Best of STEPS 2013: Science and technology for development

From the global politics of scientific advice to solar home systems in Kenya. From the GM crops debate to living with climate uncertainty in India. The STEPS Centre and our partners around the globe have been hard at work throughout 2013 seeking to make science, technology and innovation work for the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. Here are…

Citizens and science in a greener China

As China and the UK seek to collaborate more closely in science and innovation, there are lessons they can share about how to govern and debate new technologies, write Adrian Ely and David Tyfield in the Guardian today. A visit to Bejing by UK Chancellor George Osborne and science minister David Willetts this week, bought…

Getting serious on climate action: Why the science is never enough

By Tom Tanner. The release of the international climate panel’s fifth assessment report of climate science has reinforced the reality of the climate crisis. The science is unequivocal: the problem is real, serious and human-induced. At the same time, we remain on course to cross dangerous thresholds implied by temperature rises of more than 2…

Post-2015 outcome document: inclusivity needed

By Julia Day “With less than 850 days remaining.” It’s a sobering thought. If we were talking about football, we’d be well in to extra time now. As it is, the figure relates to the amount of time remaining to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, quoted in a United Nations report published yesterday (Wednesday).

Engaging science and politics in a Post-2015 framework

A new STEPS Centre/IDS policy briefing examines how science and politics must be engaged in a post-2015 framework in order to tackle the interlinked environmental and social justice challenges which the world faces. It highlights the need for technical and social innovation alongside a new politics of innovation guided by the concepts of social and planetary boundaries and…

Responses to frequently asked questions on genetically-modified crops and development

GM Rice / BASF / Flickr Creative Commons By Andy Stirling, co-director of the STEPS Centre   Questions are never far from the headlines about how the world can farm more fairly, sustainably and productively. What is meant by these qualities varies greatly – including differing ways to raise income for poor farmers, improve nutrition, reduce environmental…

GM crops and biotechnology

GM crops, Golden Rice and other related technologies polarise opinion: they are the solution to the global food crisis; or they are ‘frankenfoods’ causing irreversible environmental harm. Concerns about poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, farmers’ livelihoods and the role of the private sector; the challenges of regulation in different settings; and how to involve the…

Against ‘monocultures’ in agriculture and knowledge

Faced with the undeniable fact of hunger in developing countries, ‘sustainable intensification’ has been claimed as a science-led solution to food security. In an article for SciDev.Net, Prof Brian Wynne (Lancaster University) and Georgina Catacora (GenØk) tear strips off the large-scale industrial model of agriculture that is supposed to feed the world, and the narrow…

Responsibility at the Science-Publics-Policy Interface: What I learnt at the 2013 Science in Public Conference

The village of Onna, after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. Photo: Darkroom_Daze (Flickr) by Stephen WhitfieldDPhil Student, Institute of Development Studies This year’s ‘Science in Public’ conference hosted by Nottingham University was excellent. I came away from two captivating days of presentations, discussions and (at times heated) debates having learnt a lot… and inevitably feeling frustrated…

TV interview: Social Innovations

Kevin Urama, executive director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and Adrian Ely, STEPS Centre head of impact and engagement, talk about social innovations and prosperous societies to Kenyan TV programme, The GMK Show, June 2013. This interview was conducted as part of the Pro-poor low carbon development project.