At the tail end of the 1960’s the United Nations asked for recommendations on science and technology for development from ‘The Sussex Group’ – a team from the Institute of Development Studies and SPRU Science and Technology Policy Research, at the UK’s University of Sussex.

The report was intended as the introductory chapter to the UN World Plan of Action on Science and Technology for Development. It was also to be one of the contributions of the UN Advisory Committee on Science and Technology for Development to the preparations for the UN Second Development Decade during the 1970s.

In the event, the solutions presented in The Sussex Manifesto were so radical for the scientific establishment at the time – containing challenging targets, arguing that an increase in the scale of S&T activity was inadequate on its own and largely was ‘irrelevant’ in developing country contexts – that the chapter was almost axed. Discussions within the UN earned the draft the title of The Sussex Manifesto.

The Sussex Manifesto’s eventual publication in 1970 went on to raise awareness of science and technology in UN circles, influenced the design of development institutions and was used for teaching courses in both North and South universities.