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Higher Education & Research


Higher Education and Research


Partnership between University of Sussex and
the Indian
Institute of Management, Bangalore

Innovation and
Risk Management

Rapid developments in science and technology offer huge potential and are key to the growth of the global economy. At the same time, such technologies also have risks associated with them and so are regulated by diverse administrative, legal and policy frameworks. The key challenge is to ensure that the benefits of new science and technology are realised for economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental protection while at the same time minimising risks.

The UK has made huge theoretical advances in Risk Management that can be extended to the Indian context while there are many real world instances of risk-related issues in India. Partnership around this area was initiated between the University of Sussex and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and has led to the launch of a new manifesto at the Royal Society in London, drawing on several years of consultations, interactions and exchanges between the UK and India-based researchers, activists and policymakers.

Extending this partnership further, the two institutions have collaborated on a study to focus on how India and the UK react to and regulate risks from different areas of rapid scientific

"Our vision is a world where science and technology work more directly for social justice, poverty alleviation
and the environment. This has been possible through this UKIERI collaboration."

Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the STEPS Centre at University of Sussex
and technological advances such as pharmaceuticals, vaccines, crop biotechnology, nanotechnology and new energy technologies. This cross-disciplinary collaboration has enriched scholarly understanding of risk regulation in a globalised economy while at the same time initiating wider debate on design of risk management policies.

“Our vision is a world where science and technology work more directly for social justice, poverty alleviation and the environment. We want the benefits of innovation to be widely shared, not captured by narrow, powerful interests. This means reorganising innovation in ways that involve diverse people and groups – going beyond the technical elites to harness the energy and ingenuity of users, workers, consumers, citizens, activists, farmers and small businesses. This has been possible through this UKIERI collaboration,” quotes Professor Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the STEPS Centre, at University of Sussex.

The programme has focused on staff exchanges, workshops, exchange visits by researchers over a span of four years to produce working papers and a variety of web/ media outputs of the fi ndings of the programme. Collections of case studies and best practices have now been developed which will enable wider dissemination among decision makers of risk-related issues across countries and contexts. These are being presented in conferences, workshops and seminars across the globe for a bigger outreach. The case studies are also being integrated with academic curricula in the Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy and Management programmes at IIM-Bangalore and the new MA programme at Institute of Development Studies on Science, Society and Development, UK.

The collaboration has led to the establishment of a national ‘Strategic Innovation Fora’ that allows diverse stakeholders – including citizen groups and social movements representing marginalised interests so as to scrutinise investments in science, technology and innovation and report them to parliaments. The teams have also successfully established an international ‘Global Innovation Commission’ under United Nations umbrella to facilitate open and transparent political debate about major technology investments with global or trans-boundary implications, north-south technology transfers and aid geared to science, technology and innovation.

The collaboration’s main success has been the effort towards increased investment in scientifi c capacity-building that trains ‘bridging professionals’ who connect research and development activity with business and enhanced incentives for private sector investment in innovation geared towards poverty alleviation, social justice and environmental sustainability, such as advance purchase agreements, technology prizes and tax breaks.