STEPS blog: best of 2014

We can hardly believe it, but it’s nearly the end of 2014. To mark the occasion, the STEPS Centre communications team has picked 12 of our favourite blog posts by STEPS members, one from each month of the year. Choosing them has been a difficult task, as there’s been a lot to write about our…

‘A new way of doing science’: Future Earth in Argentina

By Patrick van Zwanenberg and Mariano Fressoli, STEPS America Latina. Future Earth is a major 10-year international research programme that aims to provide the critical knowledge needed to address challenges of global environmental change, and to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world. Launched in June 2012, at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), it…

National Systems of Innovation: UN climate technology policy takes a positive turn

Update (1 July 2015): The research described in this blogpost has been written up in an article for the journal Climate Policy: Ockwell D. and Byrne R. (2015) Improving technology transfer through national systems of innovation: climate relevant innovation-system builders (CRIBs), Climate Policy (open access) Other publications: Working Paper 76 (focused on policy recommendations): CRIBs…

Space, markets and employment: 3 films from Zimbabwe

A new series of films explores the links between land reform and economic activity in Zimbabwe, focusing on three commodities: tobacco, beef and horticulture. The films are produced for the ‘Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development’ (SMEAD) project by Pamela Ngwenya, supported by the field team. They are accompanied by an overview film. Zimbabwe is one…

COP20: Research from the edge

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) will settle the key elements of a global climate deal to be finalised in Paris next year, when the deadline for a new deal runs out. The ESRC STEPS Centre and its partners around the world have been working on policy-relevant research in…

STEPS America Latina launches new website

The Centro STEPS America Latina – the new Latin American regional hub for our Global Pathways to Sustainability Consortium  – has unveiled its own dedicated website. The new website is now live at www.stepsamericalatina.com. The Centro STEPS website is run by a team at the Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación (CENIT) in Buenos Aires,…

Maker culture and sustainability

What are citizen labs and ‘maker’ culture providing to sustainable development? STEPS researcher Adrian Smith was part of a panel discussing this question at an event on 18 November in Madrid. A recording from the event is now available. >> Listen to the discussion on the Medialab-Prado website (audio in Spanish) The debate explored the…

Innovation choices in the face of uncertainty

Professor Andy Stirling writes chapter accompanying the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s inaugural report Sir Mark Walport recently launched his first ever annual report as UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Innovation: Managing risk not avoiding it. The accompanying evidence and case studies includes a chapter written by Professor Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the ESRC-funded STEPS Centre,…

The precautionary principle must be retained, unless we are willing to be reckless with our common future

Guest blog by Rupert Read I recently submitted evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry on GM food and the Precautionary Principle. Unfortunately, as you’ll see intimated at the outset of my remarks there, I have relatively little faith in the inquiry. It seems to me that the inquiry’s terms have…

Genetically modified rice plants

GM Food and the precautionary principle

“Precaution does not necessarily mean a ban. It simply urges that time and space be found to get things right.” Professor Andy Stirling, writing in the Guardian Overview The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into genetically modified (GM) foods and the way in which these are regulated in Europe…