20 Challenges for Innovation Policy Studies

Published on: 2017-09-21

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Abstract

With the field of innovation studies now half a century old, the occasion has been marked by several studies looking back to identify the main advances made over its lifetime. Starting from a list of 20 advances over the field’s history, this lecture sets out 20 challenges for coming decades. The intention is to prompt a debate within the innovation studies community on what are, or should be, the key challenges for us to take up, and more generally on what sort of field we aspire to be. It is argued that the empirical focus of our studies has failed to keep pace with the fast changing world and economy, especially the shift from manufacturing to services, the increasingly urgent need for sustainability, and the need for innovations that diminish rather than exacerbate inequality. Moreover, the very way we conceptualise, define, operationalise and analyse ‘innovation’ seems somewhat rooted in the past, leaving us less able to grapple with other less visible or ‘dark’ forms of innovation.

About the Speaker

Ben Martin is Professor of Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU, where he served as Director from 1997 to 2004. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), and a Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, both at the University of Cambridge. He has carried out research for over 30 years in the field of science policy. He helped to establish techniques for evaluating scientific laboratories, research programmes and national scientific performance. He also pioneered the notion of ‘technology foresight’. More recently, he has carried out research on the benefits from government funding of basic research, the changing nature and role of the university, the impact of the Research Assessment Exercise, and the evolution of the field of science policy and innovation studies. He had also published several papers on research misconduct. Since 2004, he has been Editor of Research Policy, and he is also the 1997 winner of the de Solla Price Medal for Science Studies.

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