, disseminate, write and communicate new STI practice that supports developing the world sustainably. Together, starting at the South Africa Conference, we will add new layers of knowledge to our emerging theory of Transformative Innovation Policy. We are commencing the next chapter in our exciting and promising TIPC story.”

To engage with the conference and be involved in the debate follow TIPC at @TIPConsortium with the hashtag #TIPC2017Conf

Follow Professor Schot on Twitter @Johan_Schot

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