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Networked centres for building relevant scientific and innovation capabilities

Centres of excellence that adopt international standards of research evaluation may help to build scientific and technological capabilities in a limited number of sites, and in some cases prevent brain drain from the global South. However, they often contribute to 'internal brain drain’ and fail to deliver relevant innovations that respond to local problems. Rather, we see a role for networked institutions that link research programmes with specific, locally-articulated goals, and confront - rather than bury - the real inequalities of knowledge, power and money that divide people and disciplines.

Resources on this CD

  1. Sri Lanka round table report: “The Minister talked about the challenge for developing countries to support local science and technology development and expressed concern about the best of Sri Lanka’s brains leaving to work overseas. This tremendous brain drain could be countered by identifying priority areas and establishing world-class laboratories that are able to compete in the global context"
  2. Arie Rip: Manifesto seminar: highlights Excellence and Relevance

  3. 'Capacity’ Leach, M. and Waldman, L. (2009) Centres of Excellence? Questions of Capacity for Innovation, Sustainability, Development, STEPS Working Paper 23, Brighton: STEPS Centre
  4. Ester Blom, Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship at The Hague roundtable: stronger collaborations between NGOs and universities or research centres

Additional online resources

(Internet connection required)
  1. Africa Prime Report
  2. Makerere University in Uganda utilises a targeted extension and outreach programme in an attempt to create an “interface between research and training that would make a University relevant to societal needs or national development"
  3. Globelics: international network on learning, innovation and competence building
  4. Victoria Institute of Science and Technology (VIST): aims to build innovation capabilities in Kenya (temporary website)
  5. STEPS Symposium report 2009: Human innovation capabilities were highlighted as central by Banji Oleyaran-Oyeyinka, UN-HABITAT, at the 2009 STEPS symposium.

We welcome examples of innovation for development.
Email us at steps-centre@ids.ac.uk