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In turbulent times, how can science, technology and innovation be joined up?

Co-operating across national borders is difficult, but the UN has recently been working on a more co-ordinated approach for science and technology to contribute to development goals. The rise of protectionist policies may make this harder, however, as some countries become less willing to share ideas and resources with others. To explore the issues and…

STEPS co-director Ian Scoones awarded Ester Boserup prize for research on development

Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow at IDS and co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre has been awarded the 2019 Ester Boserup prize for research on development. In a lecture on 14 June in Copenhagen, he will give a lecture to mark the award, explaining his current work on uncertainty. The lecture takes place at 14.00 Danish…

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New papers explore heated debates in agronomy for development

A special issue of Experimental Agriculture, ‘Doing Development-Oriented Agronomy: Rethinking Methods, Concepts and Direction’ brings together a selection of papers that not only present agronomic research findings, but critically review orientations, methodologies and research practices in agronomy. The special issue is edited by Jens Andersson and Ken Giller, who (along with STEPS members Jim Sumberg and John…

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Uncertainty, politics and science

STEPS co-director Andy Stirling has written a series of three blog posts to introduce the STEPS Centre’s theme for 2019: Uncertainty. In the series, he explores how uncertainty is framed and closed down, how this framing is shaped by policy makers and those who advise them, and the implications for science and innovation. Although there…

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How do ‘transformative spaces’ open up possibilities for action?

A paper by Fiona Marshall (SPRU), Jonathan Dolley (SPRU) and Ritu Priya (South Asia Sustainability Hub) explores how ‘transformative space making’ can contribute to systemic change that supports pro-poor transformations to sustainability. The authors describe transformative spaces as follows: “The metaphor of transformative spaces is used here not to suggest a bounded location in space…

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Uncertain Climate: new short film explores complex uncertainty in India

A new short film summarises key themes from the project Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation, which explored the myriad forms of uncertainty faced by the people at the forefront of climate change in three areas of India – dryland Kutch, the megacity of Mumbai and the island region of the Sundarbans. Amid striking images of…

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Preparing for pandemics and the role of uncertainty explored in new project

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has announced a new project funded by the Wellcome Trust: Pandemic Preparedness: local and global concepts and practices in tackling disease threats in Africa. The project aims to track the meanings and concepts of pandemic preparedness at global, regional and local levels, and the ways these interconnect – or…

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Call for abstracts: ‘Post-automation’ Symposium, September 2019

A call for paper proposals has been issued for an international symposium on ‘post-automation’ at the University of Sussex in September 2019. STEPS members Adrian Smith (SPRU, University of Sussex) and Mariano Fressoli (Steps America Latina) are holding the symposium, on the theme of ‘Post-Automation? Exploring Democratic Alternatives to Industry 4.0’. The Symposium is hosted…

pastoralist with sheep in a mountainous landscape

How do pastoralists handle uncertainty? Insights from Asia, Europe and Africa

Pastoralists are experts in uncertainty. In a series of 3 blog posts, STEPS director Ian Scoones reports back from visits to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Isiolo (Northern Kenya) and the Tibetan plateau. The visits were carried out under the PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience) project, which explores what can be learned from the ways…

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Learning from rapid change in a warming world: Rapid Transition Alliance launches

A new initiative to learn from stories of rapid change is launched on 3 December, at the start of COP24, the UN’s annual global conference on climate change. The Rapid Transition Alliance explores the lessons from changes – over a scale of five to ten years – that represent transformations in finance, work, resources, food,…