BIOFUELLED PATHWAYS TO SUSTAINABILITY?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Last week, Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, and one of the sponsors of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, joined an increasingly audible group of voices arguing for a system of sustainability standards for biofuels. Without such a system, operating robustly at the international level, Achim feared a backlash…

ACCOMODATING DISSENT

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member   Providing cures for health problems isn’t enough, if people’s personal or cultural beliefs clash with the scientific approach. STEPS Centre director Melissa Leach argues in this week’s Nature magazine that policy-makers must recognize and engage with these objections. Melissa also talks about her research into vaccination on the…

NO SHIT! IT’S WORLD TOILET DAY

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member Nevermind the headline, what’s important about the 19 November is that it’s World Toilet Day – a day to focus on the humble, yet vitally important, toilet, and to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. (Photo: CLTS, Bangladesh) And crisis it is: 2.6 billion people – half the…

FT REPORT ON THE THREE GORGES DAM

By ADRIAN ELY, STEPS Centre member The Financial Times today has a special report by Jamil Anderlini on the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei Province, China. The report covers several of the issues raised in an earlier blog following my visit to the dam in June, arguing that the environmental and social impacts of the…

MANAGING FOOD SYSTEMS FOR RESILIANCE AND SECURITY

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member Polly Ericksen of Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University is here at IDS today to give a STEPS Centre seminar asking: Will managing food systems for resilience maker us more food secure? Photo: Polly Ericksen at the STEPS Centre seminar…

‘SELF’ AND ‘THE OTHER’: A SENTIMENTAL EUROPEAN RESPONSE TO INDIA-CHINA

By ESHA SHAH, STEPS Centre Member No meetings examining science in society are nowadays complete without reference to India-China. The meeting organised by ESRC’s Science in Society programme on ‘Innovation Culture or Anti-Science Britain?’ on 16 October was no exception. The hyphenated lumping together of two continent-size countries with vastly different histories, socio-economic background and…

REFLECTIONS ON THE DSA: DIFFERENCES LAID BARE

By LYLA MEHTA, STEPS Centre member The conference laid bare the ideological and socio-political differences between the promotion of elite institutions and supervised learning as opposed to unsupervised and more organic forms of experimentation and learning in technological innovation. We had an overdose of the former with the presentations on the Millennium Project and the…

DSA DAY 3: IT’S A WRAP-UP

And as we draw to a close at DSA 2007, we have a diverse set of panellists to give us some reflections on this year’s conference. And they are quite controversial reflections: “It’s like being in groundhog day,” says the DSA’s own president. Joachim Voss, director-general at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture in Columbia…

DSA DAY 3: RETHINKING RISK & REGULATION

The final plenary session of this year’s DSA sees Sheila Jasanoff of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, founder of the Science and Democracy Network and a STEPS Centre Advisory Board member talking on one of her specialist subjects – rethinking risk and regulation. (Photo: Sheila Jasanoff) Jasanoff, fresh off a plane from Boston, quips…

DSA DAY 3: STEPS PANEL 4 – BIOTECHNOLOGY ‘PRO-POOR CONSENSUS’

Examining the ‘pro-poor consensus’ on biotechnology: a moveable boundary between public and private is the subject for the final STEPS panel session. (Photo: Glover, Brooks, Ely) The three STEPS members taking part in the panel this morning span several aspects of Centre’s work: STEPS Research Officer and IDS DPhil student Sally Brooks, STEPS Research Fellow…