A new framework for thinking about technological change

Global development is all about creating change for the better.  One thing is certain: if we want to address the climate breakdown while achieving a high quality of life for all of the Earth’s citizens, it will take a transformation of the way we all live. Technological change will surely be an important part of…

Poster with text: Eradicate Measles

Measles, MMR and vaccines: where do vaccine anxieties come from?

Measles and vaccines are back in the news. The UK has lost its measles-free status, according to Public Health England. The Guardian reports that about 30,000 children are starting primary school next month with no protection against measles, mumps and rubella, while 90,000 have had only the first of the two vaccines necessary for protection….

Butcher in Arusha, Tanzania

Enhancing red meat safety through ‘street-level diplomacy’ in Tanzania

Rising meat consumption in Tanzania – and indeed across low- and middle-income countries – presents new challenges and opportunities for health and development and we have been considering these as part of our social science input into the ZELS-funded ‘Hazards Associated with Zoonotic enteric pathogens in Emerging Livestock’ (HAZEL) meat pathways project, part of the…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

HLPF 2019: Why inclusion and power matter for sustainability

On 9-18 July the UN’s High-Level Political Forum meets to discuss progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This meeting takes the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality“. The theme particularly addresses goals around education, growth and employment, inequality, climate change, peace, justice and inclusion, and partnerships. The theme is a crucial…

Medieval painting of an apocalyptic angel playing a trumpet

Catastrophes of biblical proportions: why the apocalypse is back

In a parliamentary debate in London about climate change and ecology on 1 May, the debate turned to scripture to describe the scale of the problem. “We face catastrophes of biblical proportions: droughts, pestilence, famine, floods, wildfires, mass migration, political instability, war and terrorism. Global civilisation as we know it will be gone by the…

Question marks

Responding to uncertainty: who are the experts?

Uncertainties are everywhere, part of life. But how to respond? Who are the experts? These are questions that we are debating this week at a symposium entitled ‘The Politics of Uncertainty: Practical Challenges for Transformative Action’. But they are also questions very pertinent to daily life in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the world. Everyday uncertainties For…

Choreographed Consensus: The stifling of dissent at CRISPRcon 2019

by Saurabh Arora (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Barbara van Dyck (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Alejandro Argumedo (Asociación ANDES) and Tom Wakeford (ETC Group) Last week, we attended the annual CRISPRcon hosted by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. The conference was marketed as a not-for-profit event offering ‘a unique forum in which a broad selection of diverse voices…

What is revolutionary about the Green Revolution?

The dramatic increase in yields of wheat and rice in the 1960s and 1970s in India, along with many other countries in the post-colonial world, was framed as a technological breakthrough made possible by miracle hybrid seed varieties. This breakthrough ostensibly averted mass scale hunger and was central, so the story goes, to realising substantive…

Disciplinary identities and other barriers to advancing interdisciplinary working

By Professor Linda Waldman, Institute of Development Studies, Professor Joanne Sharp, University of Glasgow, and Professor James Wood, University of Cambridge. The following blog was first published on the PLoS ONE blog ‘EveryONE’. Interdisciplinary research is becoming increasingly commonplace. In recent years, climate change, ecosystem sustainability, planetary boundaries and zoonotic disease outbreaks have in particular…