Innogen · Research
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: David PorteousAssociated staff: Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Renate Gertz (AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law)
Funded byScottish Funding Council
This project arose from the Generation Scotland project funded in 2002-3. The aim is to investigate the interaction of genes and environment in the onset and progression of the serious diseases affecting the Scottish population. 21CGH brings together the parallel, yet different, projects of Generation Scotland and UK Biobank. SFC has funded the appointment of Dr Gill Haddow in Innogen and Dr Rena Gertz in the AHRB Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law as Research Fellows for 3 years to take forward the associated ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) programme within 21CGH.
21CGH is a multi-institution, cross-disciplinary collaboration led by the University of Edinburgh, embracing all of the Scottish Medical Schools, other important research institutes and the NHS in Scotland to create a novel consortium based approach to addressing important health priorities in Scotland. It has been funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) (www.sfc.ac.uk ) through their Strategic Research Development Grant Initiative (Value and duration of award: £1.79 million, October 2003-2007).
21CGH will establish an enabling platform for translational application of the new genetic knowledge, backed by a multi-disciplinary and self-sustaining skill network in genetic epidemiology and health informatics. Our current role is specifically related to the public consultation on ethical, legal and social issues arising from the construction of DNA databases. Active and continuous public engagement is essential if we are to create and sustain a socially acceptable programme of genetic health research that addresses all of the attendant ethical and legal issues. 21CGH sought to engage with the people of Scotland, public interests groups, elected representatives and the media in order to articulate the objectives, solicit opinion and respond to concerns.
- 21CGH addresses directly Scotland’s three health priority areas - cancer, heart disease / stroke and mental health - and more.
- 21CGH provides the essential scientific infrastructure and social, ethical and legal framework on which multi-disciplinary research can build to identify, evaluate and utilise heritable (genetic) risk factors in early diagnosis, disease monitoring, treatment optimisation, avoidance of adverse drug reactions, healthcare planning and drug discovery.
Between April and July 2003, seventeen in-depth open-ended interviews were conducted with people broadly identified as `specialists' in key fields with some relevance to genetic databases (i.e., geneticists, lawyers or theologians). Although we refer to them as "specialists", their knowledge and experience varied according to discipline and also closeness to genetic related research. In January - March 2004, ten focus groups were undertaken, chosen to reflect a range of demographics (gender, ethnicity, and age), interests (patient, voluntary and civic groups), and localities (rural, semi-rural or urban).
In both the public and specialist components of this preliminary consultation exercise we were keen to explore a range of issues. Although there was variation both within and between the two components, this was variation of degree and not of kind. We asked for opinions on participation, recruitment, withdrawal, access, consent, feedback (general/specific), public engagement, and confidentiality. We encouraged participants to raise issues themselves, to be candid about their concerns and to draw specifically on their own areas of interest as well as provide more general comment. The findings show public concern around consent, storage, access and use of genetic data.
Haddow, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., (forthcoming) Tokens of Trust or Token Trust?: Public consultation and ‘Generation Scotland’ in Trust, Health and Illness (eds) Alexandra Greene, Julie Brownlie and Alexandra Howson, Routledge.
Haddow, G., Laurie, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., & Hunter, K. (2007). Tackling Community Concerns about Commercialisation and Genetic Research: A Modest Interdisciplinary Proposal. Social Science and Medicine, 64, pp. 272-282.
For further information contact:
Gill Haddow, email@example.com
Shawn H.E. Harmon, Emma King, Kwan-Hsu
Affiliated staffProfessor Graeme Laurie, SCRIPT, School of Law; Professor David Castle, Innogen, School of Politics & Social Sciences; Dr. Catherine Lyall, Innogen, School of Politics & Social Sciences
ContactShawn H.E. Harmon
AimsThe primary academic aim is to advance thinking on some of the key issues that will face healthcare systems in the coming years. In particular, we wish to consider the different paradigms of control or governance that are engaged in the health innovation and healthcare delivery environments respectively, and how they interact (or fail to interact adequately), and to explore practical challenges and possible solutions for improved health innovation and healthcare governance. We have specified some themes and questions for project participants to use to guide their contributions. The unifying theme, however, will be on the challenges posed by differing paradigms operating within the health research setting (public v. private, professional v. participatory, etc.), and we hope everyone can agree on stating something academically and/or policy-wise useful about that at the end.
MethodsThis project draws on the existing and evolving research of experts across a range of fields who are brought together in a discursive format, one objective of which is to encourage the formation of cross-disciplinary collaborative networks within a relatively structured format.
Further informationThe project will consist of a PhD Primer Meeting (11 Feb 2011) attended by University of Edinburgh PhD students, which will feed into a subsequent Expert Meeting (15 Feb 2011) of a small number of experts from around the world.It is expected that the project will result in a meetings report, a joint academic (peer-reviewed) paper, and a series of presentations which will be available to the public on the centres’ websites.
ContactAnn Bruce, ESRC Innogen Centre, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards, EH1 1LZ, UK
Funded byESRC & Defra Placement Fellowship
BackgroundThe emergence and increasing geographic spread of infectious animal diseases, such as the recent incursions of bluetongue virus to Europe and African Swine Fever into Georgia and the Caucasus, serve as a reminder of the threat that infectious animal diseases can pose to security of food supplies as well as to animal welfare and economic growth and human health in certain circumstances. Speed of diagnosis is an important aspect of animal disease control and recent technological developments offer the prospect of more rapid diagnosis and consequent opportunities for reducing the social and economic impact of livestock disease.The practical impact of rapid/Point of Care (POC) devices depends not only on their technical capabilities but also on the willingness of vets and animal keepers to use them and the circumstances in which they are adopted. Whilst there has been considerable research on attitudes to biosecurity and to infectious diseases in food animals, there appears to have been no research conducted to date on attitudes to diagnostics. The research reported here examined attitudes of vets and farmers/food chain professionals to rapid/POC devices in the context of both notifiable and endemic disease control in food animals and horses. Particular impetus for the research was provided by the setting up of a Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents Innovation Platform by the UK Technology Strategy Board in October 2008 with the aim of supporting the development and adoption of clinically useful and commercially viable diagnostic tests in areas identified as priority by the UK Department of Health and Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra).
To gather insights into the deployment of Point of Care (‘pen-side’) veterinary diagnostic technologies, specifically:
- Review existing evidence on these new technologies
- Outline possible impacts on the user community (including unintended consequences)
- Explore users’ attitudes towards and interaction with the diagnostic technologies and identify drivers and barriers to adoption by food chain professionals and practitioners
- Inform and clarify policy implications
MethodsInformation for this project was collected Sept-Dec 2009 from 41 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and a one-day workshop with 38 participants (including diagnostic manufacturers) devised in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board. Additional material was obtained from attending the Veterinary Laboratories Agency International Conference on Animal Diseases on 2nd September 2009. A small number of additional unstructured, scoping interviews were also conducted (n=8). Questions in the semi-structured interviews focussed around key issues in control of infectious animal diseases, reactions to the potential deployment of pen-side diagnostics, barriers and enablers of uptake of diagnostics and data collection issues.
- Rapid/POC devices were perceived to have some potential advantages. In the context of notifiable diseases these clustered around applications that gave early indication of the presence of a notifiable disease for further confirmation using standard laboratory tests. In the context of endemic diseases, rapidity of diagnosis was generally perceived to be less of a benefit whereas the ability to test ‘on-farm’ was perceived to have some benefits. However, the rapid/POC nature of tests was also entangled with the need for improved diagnostic tests for diseases such as Campylobacter and bovine TB.
- The main barrier to adoption of rapid/POC devices was lack of confidence in the reliability of results from these devices. As the consequences of the decision made with the aid of these devices increases (from changing treatments, to culling individual animals, to declaring a disease outbreak) the need for confidence becomes more acute. Allied with lack of confidence in test results were concerns about loss of control of communication regarding the prevailing disease situation and potential loss of information for disease surveillance and epidemiological study.
- Rapid/POC devices codify the complex knowledge of laboratory testing into an easily understandable format. As a result there may be a temptation to over-rely on these devices, devalue clinical judgements and as a result misdiagnose disease.
- The small group of farmers interviewed for this research indicated their potential interest in using these devices, subject to cost and usability. They further indicated their continuing reliance on veterinary expertise to support any us of these device: to advise on appropriate devices to use, how to use them and in interpreting and acting on the output. The sample of farmers was however small and since these devices are not currently readily available, views and attitudes could change with increasing experience.
- These devices are being introduced at a time when the control of animal disease in the UK is under flux. The increasing stress on governance and the Responsibility and Cost Sharing agenda is likely to result in shifting relationships among government, vets and farmers. Many respondents identified relationships among farmers, vets and government as key to how these devices might be adopted in practice, thus the landscape within which devices might be adopted could rapidly change.
Bruce, A. (2010) Newly Emerging Veterinary Diagnostic Technologies: Exploring Attitudes, Behaviours and Wider Social Impacts, Innogen policy briefing.
Bruce, A. (2010) Attitudes to the use of Rapid/Point of care devices in the control of animal disease, Innogen Working Paper No 86.
Bruce, A. (2010) Can veterinary diagnostic devices help control livestock disease? Britain in 2011 - Annual magazine of the Economic and Social Research Council, p. 89.
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Joyce TaitAssociated staff: Catherine Lyall, Renate Gertz (AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law), Jonathan Suk (Genomics Forum)
, ESRC Innogen Centre, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards, EH1 1LZ, UK
Co-funded by Eurpoean Science and Technology Observatory (ESTO)
Innogen was invited to tender for this study by ESTO, based in the EC Institute for Prospective Technology Studies (IPTS) in Seville. Our ability to link with a team of eminent scientists based in Roslin Institute and the Genesis Faraday Partnership in Roslin, along with the legal expertise of our colleagues in the AHRB Law Centre, were instrumental in our being awarded the contract.
- To provide a comprehensive picture of R&D and commercial activities involving animal cloning and/or genetic modification and their products, worldwide
- To provide evidence on the pipeline of products for the next five years
- To identify the potential socio-economic impacts (benefits and risks) and new policy implications of the development of these technologies and of the commercialisation of their products in the EU
- To compare the regulatory frameworks and visions worldwide
The study will covered applications of the technology, including food production, molecular pharming, xeno-transplantation, the pet sector, sporting animals and endangered species. We reviewed of the main R&D actors and products in the market and in the pipeline will be worldwide in order to anticipate potential safety, trade and competitiveness implications.
The key findings related to cloned animals are indicated below:
- The widely held view among industry insiders is that meat and milk derived from the offspring of cloned cattle and pigs are likely to enter the food chain somewhere in the world before 2010. The emergence of food products derived from animal cloning raises numerous ethical and policy issues One of the main barriers to commercial uptake of cloned elite animals is perceived as market acceptability and the pending regulatory assessment by the Food and Drugs Administration in the United States.
- The likely impact of existing legislation in the EU on products from cloned animals is unclear at the moment e.g. it is not clear if cloned animals will be classified as genetically modified organisms and therefore subject to Directives such as 2001/18/EC governing the commercial release of genetically modified organisms.
- There is currently no scientific method (and no obvious basis) for distinguishing between meat and milk from non-cloned and cloned animals (or from the offspring of cloned animals). Thus any labelling requirements related to the products of cloned animals would need to rely upon traceability regimes.
- No clear international agreements covering trade in semen and embryos from cloned livestock are in place, although some companies are actively working in this area.
- The lack of consistency poses a potential barrier to the animal biotech industry but may also increase the likelihood of public resistance.
The main findings from this project were published in the January 2007 issue of Nature Biotechnology:
Suk, J., Bruce, A., Gertz, R., Warkup, C., Whitelaw, C.B.A., Braun, A., Oram, C., Rodríguez-Cerezo, E., Papatryfon, I. (2007), Nature Biotechnology 25(1): pp 47-53.
Project reports:Three reports were produced for the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) Seville:Animal Cloning and Genetic Modification: A Prospective Study (1) - R&D and commercialisation activitiesAnimal Cloning and Genetic Modification: A Prospective Study (2) - Cloned animals Socio-economic issuesAnimal Cloning and Genetic Modification: A Prospective Study (3) - GM animals Socio-economic issues
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
The successful decoding of the human genome at the beginning of the twenty-first century and subsequent advances in the new scientific-technological field of genomics revolutionised biomedical research and paved the way to the ‘post-genomic’ era.
In this context, many traditional small-refrigerator based biobanks have been transformed into sophisticated storage centres, containing DNA samples from large-scale populations. Given the high sensitivity of DNA samples/health-records combined data, critiques of biobanks raise a number of legal, ethical and socio-political issues, including the risk of violation of fundamental individual rights.
In response to them, advocates put forward the argument of ‘public good’ and ‘public interest’.
The challenge of achieving a balance between individual risks and public benefits raises the question of democratic governance of large-scale population biobanks.
The aim of this project is to ‘evaluate’ processes of democratic steering of new life science technologies.
The focus of research is on large-scale population biobanks.
The project first draws on contemporary theories of democracy in order to develop a set of valid indicators of assessment.
Secondly, it applies these indicators to specific cases of large-scale population biobanks, identifying ‘gaps’ and ‘good practices’ in their processes of democratic governance.
The project will establish measures to assess governance of new life science technologies against participation, openness, accountability, freedom of choice, etc.
Data will be collected through documents and case studies of specific countries and regulatory regimes.
Project updateDr Papaioannou is currently developing a semi-structured questionnaire for field work in the UK Biobank.
PublicationsPapaioannou, T. (2008) ‘Assessing Democratic Governance of Genomics: the Case of Large-Scale Population Biobanks’ INNOGEN/DPP, The Open University (Scoping Paper).
This international study, funded under the European Union New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) programme is led by Professor Arie Rip, University of Twente and Innogen, with the Research Centre for Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and the Centre for the Study of Innovation at Ecole des Mines, Paris. The University of Edinburgh contribution to ATR-BEST focussed mainly upon `Addressing the challenges of breakthrough science and technology'.
The aim of the project was to develop a process, with corresponding tools, for the management of new and emerging science and technology, where uncertainty is great, but hoped-for potential is also great. There is experience with managing newly emerging science and technology, and recognition of their importance, but these experiences have not developed to a level that one yet can identify `best practices'. The project focused on the emergence of a new field of enquiry and exploitation at the interstices of existing fields, including nano-technology-related developments and breakthrough technology arising from genomics-related knowledge. It sought to explore differences between technical fields by mapping the extent and intensity of linkages between emerging fields and anticipated application domains. It focused upon a number of related questions:
- how do practitioners handle emerging and potentially breakthrough science and technology?
- What are the differences between NEST areas - between, for example, emerging fields with specific linkages to application domains and those which hold out the promise of generic applicability?
- What trade-offs surround the choices in managing NEST, for example between specific and generic exploitation potential or between pursuing aligned or more heterogeneous research goals? How are they addressed by science and technology programme builder and research funders etc.?
- What are the main strategies for managing NEST (for example through the promotion of portfolios of research).- and are there instances of best practice. Which processes lead to productive interaction, and how can these be supported? What policy lessons can be drawn from these outcomes?
- Literature study and desk research
- Interviews and other interaction with practitioners: research programme builders; research funders; science and technology policymakers
- Practitioner workshop to explore their reaction to the approaches and tools
The study developed concepts and related tools that may improve the selection and monitoring of projects under NEST, to enable scientists, technologists and policymakers to improve their strategic reflection and choices.
Spinardi, Graham and Williams, Robin, (2005) `The governance challenge of breakthrough science and technology'. In: Lyall, Catherine and Tait, Joyce (eds) New modes of governance : developing an integrated policy approach to science, technology, risk and the environment. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, pp.45-66.
Funded byLeverhulme Trust
Bias and misconduct in science have been amply documented by historians and sociologists. Which fields, countries, and individuals are at greater risk, and why? This project will review and unify theories and models predicting how scientific objectivity and integrity might be influenced by methodological and socio-economic factors, and will test these predictions with advanced statistical methods.
Unconscious biases, selective reporting of results, data “fudging” and outright scientific misconduct are to be understood by a combination of psychological, situational, epistemological and structural factors. To date, scholars have focussed on the former two, addressing them largely through qualitative research and studying historical cases of scientific controversies, famous frauds, and “pathological” science (in which non-existing phenomena were solidly “proven” and studied for years).
This approach expresses two dominant traditions in the philosophy and sociology of science. One is the tendency to talk about “science” as if it were one and the same or, at most, of two kinds, the natural and the social. The other is to consider scientific fraud as the problem of just a few “bad apples”.Epistemological and structural factors, however, (for example, characteristics of field, methodology, and socio-economic conditions of researchers) are equally relevant to understanding the nature of science and misconduct. On the one hand, many parameters linked to academic practice and life appear to vary systematically across the physical, biological and social sciences. This supports the hypothesis of a Hierarchy of the Sciences that reflects levels of paradigmatic development, and therefore potentially of methodological rigour and objectivity. On the other hand, surveys and meta-analyses suggest that known cases of misconduct are only the tip of an iceberg of bias and misconduct, the nature and impact of which might vary with methodological, sociological, cultural and economic factors.
AimsThis project will take the study of bias and misconduct to a new level, by combining two research programs and by developing new quantitative tools. It will review and synthesize theories and evidence on the Hierarchy of the Sciences and on the causes of misconduct, and will verify them by assessing the hardness of different fields and the prevalence of bias and misconduct across disciplines.
Joyce Tait, Joanna Chataway & David Wield
Affiliated staffAnn Bruce, Sue Oresczcyn & James Smith
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Before the establishment of Innogen, Tait, Chataway and Wield et al conducted a range of research projects focused on company strategies for agricultural biotechnology.
Innovation in this area is characterised by its extremely long term nature and highly regulated environment.
From 2002, relevant Innogen research focused on industrial strategy and governance of agro-biotechnology innovation, drawing together public policy and industrial strategy dimensions into a series of analytical and heuristic frameworks (see publications below).
Related research focused on agricultural innovation systems in developing countries.
This research aims to draw together previous foci on biotechnology, global agriculture and food security.
We will explore the changing strategies of key multinational companies important for agricultural production, trade and value-chain; public policies concerning agro-biotechnology and food security; and drivers of innovation in developing country agriculture.
We will choose case studies that integrate analysis of firm dynamics, public policy, and agro-biotechnology and value-chain analysis.
The project will combine secondary and interview-based research on company strategy, global production and trade trends.
It will develop a theoretical framework and then design and choose case studies that allow for an integrated analysis. For example, case studies might include those on animal feed and biofuels.
There are policy implications at various levels. The most likely levels at which the project may work are at the European level and at the level of development policy.
At macro level, we are witnessing major global perturbations, first of rises in commodity prices, and then of financial downturn. This is likely to cause serious disruption to food security policy.
At micro levels, the agricultural innovation systems of the poorer agricultural producers are also likely to be strongly affected.
Tait, J., Chataway J., Kyall, C and Wield,D (2006) ‘Governance, Policy and Industry Strategies: pharmaceuticals and agro-biotechnology’, in Mazzucato, M and Dosi, G. (eds) Knowledge Accumulation and Industry Evolution: the case of pharma-biotech, Cambridge University Press, pages 378-401.
Chataway, J., Tait, J and Wield, D (2006) ‘The governance of agro and pharmaceutical biotechnology innovation: public policy and industrial strategy’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 18, 2, 169-185.
Ayele, S., Chataway, J and Wield, D (2006) ‘Partnerships in African crop biotechnology abnd the millennium development goals’, Nature Biotechnology, 24, 619-621.
Chataway, J., Tait, J and Wield, D (2004) ‘Understanding company R&D strategies in agro-biotechnology: trajectories and blindspots’, Research Policy 33, 1041-57: reproduced in McKelvery, M and Orsenigo, L (eds) The Economics of Biotechnology, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham 2006.
Tait, J., Chataway, J and Wield, D (2002) ‘The life science industry sector: evolution of agro-biotechnology in Europe’, Science and Public Policy, 29, 253-258.
Funded byLeverhulme Trust
The research builds on my previous work on cultures of kinship in Malaysia and Britian (Carsten 1997; 2000; 2004), and extends this into biomedical settings.
It will take place in two linked phases in Penang and Edinburgh, both cities with extensive hospital, clinical, research, and teaching facilities.
How do people deal with different orders of knowledge when the same object is the focus of scientific investigation and cultural or moral discourses?
Blood is an example of such an object - a marker of cultural identity, and the object of scientific knowledge.
This project will investigate how professionals with clinical, scientific, and technical expertise negotiate popular and biomedical understandings of blood in their working practices.
Based on comparative fieldwork in Malaysia and Britain, where blood participates differently in discourses of kinship and identity, the research will illuminate how different kinds of knowledge are compartmentalised or inflect each other.
MethodsStandard social anthropological methods: participant observation, observation, interviews.
Jane Calvert (Egenis)
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigators: Steve Hughes (Egenis), Xiaobai Shen (Innogen)Associated staff: Robin Williams, Joyce Tait
Funded byThe EU PRIME Network of Excellence.
During the last twenty years, intellectual property has been strengthened and extended to basic research and new technologies like software or biotechnologies.
Patents and copyrights have played a key role in the recent waves of innovation in these industries where numerous and scattered intellectual property rights (IPRs) may result in a tragedy of "anti-commons" so that hold ups, multiple margins and transaction costs impede innovation and competition. Furthermore, putting IPR at the core of innovative activities, as an economic target and a proxy for innovation performance, has modified the rationale for investing in research.
Innogen was involved in this project with partners from France and Italy and worked on `Patent Platforms in Agricultural Biotechnologies' with colleagues based in the Egenis Centre and contributed to a transverse analytical framework with staff having also Open-source expertise in the Edinburgh Centre.
- To understand how collective institutions based on intellectual property rights (CIPR) develop in response to blocking IPRs on cumulative and/or complementary innovations
- To evaluate the performances of these institutions
This project applies a transversal approach to two different industries, Open Source Software and Patent Platforms in Agricultural Biotechnology, to develop a comparison between these two forms of CIPR.
- The project analysed a diversity of tools for the collective management of IP rights (e.g. patent pools and clearing house mechanisms), and argued that these tools enable a decentralised yet coordinated management of R&D projects where cooperative R&D is commonplace.
- It showed that CIPRs vary widely in the details of their functioning and implementation. This reflects the variety of technological fields in which they can take place. Communities of IP users frequently find ways to avoid or reduce the anticommons situation, and the collective handling of IP rights allows the creation of original forms of organisation. However, although collective institutions are improving, nothing guarantees that they can perfectly compensate for all the deficiencies of the IP system, so IP proliferation remains a problem.
O’Malley, M, Bostanci, A and Calvert, J (2005) Whole genome patenting Nature Reviews Genetics, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 502-506.
Shen, X (2005) A dilemma for developing countries in IP strategy? Lessons from a case study of software piracy and Microsoft in China, Science and Public Policy, Volume 32, Number 3, pp. 187-198.
Calvert, J (2007) Patenting genomic objects: genes, genomes, function and information, Science as Culture Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 207-223
Hughes, S and Deibe, E, (2007), E Plant Breeders Rights, Room for Manoeuvre? Tailoring Biotechnologies, 2, pp. 77-86.
For further information contact:
Xiaobai Shen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Affiliated staffJoyce Tait,Wendy Kenyon
This study explores the social benefits resulting from community involvement in forestry in Scotland. Social benefits have been claimed and reported but a review of literature identified a need for further exploration to qualify them in nature and extent.
MethodsA novel appraisal approach was also developed as part of this study to explore the context in which benefits are delivered and identify the factors and mechanisms instrumental in the delivery process. The research used a case study approach focussing on the Scottish Borders. It included a scoping phase involving semi-structured interviews to gain an understanding of the forestry sector and explore the wider context in which forestry operates. This phase informed the methodological strand of the study by feeding into the development of the appraisal approach and the design of the second empirical phase in which social benefits were investigated through a detailed study of four initiatives. Qualitative and quantitative information was collected through semi-structured interviews and local surveys.
FindingsThe main findings relate to the nature and distribution of social benefits and an understanding of the processes by which they are delivered. For example, social capital building was found nearly exclusively amongst those with direct contact with the projects. Other benefits, such as feelings of increased belonging or connection with their area, were experienced more widely and could result from the mere knowledge of the existence of the community initiative. The governance structures and institutions involved and the nature of the local community and area were found to be important and interrelating elements in the process by which benefits are experienced. Current forestry policy supports community involvement as a rural development mechanism, and the study findings provide insight in to the circumstances under which, and manner in which, community involvement should be facilitated for maximum gain. For example, the nature of the community and levels of existing community cohesion have implications for the role of external agencies; activities and events were found to be very important in attracting people to the woods who might not otherwise visit; and the capacity for the woods to be a forum through which interests in local biodiversity, history and arts are explored and expressed was found to be valuable.
Joyce Tait, Ann Bruce, Catherine Lyall
Innogen members contributed to a European team of researchers working on this project, to provide advice for members of the European Parliament through ETEPS (a network for European Techno-Economic Policy Support).
The objective was to provide an assessment of the consequences, opportunities and challenges that applications of modern biotechnology present for the EU, to identify and quantify the contributions of modern biotechnology to the achievement of major European policy objectives as formulated in the Lisbon Agenda and the sustainable development strategy.
Innogen's contribution was in mapping the adoption of modern biotechnology in primary production/agro-food in the EU and evaluating the consequences, opportunities and challenges of applications in primary production and agro-food.
Zika, E. et al. (2007), , JRC. IPTS, European Commision.
Affiliated staffCatherine Lyall (Innogen), Jonathan Suk (Genomics Forum) and Laura Meagher (Technology Development Group)
The Innogen team undertook the risk analysis which underpinned the UK Foresight project on the projected risks from infectious diseases of humans, animals and plants over 10 and 25 year time horizons, comparing three geographical regions: the UK, sub-Saharan Africa and China. It drew on best available evidence to review and compare future risks using a common set of metrics to: identify the factors driving changes in risk; assess how the size and nature of risks are evolving; and indicate the range of plausible future patterns of risk, taking account of the needs and views of the wider stakeholder community.
Over 300 experts from over 30 countries were consulted during the full Foresight project. A qualitative framework enabled us to organise and prioritise factors influencing the spread of infectious disease.There were two research phases:
- A preliminary scoping phase to develop an understanding of the most important issues and their interactions, to formulate the overall approach to the research and to plan the survey to be carried out in the second phase;
- A two-stage Delphi questionnaire-based survey of expert opinion on future risks in the UK and Africa, including a range of specially commissioned expert reviews.
The challenge was to develop survey-based results that would be useful to decision-makers and would also be regarded as useful and valid by scientific peer reviewers. Results emphasised the importance of interactions among the drivers, sources and pathways of disease. Using data collected from these expert sources we developed an algorithm-based tool for considering future disease risks and decision-making on the need for and use of detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) technology. Decision-making in other areas may benefit from a similar modelling approach that allows a complex interdisciplinary risk situation to be broken down into more manageable elements. The innovative methodological approach developed for this project is thus of as much interest for future research in this area as are the outcomes of the survey itself.Results for all six survey samples, for 2015 and 2030 are available via www.Foresight.gov.uk.
The survey shed light on the differences in economic and political context in Africa and the UK.
Briefly, the highest perceived risks by 2030 related to:
- New pathogens or new strains of existing pathogens arising through natural genetic change
- Geographical extension of pathogens from within or outside the UK and Africa
In five of the six categories there was a perceived high risk of:
- New diseases from other species reservoirs, including wild species reservoirs
- Drug use leading to the emergence of drug-resistant disease organisms
- An increase in disease due to a mean temperature increase in the range 0.5 – 2 degrees Celsius
- Changes in disease sources were seen as important determinants of future risks in all six categories (plants, animals and humans; UK and Africa).
- Changes in pathways were seen as much less important generators of disease risks across all categories.
- For disease drivers many more were considered important in Africa than in UK.
Tait, J., Meagher, L., Lyall, C., and Suk, J. (2006), Foresight. Infectious Diseases: preparing for the future. T2: Risk Analysis. Report to Office of Science and Innovation, London
Lyall, C., Suk, J. and Tait J. (2006), Foresight. Infectious Diseases: preparing for the future. T3: Expert Survey of the UK and Africa. Report to Office of Science and Innovation, London.
Suk, J., Lyall, C. and Tait, J. (July 2007) Risk Analysis in the UK Foresight Programme on the Detection and Identification of Infectious Diseases, Innogen Working Paper
Suk, J., Lyall, C. and Tait, J. (submitted July 2007) Risk Analysis in the UK Foresight Programme on the Detection and Identification of Infectious Diseases, Innogen Working Paper
For further information contact:
Joyce Tait, email@example.com
Affiliated staffSupervisors:Dr James MittraProfessor Donald Mackenzie
Technological innovations are frequently portrayed as not amenable to traditional insurance mechanisms due to the lack of actuarial data. This homogenising view overlooks the fact that insurance coverage is uneven among countries, sectors and risks.
However, emerging technological risks (such as from nanotechnologies and genetic engineering) pose a challenge for liability underwriters. The project explores how underwriters make the decision to provide protection against liability where there is a lack of experiential data and risks from a technology are complex, uncertain and ambiguous.
As risk transfer capacity may regulate the rate and direction of innovation, the project also explores the role that the nature of a risk plays in innovation processes in the life sciences.
The aim of the project is to understand the role of risk transfer mechanisms such as insurance and reinsurance in the management of complex, uncertain and ambiguous technological risks.
This is an interdisciplinary project that draws on research in science and technology studies, law, economic sociology and anthropology. The research methods are interviews, documentary analysis and ethnographic observation.
Affiliated staffSimon Outram & Norman Clark
Funded byBritish Council
It is apparent in Africa, as elsewhere, that controversy over genetics and associated biotechnologies is raging, and has become the focus for a wide range of socio-economic concerns including: increasing global inequality, mistrust of multi-national companies, democratic representativeness in public institutions, as well as more directly connected concerns about the unknown impacts of genetic engineering on the environment and health.
The project sought to highlight these issues as they emerged from discussions with scientists, science journalists, and multi-disciplinarians from various fields of research.
It is argued that such is discussion is primarily held between a few expert and seldom communicated outside of academia. The project also sought to explore the barriers against, and opportunities for, multi-disciplinary science communication.
Finally the project sought to examine whether scientists are communicating outside of academia through the media.
Above all, the argument is that in order for genetics and biotechnology to be successfully integrated into the economies of sub-Saharan Africa, it will require a sustained effort to maximise the ability of experts to communicate with each other and with the wider public, and in turn, to integrate this knowledge with existing public knowledge, perceptions, and demands for this new science and technology to meet Africa’s most urgent needs.
Empirical research sought to address the following questions:
- What is the substance and form of the ELSI discussion over genetics and biotechnology, as it specifically relates to sub-Saharan Africa?
- Are questions about genetics and biotechnology being discussed through inter-disciplinary platforms?
- Are questions about genetics and biotechnology being discussed between academia and the media?
- How can improvements be made regarding communications – what practical and/or policy improvements are suggested by those closest to such discussion?
In line with the aims and objectives of the project, interviews were undertaken with key personnel from Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa based upon a semi-structured interview schedule exploring:
- the socio-economic implications of genetics and biotechnology
- the experiences and opinions concerning inter-disciplinary discussion of genetics and biotechnology
- the experiences and opinions of communication between scientists and science journalists
Interviewees included geneticists, social scientists, specialists in science communication, educational specialists, and multi-disciplinarians.
Interviews were conducted face-to-face, on the telephone, and via online chat/messaging.
In addition, a two-day workshop was held at the University of Cape Town to discuss the issues raised during interviews.
In particular, the workshop attendees focused attention on how to open up communication channels between academic experts and science journalists.
In seeking to analyse both the interviews and main recommendations from the workshop; primary data from interviews was discussed in relation to the literature on science and technology innovation (especially in Africa), science communication, and more generally the sociology of scientific knowledge.
The African debate over genetics and biotechnology has become dominated by European concerns over GM technology.Multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary discussion is not encouraged by the funding and organisational structure of African Universities.
Scientists and science journalists often misunderstand and mistrust each other. A large number of media articles on genetics and biotechnology do not get completed as African scientists frequently do not talk to local science journalists.
Policy implicationsPolicy development with respect to genetics and biotechnology regulation needs to focus upon local context, rather than policy-choices based the relative food-secure and low-health burden context of the North.
Project updateWebsite being launched early 2009
Project Undertaken by Innogen and the Africa Genome Education Institute, South Africa
Joanna Chataway, James Smith
Affiliated staffAparna Joshi, Kalpana Chaturvedi, Matthew Harsh, Norman Clark
The central focus of Innogen research in developing countries is on the role partnerships play in driving research, innovation, technology transfer and development embedded within crosscutting themes of governance and globalisation and public engagement with science. This section reports on two projects funded under the Innogen programme, (i) in Africa and (ii) in Asia and Latin America. Several other small projects have also been added in this area:
- Examining partnerships and processes within the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda
- Examining institutional change, partnerships and governance within the new Biosciences Initiative for East and Central Africa, a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) joint initiative
- An ethnographic approach to the dynamics and politics of innovation systems in East Africa. Case studies include tissue culture banana, the East Coast Fever vaccine project, and transgenic sweet potato initiatives
- Xiaobai Shen has carried out case studies of public-private partnerships around GM rice and the development of the SARS vaccine in China, working with colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
- Working with Lea Velho from UNU INTECH, two agricultural biotechnology case studies have been conducted in Brazil - one on a partnership between Monsanto and EMPRABA, a major Brazilian state agricultural research institute, the other on Brazilian public-private partnerships working on AIDS/HIV vaccines and their relationship to the major international partnerships working in the same area.
- How are research partnerships constructed? What processes of politics and power underpin them? How do they create new knowledges?
- How is R&D capacity being built? What processes and initiatives produce sustainable knowledge and what do not?
- What linkages exist between smallholders, the poor, scientists, institutions and donors? How do these relationships shape innovation and dissemination of products? What discourses define these relationships?
Our methodology is fieldwork led. Methods include in-depth interviews with senior scientists, institutional managers, NGOs, policymakers, farmers and users. We have also used participant observation and other ethnographic techniques when working with smallholder farmers.
- Our overriding concern has been to interrogate the conceptual apparatus of ‘innovation systems’ as a tool to analyse and to shape policy in developing countries. We have sought to move beyond an innovation systems approach and look more deeply into the politics and power of innovation itself. Our research has underlined that innovation systems approaches provide a sound framework for analysis and remedial policy action. Weaknesses are apparent, however, ‘everything is important’ and a lack of methodology highlights a lack of analytical precision. There is a further risk that innovation systems accrue ‘normative weight’ and become valued as a concept for their own sake.
- To this end we have sought to use our case studies to seek conceptual clarification of innovation systems. We have sought to interrelate key concerns from development studies, including ‘power’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘participation’ with innovation systems analyses. We have further sought to inject place, space and locality within innovation systems. A further concern has been to examine the dynamics between firm or initiative level actions/capacities and broader system.
- More specifically, projects 3 and 4 have enabled us to more precisely conceptualise North-South product-based R&D partner ships as complex, differentiated and context specific. The emergence of this new breed of partnerships operating with large degrees of autonomy from multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations, are the outcome of an interaction between local and international political and economic contexts.
- Second, these partnerships merge the public and the private in some important respects and force us to think about the ways in which we use those terms and what is conveyed by their use. The ‘privatisation’ of the public, with public sector organisations behaving in very similar ways to firms, and the emergence of organisations which have good claim to be serving the public interest but which behave as firms point to the need to develop new typologies and understandings of public and private.
- Third, the issue of access is key. Our work on agri-biotech demonstrates clearly that ‘linear models’ fail to deliver access to new technologies even when science and technological capabilities are improved. But the relationship between improved technological capacity and improved innovation in the South and access are poorly theorised. Hence, our research has focused on moving beyond innovation systems, away from understanding how things should work, towards understanding why things do not work. This will be the starting point for our work in Innogen phase two.
First, this research has enabled us to more precisely conceptualise North-South product based public private partnerships (PPPs) as complex, differentiated and context specific. The emergence of this new breed of PPPs, operating with large degrees of autonomy from multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations, are the outcome of an interaction between local and international political and economic contexts. Is international relations theory developing concepts appropriate to these new developments? Are emergent theories such as cosmopolitan democracy helpful in conceptualising this new approach to addressing the needs of the `neglected majority' and capacity building?
Second, product based PPPs merge the public and the private in some important respects and force us to think about the ways in which we use those terms and what is conveyed by their use. The `privatisation' of the public, with public sector organisations behaving in very similar ways to firms, and the emergence of organisations which have good claim to be serving the public interest but which behave as firms point to the need to develop new typologies and understandings of public and private.
Third, and related to the last point, our analysis of PPPs, particularly the large vaccine producing PPPs, raises questions about whether they represent a new institutional form operating according to a set of different principles or whether they are modified `firms' operating according to more conventional criteria. Fourth, one of our main case studies is of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). We have analysed IAVI as a communication and advocacy led organisation and this has led us to develop new theoretical frameworks for looking at the ways in which advocacy and public relations informs innovation.
Fourth the issue of access is key. What is the relationship between creating scientific and technological capabilities in health innovation and creating better health services? Different political and social contexts and different approaches to capacity building mean that innovation `sub-systems' or trajectories incorporate access and equity issues in a variety of ways. Our work on agri-biotech demonstrates clearly that `linear models' fail to deliver access to new technologies even when science and technological capabilities are improved. But the relationship between improved technological capacity and improved innovation in the South and access is poorly theorised. The relationship needs to be looked at from a number of angles. For instance, in order to better conceptualise these relationships we suggest that there is a need to bring together innovation perspectives on capabilities (capacity building) with a more Senian approach (looking at development in terms of capabilities).
We have successfully fed into several important policymaking fora, advising government departments, NGOs and other policymakers in Africa, North America and Europe and have had dealings with DFID, the World Bank, IDRC/CIDA and NEPAD amongst others institutions. We have also been active in disseminating our research at international conferences and workshops. See: www.innogen.ac.uk for details of policy documents and reports.
J. Smith, N. Clark and J. Mugabe (2005) Governing Agricultural Biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa, ACTS Press
J. Smith (2005) ‘Globalising vulnerability: Impacts of subsidies and unfair trade on developing country agriculture’, in R. Hester (ed.) Modern Agricultural Practices: their environmental, social and public health impacts Society of Chemistry Press, York
M. Mackintosh, J. Chataway and M Wuyts (2007) “Promoting innovation, productivity and industrial growth and reducing poverty: Bridging the Policy gap” The European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 19, No. 1 pp. 1-12
J. Smith, R. Hanlin and J. Chataway (2007) “Vaccine Innovation in Developing Countries” International Journal for Technology Management and Sustainable Development Vol. 6 (1)
J. Smith (2005) ‘Context-bound knowledge production, capacity building and new product networks’, Journal of International Development, Vol. 17(5)
J. Chataway, S. Brusoni, E. Cacciatori, R. Hanlin and L. Orsenigo (2007), 'The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in a changing landscape of vaccine development: a public private partnership as knowledge broker and integrator', European Journal of Development Research, 19, 1, 100-117.
J. Chataway, K. Chaturvedi, R. Hanlin, J. Mugwagwa, J. Smith and J. Wield (2007), 'Building the Case for National Systems of Health Innovation', A Background Policy Paper prepared for NEPAD in advance of the AMCOST meeting and the African Summit January 2007.
J. C. Chataway and J. Smith (2006), 'The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI): Is it Getting New Science and Technology to the World's Neglected Majority?' World Development, 34, 1, 16-30.
For further information contact:
James Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Andy LaneAssociated staff: Susan Carr
This research investigated the attitudes, intentions and practices of farmers regarding the new technology of genetically modified (GM) crops, in relation to their social setting. It:
- Explored how farmers construct their understandings of GM crops through their interactions with others, in particular family members, neighbouring farmers, seed companies, farming advisors and the local community.
- Ascertained the acceptability to farmers (both those with experience of GM crops and those without) of recommended man-agement practices for GM crops used in the UK government Farm Scale Evaluations (FSEs).
- Is developing models of social learning systems appropriate to support individual farmers within informal social settings who decide to adopt contentious new technologies such as GM crops.We investigated the following questions from the farmers’ point of view:
- What do farmers see as the pros and cons of new technologies generally and what do farmers believe about GM crops?
- For farmers who were involved in the FSEs, what were their experiences of growing GM crops?
- Who or what are the influences on farmers concerning the introduction of new technologies to help run their farms as a business?
- To what extent do farmers engage in learning?
An interactive, relationship building methodology using mapping techniques was used through three linked phases. First, telephone interviews with farmers with and without experience of growing GM crops were used to create cognitive maps of the participants thinking about them. Second, face to face interviews with some of the same farmers employed a mapping technique to explore the influences on farmers’ decisions concerning new technologies and their farming business. Third, an interactive workshop involving some of the same farmers and members of their community of influencers used a scenario planning tool to look at future developments.
Throughout the project the findings of each stage were shared with and validated by the participants and discussed with key stakeholders. The results of the final analyses will be used to inform discussions with stakeholders on the most appropriate ways to manage a new farming technology where the likely impacts are unclear or contested by different groups. They will also help identify the most important relationships to foster in such social learning systems.
- Farmers are responding to GM crops much as they would to any new technology.
- Farmers who have been involved in the FSEs, as well as those who have not, believe that GM crops offer bother economic and environmental benefits.
- Farmers consider that agricultural research and policy are not well attuned to agricultural practice.
- Farmers learn a) by experimenting, that is they draw upon their tacit knowledge and experience in their own setting to develop new technologies in practice, and b) by engaging with their network of practice (mostly other farmers) and their community of influencers.
- There is a lack of boundary brokers between farmers’ network of practice and other key communities of practice within a farmer’s community of influencers.
- Work on extending the social learning models is continuing.
Oreszczyn, S. & Carr, S. (2008) Qualitative Research, Vol 8, Issue 4, pp. 473–497.
Oreszczyn, S & Lane A. (2005) 'Farmer responses to new agricultural technologies'. Paper presented at Flows & Spaces in a globalised world. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London.
Lane, A. & Oreszczyn, S. (2005) Should farmers be landscape planners too? In McCollin, D. & Jackson, J. I. (2005) Planning People and Practice: The landscape ecology of sustainable landscapes. Proceedings of the 13th Annual (UK) Conference, University of Northampton.
Oreszczyn SM and Lane AB (2006) Farmers communities of practice and high-tech futures http://oro.open.ac.uk/5470/
Further informationFor further information contact: Sue Oreszczyn
Affiliated staffSteve Sturdy, James Mittra
This thesis examines the laws and regulations created in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S. to hasten development, evaluation, and approval of drugs to treat serious and lifethreatening diseases, and to allow access of seriously ill patients to investigational drugs on a pre-market approval basis. Using detailed historical exposition in tandem with the social-theoretic tools of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), and particularly Barnes's account of meaning finitism, this thesis examines the social origin, definition, and case-by-case application of conceptual categories in the regulatory oversight of drug development and approval. With this approach, rules and standards for drug approval are shown not to be fossilised machinery for decision-making, but rather living, socially produced and maintained, inherently revisable resources for action.
Key conclusions from this study are that: the regulatory actions taken to confront AIDS in the 1980s, often considered to be a radical break with previous practice, had their conceptual origins in the 1960s and 1970s; rule-making is often constitutionally related to a creative process of rule-'breaking'; tacit processes of consensus outside of, and prior to, formal consensus mechanisms for rule-making are often fundamental to the rule-making process, resulting in de facto 'rules' on which later, formal rule-writing can be based; as predicted by finitism, newly created categories of action in drug development and approval require reinterpretation of underlying concepts in related existing categories.
The thesis also demonstrates the flexibility and revisable nature of existing conceptual resources for application to current circumstances, consistent with a finitist view of knowledge. While the conclusions of this research are based on only one area of regulation, they are suggestive for more general descriptions of regulatory action. Contemporary theories of regulation are typically designed as economic models or are viewed through traditional categories of law and political science. As a result, they tend to abstract reality, ignoring day-to-day administrative practice, idealizing the nature of rule-following and rulemaking, and ignoring tacit processes of consensus. This thesis brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the theory of regulation, suggesting the outlines of a ‘social’ theory of regulation more fully sensitive to the empirical reality of the social process of rule-making and rule-breaking in contemporary regulation.
Further informationFast Track: the Transformtion of Drug Approval and the Clinical Trial System for Drug Evaluation in the United States
Affiliated staffSupervisors: Professor Mariana Mazzucato and Professor Paul Quintas
Pelin is now a Lecturer in Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School.
Targets to increase R&D intensity to 3% in the EU is a core part of the EC’s Lisbon Agenda (2005) which aims to achieve innovation led growth across Europe.
Fast growing innovative firms are essential drivers of productivity and economic growth. Yet entrepreneurial small innovative firms do not seem to grow fast enough to drive this innovation led growth (NESTA, 2008).
This study investigates the relationship between innovation and firm growth in an R&D intensive industry, the pharmaceutical industry, to better understand the firm level factors that determine whether innovation efforts pay off in terms of higher growth.
If innovative firms do not always grow more, which characteristics allow firms to grow most from their innovative efforts? Can this help us understand the ‘productivity paradox’ in this industry in which exponential growth in R&D and patenting has not translated into the discovery of many new drugs?
AimsThe study investigates the relationship between innovation and firm growth for different “types” of firms within the US pharmaceutical industry.
A combination of parametric and non-parametric techniques is used to tackle the questions around firm growth.
Parametric techniques such as panel data analysis allow one to have a sound and structured understanding of the growth process. For instance, whether (and how) firm size affects growth can be clearly assessed using such techniques. However, the parametric methodology imposes a pre-set model on the actual data and this can be limiting in terms of our ability to understand what really goes on in the actual data.
To step away from such limitations, and following from Bottazzi et al. (2003), the thesis utilizes also non-parametric methods and observe how the firm size distribution (FSD) and firm growth rate distribution (FGD) evolve over time.
The findings suggest that innovation (proxied via R&D spending, patents and citations) positively affects growth rates only for some types of firms, with many others not reaping much benefit at all from their innovative efforts.
Those firms which grow more due to their innovative efforts are those that are persistent innovators, have biotechnology alliances, and are small.
This indicates that market selection operates on a mix of firm characteristics rather than innovation per se and if there are not enough such firms in the industry, this may help to partly understand the ‘productivity paradox’ above.
Results also find that it is firms with these three characteristics that are found to shape ‘complex’ non-gaussian properties of firm size and growth (e.g. bimodality of firm size distributions and fat tails in the growth distributions) which have puzzled industrial economists (Cabral and Mata, 2003).
Normal size distributions only appear for firms that do not benefit from their innovative efforts! Understanding the structural characteristics of innovation that lead to non-normal distributions in size and growth is fundamental if theory is to inform policy in a useful way.
The DIUS Innovation Nation White Paper (DIUS, March 2008) claims that allowing innovation to translate into growth is a key priority of the UK industrial policy.
This study suggests that besides trying to raise R&D intensity figures (UK being 6th amongst the G7), it is fundamental for the UK innovation policy to better understand which firm level characteristics allow R&D and patenting activity to have an effect on growth.
It is critical to gain insights on how this relationship differs across different sectors. Is ‘persistence’ in innovation important in computers as it is in pharmaceuticals? Is it more important in specific phases of the industry life-cycle?
Pelin Demirel and Mariana Mazzucato
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
GM crops unlike other industrial technologies are specifically appealing to developing countries.
Many developing countries have been adopting GM technology to develop their own varieties and, at the same time, they become the battle ground for international / trans-national organisations, which either develop and promote GM agricultural technologies, or oppose them.
The debate over GM technologies has been politicised, polarised and globalised, and has led to the current impasse in regulatory process in developing countries.
From the tradition of science and technology studies (STS), we see that the above mentioned polarised positions and regulatory impasse are derived from two problems:
- seeing GM crops an abstract detached from diverse practices and the social-technical contexts
- treating them as fixed properties, which will not change after their creation.
The introduction of GM crops, which were developed elsewhere into a specific ‘land’ involves a process of ‘adaptation’ socially as well as physically.
As plants are living things, this adds even further complication of interaction to already multilayered mutual- adaptations between the new plant variety and the environment.
The aim of the research is to use socio-technical analysis to examine the adaptation process as GM crop technologies are adoped into a developing country like China and to explore the encounters between two sets of social technical systems and rationales and values, between the sites where GM was developed and initially applied and their subsequent take up in China.
Because of these differences, ‘misconceptions’, ‘misalignments’ and ‘blind spots’ are likely occur.
The characteristics of China's agricultural system are also analysed - including the success over many millenia is creating a wide range of rice varieties through artifical selection that are well-matched to China's diverse gepographical and climatic conditions.
Analysis of crop technologies needs to address not just the development of new crop technologies but also on subsequent local inputs in the production process, including human, material and knowledge in particular local knowledge and traditions.
The research will analyse the dynamics oif development and uptake of crop technologies and the associated challenges faced by government policies and regulatory systems on GM crops.
Ethnographic and historical study of a number of cases including GM rice and cotton varieties encompassing innoovation communities and regulators.
Whereas the GM controversy in the West has resulted in a sharp division being drawn between GM and conventional plant breeding in policy discourse and regulation, this dichotomy is less established in China.
GM potentially offers greater biodiversity than 'green revolution' and could be used to support, rather than displace China's traditional skill intensive rice cultivation system
Policy implicationsPolicies and perspectives originating in the West cannot simply be transported across to developing countries like China with their different history and economic and political traditions
Dr Alessandro Rosiello
Biotechnology is a classical example of a knowledge-based industry. Understanding the process of industrial and technological change requires concentrating on the interaction among a plurality of players and on the processes of knowledge `exploration', `examination' and `exploitation'.Alessandro has concentrated on the effect of knowledge exploration and exploitation dynamics and its interaction with institutional infrastructure, with collaboration networks and innovation policy on firms' locational choices.
Empirical analysis has aimed to find out:
- whether SE was able to encourage collaborative behaviour and the establishment of networks helping individual firms get access to and employ key assets?
- how important are the links outside Scotland?
- how significant and effective have the diverse activities of Scottish Enterprise been in support of companies' activities?
- what type of support have companies received from intermediaries such as lawyers and financial institutions?
Review of the literature on clusters and systems of innovation, including in-depth examination of theoretical and applied works on geographical agglomeration in high tech industries and of policy measures inspired by the doctrine of the `triple-helix'. Dr Rosiello has collected evidence on the Scottish, Danish and Swedish systems of innovation and legislative/institutional frameworks.Interviews have been conducted in 18 core biotechnology companies based in Scotland and 14 based in Sweden and Denmark. The data were analysed in terms of: the impact of the policy framework on firms' location decisions; knowledge creation, use and transfer, the mechanisms of such process and how this affects firms' strategies and behaviour; and the interplay and co-evolution between industrial and innovation trajectories and institutions.
The results are providing useful information on the influence of public policies on the development of effective corporate strategies, and the growth of a significant number of competitive firms in Scotland.
Dr Rosiello has attended and presented papers at conferences and workshops in the UK, Italy, Holland, France and USA and expanded his network of connections with industrialists (CEOs of biotech companies), academics in the Copenhagen Business School, University of Toronto, the National Institute of Engineering, Technology and Innovation in Lisbon, and policy makers.
Over the next few months, he will analyse the survey data from Scotland and Medicon Valley (Sweden and Denmark) in preparation for writing the final report and other publications.
He was able to use his contacts developed for this project in the organisation of one of the sessions at the Innogen International Conference in 2005.
Recognised co-evolution of public policy, industrial structure and science/technology in different contexts;
Factors affecting locational choices by dedicated biotechnology companies: more interested in learning and enhancing core competences than in stabilising relationships with suppliers and commercial partners, this includes:
- Access to financial resources
- Facilitated access to knowledge in public research institutions
- Support in establishing international collaborations
- Availability of skilled labour force
- Local knowledge dynamics influence locational decisions but the biotech industry is truly affected by an early process of internationalisation.
Rosiello, A (2004) At the Interfaces of Governance and Competence Perspectives presented at the Proximity Economics: Proximity, Networks, and Co-operation conference in Marseille, June 2004
Rosiello, A (2004) Genomics Innovation in Scotland presented at the 20th EGOS Colloquium in The Organization as a Set of Dynamic Relationships in Ljubljana, July 2004. This paper is under review by Urban Studies.
Rosiello, A (2004) Discussing Organisational Choices in the Scottish Biotech Industry, presented at Shifting Boundaries: Governance, Competence and Economic Organisation in the Knowledge Economy Conference in Bristol . This paper is forthcoming in a special issue regarding the conference proceedings in Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.
Rosiello, A (2004) On Knowledge Creation, Use and Transfer in the Scottish Biotech Cluster, presented at the EUNIP conference in Birmingham , December 2004.
Rosiello, A (2005) The Institutional Foundations of the Scottish Life Sciences Sector, under review by the Fraser of Allander’s Quarterly Economic Commentary.
For further informaion contract:
Joyce Tait and Shefaly Yogendra
Based on our experience with the GM crops debate in the UK and more widely, Innogen was asked to tender for a contract to advise on the implications for the South West Region of declaring a GM-free zone within the EU. This request arose from our report on Innogen's first international conference, produced in January 2004.
In advising on the question of declaring a GM-free zone in SW the following issues were addressed:
- The economic and social implications of making the proposed decisions
- The lessons from the other EU regions in the network of GMO free regions
- Enabling the regions to influence the debate
- Advising on the deliverability of the Regional position
Assessing the economic conditions and demographics of the South West to understand their competitive advantage as a predominantly agrarian region
Identification of key regions in UK and Europe with clear pro- and anti-GM stances
Identifying arguments on all sides of the debate, paying special attention to the economic and social considerations, and also including environmental and policy perspectives
A brief analysis of EC policy and regulatory decisions on the setting up of GMO-free regions, transboundary movements of GMOs and co-existence of GMOs with conventional and organic farming
A consideration of how EC policy and regulatory decisions are being interpreted by the UK government
An up to date assessment of trends in public opinion on GM crops in the UK and Europe
Review of academic and practitioner literature addressing similar issues in regional politics and policy making
Information sources included the Innogen Centre's extensive database, its network of contacts, web-based information, additional academic and trade literature, telephone interviews and electronic communications.
The final report, which is confidential to SWRA, presented the implications of various decisions on the declaration of a GM-free zone for SWRA, from a neutral perspective.
For further information contact:
Joyce Tait, email@example.com
Xiaobai Shen & Robin Williams
China's science and innovation system is growing very rapidly and it is expected that in coming decades, it will overtake many advanced economies in terms of levels of scientific activity and will achieve leaderhsip in a number of technical fields.
These developments are accompanied by the development of China's governance systems in relation to the promotion and application of science and technology; in relation to risk regulation and the assessment and amelioration of poteential negative social and economic and ethical outcomes.
In a context of globalisation we find concerns about nthe uneven development of governance; Attempts to harmonise governance systems promote concerns about the different positions in particular of developed and developing economies and about recognising distinct nationaland cutlural traditions
In collaboration with Chinese partners, the development and governance of diverse new and emerging areas of science and technology (NEST) is being tracked, including nanotechnologies, synthetic biology, and other applications of life science technologies in agriculutre and health.
The research will focus upon the emerging systems of governance.
MethodsThe work will involve case-studies of the development of NEST governance, often drawing upon international comparison and longitudinal/historical studies to gain insights into differences and similarities between governance systems and their dynamics of development.
Shawn H.E. Harmon
Affiliated staffGraeme Laurie and Fabiana Arzuaga
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
The appropriate creation and application of biotechnology throws up numerous challenges with which society must deal: scientific, environmental, social, ethical and legal.
Human Stem Cell Research (SCR), as an evolving exemplar of biotech innovation, is a nexus for many of these challenges and controversies. Although there is a growing body of work relating to human stem cells (SCs), there is a dearth of work on the interaction of social values and law in the SCR context – with its tensions between promoting science, managing stakeholders and limiting risks – and of its pursuit in developing countries.
Within the context of a case study on the regulation of biotechnology in Argentina, with special emphasis on the governance of stem cells from sourcing, to storing, to commercialising research outputs, the Governing Emerging Technologies project (GET: Social Values) examines how social and ethical values are, and can be, translated into legal rules (themselves deployed as social shaping tools insofar as they guide/promote socially significant research).
The GET: Social Values project is an ESRC-funded project that will examine the conduct and motivating values of Argentine stakeholders as they struggle with the moral and other controversies surrounding these regulatory subjects and endeavour to formulate socially acceptable regulatory structures applicable thereto.
Objectives include mapping the most salient features of the social/moral/legal debates, developing dialogues with stakeholders to reveal the multiple goals envisioned for regulation, and contributing to the debate surrounding and formulation of value-sensitive regulatory models.
In additional to facilitating communication amongst stakeholders, it is expected that the GET: Social Values project will:
- highlight the importance of values to the legitimacy and quality of regulation;
- explore those values with individuals operating in this arena; and
- identify opportunities to translate values into effective regulation within this developing economy.
However, given that Argentina has ambitions to become a regional leader, both scientifically and regulatorily, findings and benefits may not be limited to Argentina; the GET: Social Values project should permit general and generalisable insights into the governance of SCR and the accommodation of values in same, that is relevant to other similarly situated (culturally, economically, etc.) countries.
The GET: Social Values project design is intended to maximise the potential for in-depth information supportive of analysis of the key issues involved, including the existence of a disconnect between moral aspiration and rhetoric, on the one hand, and legal output, on the other. It will consist of the following:
- documentary research on the social and legal settings, questioning (1) what moral values are implicated by emerging SCR practices, (2) what primary moral debates surround SC harvesting, banking and patenting, and (3) whether different nations at different stages of economic development have significantly different notions of the importance of ethical values to regulation;
- a one-day interactive workshop in which some 10-15 stakeholder participants will consider various issues such innovation promotion, science governance, and patient safety, and legal solutions relating to same, thereby testing a variety of frameworks for advancing normative rules;
- approximately 20-25 semi-structured interviews with key Argentine stakeholders so as to explore participants’
- views on the social costs and benefits of sourcing, storing and commercialising SCs, and understandings of the primary moral debates surrounding same,
- opinions on the moral values implicated by emerging practices, and
- assessments of how research regulation can and ought to address moral concerns, what values are most important for inclusion within regulation, and the hurdles to achieving (moral) regulation given conflicts of values and objectives.
All material will be compiled and reviewed, and conclusions will be drawn and registered on ESRC Society Today.
Policy implicationsFindings will be fed into legislative and regulatory processes in Argentina as they become available.
Project updateThe first round of field work has been undertaken.
S. Harmon, “Motivating Values and Regulatory Models for Emerging Technologies: Stem Cell Research Regulation in Argentina and the United Kingdom” in M. Freeman (ed.), Law and Bioethics: Current Legal Issues 2008 (Oxford: OUP, 2008) 147-176 (ch. 9).
S. Harmon, “Emerging Technologies and Developing Countries: Stem Cell Research (and Cloning) Regulation and Argentina” (2008) 8(2) Developing World Bioethics 138-150. S. Harmon, “Imagining Argentina: From the Moral to the Legal in Cloning and Stem Cell Research Governance in Argentina” (2007) 2(10) Panoptica 1-16.
S. Harmon, “Policy Brief 5:2008 – Risk, Innovation, Diversity, Complexity: Policy Options and Objectives for Stem Cell Regulation”, for the Argentine Stem Cell Commission, 2008,
S. Harmon & G. Laurie, “Policy Brief 4:2008 – The Regulation of Human Tissue Use and Regenerative Medicine in Argentina: Making Experience Work” for Argentine Ministry of Science & Technology, 2008,
Siân M. Beynon-Jones
Affiliated staffDr Sarah Parry and Dr Nina Hallowell (supervisors)
Current UK abortion law has been subjected to extensive feminist critique because of the relationships that it constructs between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and women with unwanted pregnancies.
The law allows HCPs to opt out of abortion provision on the grounds of conscience, implying that it is not something which they have an automatic duty to provide to their patients.
It also gives doctors the authority to decide whether an abortion can legally take place, thus suggesting that women’s reproductive decisions should be regulated by medical ‘experts’. However, little is known about how HCPs who are involved in twenty-first century UK abortion provision define their relationships with their patients in practice.
Siân's thesis responds to this gap in the literature and aims to explore the subjectivities which HCPs who are involved in abortion provision (as well as those who opt out of it) construct for themselves and their pregnant patients.
Siân addresses this issue by analysing Scottish HCPs’ interview accounts of their involvement in (or conscientious objection to) abortion provision, using conceptual tools provided by Science and Technology Studies (STS) and feminist theory.
A key conclusion of the thesis is that HCPs do concede some authority to women with unwanted pregnancies; this is revealed by their reluctance to suggest that they have the right to prevent individual women from accessing abortion. At the same time, Siĉn reveals that the legitimacy granted to pregnant women by HCPs is limited, with implications for patients' experiences of accessing/undergoing abortion.
Shawn H.E. Harmon
Affiliated staffMs. Wiebke Abel, Prof. Graeme Laurie, Prof. Robin Williams
ContactShawn H.E. Harmon
Funded byThe Project is supported through the kind assistance of the SCRIPTed Conference Committee, SCRIPT, the School of Law, and Innogen.
AimsThe IST Project is a multi-pronged project intended to explore and advance academic thinking around the techno- and socio-legal aspects of implanted smart technologies and their implication for concepts of normality. Core academic objectives are to survey the technical state and trajectory of implantable smart technologies, and to interrogate their relationships with both the human person and the law. It will explore concepts of ‘normalness’ and how they are captured and entrenched in law, and how new technologies such as these are forcing a re-evaluation of the concept and related concepts such as ‘enhanced’, and what that means for human identity. In doing so, it will investigate the role of the law (both proactive and reactive) in this unstable and convergent field.
MethodsThe IST Project is intended to bring together a collection of international experts from a number of fields for the purpose of critical thinking around this topic, which is of current and future concern, with a view to stimulating new scholarly and practical approaches to existing legal frameworks and to exploring possible change. It relies on a collaborative discursive format, one objective of which is to encourage the formation of cross-disciplinary networks, and another of which is to develop one or more multi-centre collaborative projects.
Affiliated staffSupervisors: Dr James Mittra and Professor David Wield
ContactEmma King - firstname.lastname@example.org
ESRC CASE studentship in partnership with Scottish Stem Cell Network and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Servicep>
This project is undertaken in partnership with the Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) and aims to investigate the range of viable public and private sector innovation trajectories, business models and hybrid approaches to the development of clinical stem cell therapies.
- Develop a research based analysis of potential innovation processes and models for translating basic stem cell science into viable therapies, including the public sector, the commercial sector and public-private partnerships.
- Develop a research based analysis of regulatory developments related to stem cell therapies, such as the European Advanced Therapies Regulation, and explore connections with emerging innovative trajectories for stem cells
- Apply improved understanding of these issues to make recommendations on how to improve translational models to facilitate therapeutic innovations that are safe, affordable and publicly acceptable.
The key research objectives are to:
- Develop a detailed understanding of the governance of early stage stem cell research, recognising different ethical and moral positions, and relate new governance and regulatory agendas to the development of innovative therapies.
- Interview key actors in the public and private sphere and uncover the factors that may encourage or constrain therapeutic advance.
- Use original data to develop an integrated framework for analysing the interactions amongst scientific and clinical developments, which will be of interest to the academic community, policy-makers and the interests and concerns of the non-academic partner organisations (SNBTS and SSCN).
- Disseminate the outcomes to both academic and non-academic users through peer reviewed publications, conference/workshop presentations and short policy reports.
The research will be carried out using semi-structured interviews with actors in the field, alongside participant observation of laboratory work at SNBTS.
Key outputs will include analysis of the impact of the current European ethical, legal and regulatory environment on long-term investment in the development of stem cell therapies in the UK; recommendations on appropriate business models within the current environment, as well as more general policy advice to key stakeholders on balancing the need for private investment against broader public concerns.
Maureen Mackintosh & Luigi Orsenigo
Affiliated staffBecky Hanlin, Roberto Simonetti, Mariana Mazzucato & Peter Robbins
Funded byDIME & ESRC Innogen Centre
The case of health care represents a crucial issue and "example" in the analysis of the interrelations between innovation and inequality.
The project seeks to tackle the issue by bringing together an understanding of the construction of capabilities in innovation and manufacturing, and the construction of health system capability to deliver access and lower inequity.
The core questions we ask are:
- How do different health care systems promote and diffuse innovation (use of new drugs and/or treatments)? /li>
- What is the relationship- if any - between innovation and industrial policies, on the one hand, and health policies towards health system restructuring and health equity on the other?
- What is - if any - the trade-off between innovation in pharmaceuticals (favouring diffusion of new drugs and treatments) and equity of access (both to new drugs and to old drugs)?
We plan to study these questions in sharply differing empirical contexts:
- Middle income countries and others which have R&D elements in their pharmaceutical sector, and widely divergent health systems (e.g. Brazil, China and also India).
- Low income countries where a major industrial policy issue is the construction (or not) of production and supply of essential medicines (e.g. Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria).
Research methods are both quantitative and interview/fieldwork based.
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Joyce Tait
Life science innovations are having a significant impact on a variety of public sector organisations and commercial industries. In pharmaceuticals, new and complex re-alignments of companies and networks (through mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances & licensing activities) have evolved as companies attempt to extract value from new life science technologies relevant to drug discovery, and respond to a variety of internal and external commercial pressures. This has the potential - in the pharmaceutical and health sectors - to fundamentally affect the existing processes of drug discovery, development and marketing. The promise of `genomics' is that drug discovery and approval processes will be expedited and that drugs will become more efficacious, cost effective and of greater therapeutic benefit to patients.
Focusing on the science and industry side of these issues, this Economic and Social Research Council funded project investigated the changing nature, direction and management of life science-based innovations in the pharmaceutical and health sectors. We are attempting to improve understanding of the complex and diverse strategies employed by different types of firm, and assess their impact on the scientific, technological and industrial landscape.
1) What impact are specific life science technologies and approaches to drug discovery having on both early and late stage R&D, and what are the principal scientific, technological and commercial challenges for industry?
2) How are companies' R&D models/strategies changing in response to the emergence of radically new technologies?
3) What has been driving the general trend towards merger, acquisition and strategic alliance behaviour in the pharmaceutical sector, and how do individual companies decide how best to balance in-house R&D with outsourcing, strategic alliances and licensing?
4) How is the relationship between traditional pharma companies and the SME biotech sector evolving and what will determine the future success of the SME?
5) What aspects of policy and regulation (nationally and internationally) do companies see as enabling and constraining innovation and commercial success?
6) How do general public and political perceptions of the industry - particularly expectations of safety and efficacy - affect company strategies?
Case studies and interviews, with representatives of `big' and `medium' sized pharmaceutical companies, small and medium sized biotech companies, public sector research organisations and trade bodies
Document analysis of company websites, annual reports, press releases etc
Analysis of patent data and data from consultancy reports
- New Technologies have radically changed aspects of early-stage R&D, but not yet revolutionised downstream drug development
- Failure of Big Pharma to fully exploit the life sciences reflect current strategic/commercial priorities and uncertainties in the operating environment
- Strategies to extract value from new technologies dependent on internal firm-specific factors.
- Diverse organisational models and strategies for improving the health innovation cycle have emerged; challenging the notion of a single Big Pharma model.
- Despite emphasis on distributed innovation systems and new therapeutic foci, the traditional ‘blockbuster’ approach persists
- Uncertainties of the external regulatory/policy environment, and growth of the biotech sector, continues to challenge traditional strategies
Our empirical research into the changing nature, direction and management of life science-based innovations in the pharmaceutical industry are leading us to question the true impact of the life sciences on drug R&D and strategic alliance behaviour; the commitment of big pharma to pursue radically new approaches to healthcare; the sustainability of the `blockbuster' syndrome; and the potential success of small and medium sized firms striving to become product providers.
Theoretically, this research addresses some of the core concerns of innovation studies and science and technology studies (STS); particularly recent work in networked/distributed innovation systems. Our research is beginning to challenge many of the assumptions and priorities within STS and innovation studies, in relation to the ways in which innovation models are conceived. The post War pharmaceutical industry has perhaps been one of the paradigmatic cases of linear, science-driven innovation models. Different models are apparent in other sectors and historical eras. STS needs greater reflexivity about how paradigms may reflect the choice of exemplary cases.
A key methodological challenge for both qualitative and quantitative studies in this area is how to identify what changes in drug discovery, development and delivery, as well as co-evolution of different types of firm - have been `determined' by the emergence of particular types of `novel' technologies.
Mittra, J. (2007) The Impact of Life Science Innovations on the Organisation and Strategic Management of Pharmaceutical R&D (Submitted to Industry and Innovation)
Mittra, J., and Williams, R. (2007) Editorial: Evolution of the Life Science Industries, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Special Issue, 19 (3), pp. 251-255
Mittra, J. (2007) Life Science Innovation and the Re-structuring of the Pharmaceutical Sector: Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (3), pp. 279-301
Tait, J. (2007) Systemic Interactions in Life Science Innovation, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (3), pp.257-277
Mittra, J. (2006) The Socio-Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Mergers: A Case study of Sanofi and Aventis, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 18 (5), pp. 473-496
Mittra, J. and Tait, J. (2006) Public-Private Partnerships in Translational Medicine: Scotland’s Translational Medicine Research Collaboration, Case study prepared for OECD Expert workshop on Emerging Research Models for the Delivery of Health Innovation (this case study will soon be published in an OECD report)
Tait, J., and Mittra, J. (2006) ‘Singing from the same Hymn Sheet: Can Genomics Harmonise with Chemistry?’ CHEManager, August, 2006, p.14
Tait, J. & Mittra. J. (2005) Big Pharma: Coping with Complexity, ESRC Genomics Network Newsletter, Issue 2, June 2005
Mittra, J. (2005) Pharmaceutical Industries: Do They Prefer Treatment to Cure? The Biochemist 27 (3): pp. 32-34
Tait, J. & Mittra, J. (2004) Industry Challenges, Chemistry and Industry, 6 December, 2004, No. 23, pp. 24
Mittra, J., Suk, J & Tait, J. (2007) Risk Governance of Stem Cells as Therapeutic Products, RiskBridge essay, May 2007
Mittra, J. (2007) Changing Strategies of Big Pharma, Innogen Policy Brief
Tait, J. (2007) Creative Disruption in Life Science Industries, Innogen Policy Brief
For further information contact:James Mittra, email@example.com
Chataway, J., Gehl Sampath, P., Kale, D., Tait, J. and Wield, D.
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The pharmaceutical sector is heavily regulated and this influences industry structure and patterns of innovation. Product safety and efficacy regulation and patent regulation are particularly important in this respect.
Innogen has carried out a wide range of work in relation to this theme and is concerned with both analyzing and understanding the impact of regulations, the way in which regulation interacts with other influences and the potential for revitalising innovation and shaping particular trajectories through regulatory evolution.
Current reseach projects include:
- Revitalising Innovation though regulatory evolution (Various ongoing activities by Joyce Tait, Joanna Chataway and David Wield)
- Reorganisation of innovation in the health care life sciences (An Innogen core project led by James Mittra)
- Internationalisation of Indian pharma (An Innogen core project led by Dinar Kale with Raphie Kaplinsky)
- Indian Pharmaceutical Sector in 2008: Local and Global Implications for Access to Medicines (Various ongoing activities led by Padmashree Gehl Sampath)
- The drivers of biotechnology firm innovative performance in the health care sector (An Innogen core project led by Alessandro Rosiello with Paul Quintas)
- Legal and regulatory mechanisms (An Innogen core project led by Shawn Harmon and Graeme Laurie)
- Innovation in Pharma and equity in health (A broadly funded project led by Mariana Mazzucato with Maureen Mackintosh, Luigi Orsenigo, Rebecca Hanlin, Roberto Simonetti)
Kale, D. and Wield, D. (2008) . Industry and Innovation, 15 (1). pp. 93-114. ISSN 1366-2716
Archambault, E., Simonetti, R., Côté, G. and Kale, D. (2007) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (5). pp. 625-642. ISSN 0953-7325
Chataway, J., Kale, D. and Wield, D. (2007) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (5). pp. 559-563. ISSN 0953-7325
Chataway, J., Tait, J. and Wield, D. (2007) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (5). pp. 697-708. ISSN 0953-7325
Gehl Sampath, P. (2007) Journal of Technology Assessment and Strategic Management, 19 (5). pp. 1-20. ISSN 1465-3990
Kale, D. and Little, S. (2007) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (5). pp. 589-609. ISSN 1465-3990
Chataway, J., Tait, J. and Wield, D. (2006) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 18 (2). pp. 169-185. ISSN 1465-3990
Tait, J., Chataway, J., Lyall, C. and Wield, D. (2006) . In: Knowledge accumulation and industry evolution: the case of Pharma-Biotech. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 378-401. ISBN 0-521-85822-4, 978-0-521-85822-9
Chaturvedi, K. and Chataway, J. (2006) . International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 1, Nos, 1 and 2.
Gehl Sampath, P. (2006) Journal of World Intellectual Property, 9 (6). pp. 694-726. ISSN 1422-2213
Harmon, S. (2006) . Health Care Analysis 14(4) pp. 215-236.
Harmon, S. (2006) Intellectual Property Quarterly 4, pp. 378-403.
Harmon, S. (2006) . European Law Review 31(5) pp. 642-666.
Gehl Sampath, P. (2005) Regulating Bioprospecting: Institutions for Drug Research, Access and Benefit-Sharing. United Nations University Press, Tokyo, Japan. ISBN 92-808-1112-6, 978-92-808-1112-4 " (2007) 12 Journal of Intellectual Property Rights pp.72-85.
Chataway, J., Kale, D., and Wield, D.
We have explored the dynamics of scientific labour markets and implications for international knowledge transfer.
Work in this stream has focused primarily on the reverse brain back to one country: India, and back to one industry, pharmaceuticals.
Athreye S., Kale, D. and Ramani, (forthcoming) Experimentation with strategy and the evolution of dynamic capability in the Indian pharmaceutical sector in Industrial and Corporate Change
Kale D., Wield D. and Chataway, J. (2008) Diffusion of knowledge through migration of scientific labour in India. Science and Public Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 6,
Kale, D. and Wield D. (2008) . Industry and Innovation, Vol.15, Issue 1, pp. 93-114
Kale, D. and Little, S. (2007) . Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol. 19, Issue 5, pp. 589-609
Kale, D. and Little S. (2005). Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 3 Issue 2. pp. 87-96. ISSN 1479-4411
Chataway, J., Hanlin, R., Smith, J. and Wield, D.
ContactChataway, J., Hanlin, R., Smith, J. and Wield, D.
The unpredictability of science not withstanding, product development partnerships aiming to develop new drugs and vaccines for example, have the ability – but also need – to build crucial scientific and institutional skills and wider enabling environmental capacity.
Our research has looked at the power and politics behind the various technology and knowledge flows within a number of vaccine development partnerships. Our work has also looked at these issues through the lens of innovation systems research. We have have been concerned not only to understand and analyze but also to contribute to capacity building and to policy more generally in this area.
Current research projects include:
- Production and delivery of genomic-based technologies in developing countries: exploring innovative global life science partnerships (Core Innogen project led by Joanna Chataway with Norman Clark, Rebecca Hanlin, Lois Muraguri, James Smith)
- Exploring the Power of Knowledge and Technology Flows in Developing Countries (A core Innogen project led by Joanna Chataway and James Smith)
- Public-private collaboration in genomics and biotechnology (ESRC funded project led by Theo Papaioanno and David Wield with Joyce Tait and Joanna Chataway)
- Culture and Innovation Dynamics (An EU FP7 funded project, with Bocconi University et al., led by Rebecca Hanlin with Luigi Orsenigo and Joanna Chataway)
Tools:Health Partnerships DatabasePublic-private partnerships for global health
The Health Partnerships Database provides a portal for up-to-date information on the wide range of public-private partnerships (PPPs) working in global health.
The database contains significant information about PPPs to serve the health needs of those in low and middle income countries. It includes details about the activities and governance of PPPs coalesced around the health needs of the poor.
The database has developed out of Innogen's Innovation, Development and Global Health research programme and builds on an initiative of the Global Forum for Health Research.
Resources:Free Open Educational ResourcesAn introduction to technology and innovation policy research
This interdisciplinary module is free to access and provides an introduction to technology and innovation policy and research in this field.
These materials were developed by Innogen and DPP staff in collaboration with colleagues at the Africa Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, Kenya as part of a British Council and Open University funded research and training project.
The module emphasis is on examining issues of interdisciplinary research embracing economic, sociological and managerial orientations. The approach is to build understanding of technology policy and technology innovations processes thereby providing a robust grounding, before exploring research methods employed to investigate technology and innovation policy.
It is important to appreciate that this is not a research methods course as research techniques are not actively taught. Instead, a selection of research tools are introduced and applied to technology policy and innovation. Thus, it focuses on methods and skills best suited for technology policy and innovation rather than being comprehensive.Course materials: An introduction to technology and innovation policy research
Chataway, J. and Hanlin, R. (2008) Sustainable (vaccine) development: the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and capacity building. Health Partnerships Review. Global Forum for Health Research, Geneva, pp. 43-46. ISBN 2-940401-05-5, 978-2-940401-05-5
Chataway, J., Brusoni, S., Cacciatori, E., Hanlin, R. and Orsenigo, L. (2007) The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in a changing landscape of vaccine development: A public/private partnership as knowledge broker and integrator. European Journal of Development Research, 19 (1). pp. 100-117. ISSN 1743-9728
Hanlin, R. (2007). International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 6 (1). pp. 55-66. ISSN 1474-2748
Chataway, J., Smith, J. and Wield, D. (2006). International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 5 (2). pp. 103-123. ISSN 1474-2748
Chataway, J., Hanlin, R., Chaturvedi, K., Mugwagwa J. and Wield, D. (2007) Building the case for national systems of health innovation Report for the New Economic Partnership for Africa (NEPAD)
Chataway, J., Hanlin, R., Chaturvedi, K., Mugwagwa J. and Wield, D. (2007) Technological Trends and Opportunities to Combat Diseases of the Poor in Africa Report for the New Economic Partnership for Africa (NEPAD)
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator:Joanna ChatawayCo-investigator: David Wield
Funded byESRC Science in Society programme
BackgroundThe study investigated partnership projects formed between agricultural research institutions and non-profit and private sector participants from African countries (south), from developed countries (north) as well as multilateral organisations. The study, with supplementary funding from the Open University, was completed in August 2004, and the project evaluation confirmed that it has fully achieved its objectives.
- How are north-south partnerships in agricultural biotechnology set up and what core technology transfer and development processes do they undertake?
- Do these partnerships contribute to the development of institutions, scientific and technical capabilities necessary for agricultural biotechnology?
The study comprised an in-depth investigation of three case studies: Millet and Sorghum Improvement Initiative in Mali the Insect Resistant Maize for Africa project in Kenya, and the Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute in Egypt. Data from these case studies were supplemented by data generated through an inventory of public private partnership (PPP) projects and major players.
- A workshop on Technology Based Public Private Partnerships and Innovation Systems in African Agriculture was held on 19th November 2004 in London.
- Several presentations were given at international and national forums, including at the Africa-Canada-UK Experience: Building Science and Technology Capacity with African Partners, 30 Jan – 1 Feb 2005 in London (Wield, Chataway and Smith); at World Bank Workshop, Washington (Chataway); and in Cairo/Egypt and at CESAGEN International Conference, London (Ayele).
- New research ideas have emerged from this project. Chataway, Wield and Ayele have been awarded a £46K grant by the ESRC Science in Society Programme to undertake research on the ‘regulatory practices and challenges of the African crop biotechnology sector’.
- This study contributed to the innovation systems analysis, a valuable conceptual tool to look at the way different organisations and institutions interact as part of the overall innovation process. Findings also challenge some of the more traditional frameworks for explaining the emergence of PPPs. Transaction cost analysis and resource based theories, commonly used to explain partnerships in industrially developed contexts do not adequately explain the emergence of this type of north-south PPP.
- Motivations and incentives require conceptualizing in ways that bring together analytical frameworks used to understand public sector agricultural R&D structures, international aid institutions and private sector incentives.
Ayele, S., Chataway, J. and Wield, D. (2006). Partnerships in African Crop Biotech, Nature Biotechnology, 24, pp. 619-621.
Ayele, S. and Wield, D. (2005) Science and Technology Capacity Building and Partnership in the African Agriculture: Perspectives on Mali and Egypt in the Journal of International Development, Vol. 17 No 5.Chataway, J. (2005). Is it possible to create pro-poor agriculture-related biotechnology? Journal of International Development, 17, No 5, pp. 597-610.
Ayele, S. (2005). Biotechnology generation, delivery and adoption: the case of Bt bio-pesticide in Egypt, International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4. No 2, pp.75-91.
Ayele, S., Chataway, J., Hall, A., and Smith, J. (2005) (Editors). Perspective on Institutions, Agricultural Biotechnologies and Development. Journal of International Development, Vol. 17 No 5
For further information, contact:
Seife Ayele, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Castle, Joyce Tait, Ann Bruce, Corrina Gibbs
The University of Edinburgh ESRC Centre Innogen is undertaking a one year Defra funded research project with collaborators ADAS, AHDB and RAND Europe. The project, The Integrated Advice Pilot Project, focuses on the development and implementation of integrated advice protocols to farmers and their advisors to improve on farm environmental performance.
Innogen will complete three main elements in this project. The first is to work with farmers and their advisors to identify existing and potential actions that can be taken to improve environmental performance. The second task is to integrate a currently fragmented advisory landscape and couple it with on farm measures. The third task is to build a portfolio of integrated advice packages that can be piloted by farmers in arable, beef and sheep and dairy operations and their advisors in three catchment sensitive farming areas.
Innogen’s role in the project is to engage with farmers and their advisors about the best way to integrate advice, and gather their input on what advice will be readily taken up by farmers. As Innogen integrates the various measures recommended to farmers into a more coherent advisory landscape, this work-in-progress is discussed with farmers and advisors in each of the catchment areas. Two rounds of two meetings in each catchment have been conducted, with a third round planned for early autumn.
Menu-driven integrated advisory packages are being developed during the summer of 2011.
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
This work is driven by an interest in how intellectual property rights interact with the changing objects of the biological sciences, or, to put it more broadly, with the relationship between the regulatory and the epistemic.
The kinds of questions that are being addressed are: what sorts of biological objects can be patented? And, if our understanding of the object of investigation changes, what implications does this have for patenting? For example, collaborative ownership regimes may be more practical than patents in the context of interacting and dynamic biological systems that we find in systems biology.
This project looks at the implications of the move away from reductionism and the shift from the appropriation of the tangible/material to the appropriation of the intangible/informational. It also examines the implications for intellectual property of the increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative work environment of the emerging life sciences. It examines both the impact of intellectual property on scientific research, and of scientific research on intellectual property regimes.
- What implications do changing ideas about the objects of ownership in the emerging life sciences have for existing intellectual property regimes?
- How should intellectual property regimes be organised in the context of new kinds of objects of study in the biosciences?
MethodsPrimarily desk-based work, drawing on the empirical material gathered from the projects on systems and synthetic biology.
Calvert, J. (2004) 'Genomic patenting and the utility requirement' New Genetics and Society, 23 (3): 301-312
O’Malley, M. A., Bostanci, A. and Calvert, J. (2005) 'Whole genome patenting' Nature Reviews Genetics, 6 (6): 502-506
Calvert, J. (2007) 'Patenting genomic objects: genes, genomes, function and information' Science as Culture, 16 (2): 207-223.
Bostanci, A and Calvert, J (2008) ‘Invisible genomes: the genomics revolution and patenting practice’ Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39: 109-119
Calvert, J (2008) ‘The commodification of emergence: systems biology, synthetic biology and intellectual property’ BioSocieties 3(4): 385-400
Calvert, J and Joly, P-B (2011) 'How did the gene become a chemical compound? Shifting ontologies of the gene and the patenting of DNA' Social Science Information, 50 (2): 157-177
Bonaccorsi, A, Calvert J, and Joly, PB (2011) 'From protecting texts to protecting objects in biotechology and software. A tale of changes of ontological assumptions in intellectual property protection' Economy and Society 40 (4): 611-639
Bostanci. A, Calvert, J and Joly, PB (2012) 'Regulating gene regulation: Patenting small RNAs' in Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: The New Biology Rimmer, M and McLennan, A (eds) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.205-227
Calvert, J (2012) 'Ownership and sharing in synthetic biology: a 'diverse ecology' of the open and the proprietary?' BioSocieties 7 (2): 169-187
Funded byInnogen Core Project with additional ESRC funding
The overall goal of this project is to consolidate our knowledge and understanding of interdisciplinary research processes and practices within the ESRC Innogen Centre and beyond.
Catherine Lyall and colleagues are seeking to formalise and codify researchers’ approach to the promotion, management and evaluation of interdisciplinary research and to share this knowledge with the wider ESRC research community.
A range of masterclasses are being developed with two distinct targets, aimed towards:
- post-doctoral researchers, giving them the tools they require to lead successful interdisciplinary project teams and
- towards graduate students embarking on interdisciplinary projects for the first time.
The ISSTI Interdisciplinary Masterclasses, funded by an ESRC Researcher Development Initiative grant, form the core of this project.
These Masterclasses provide community-building activities for interdisciplinary students and encourage development across the 'life course' for interdisciplinary researchers.
These Masterclasses aim to:
- provide training and development activities for researchers at postdoctoral level and above in order to develop their research management, leadership and supervisory skills in interdisciplinary projects across the social and natural sciences;
- provide training and development activities that improve the ability of research students to design interdisciplinary research projects and to better understand the issues and challenges involved in interdisciplinary research which spans the natural and social sciences;
- develop and make available in various formats a range of teaching materials relevant to interdisciplinary research;
- foster increased collaboration and capacity building across a number of existing interdisciplinary research networks;
- enable ISSTI/Innogen researchers to reflect on the experiences of delivering the Masterclasses to strengthen our own future interdisciplinary practice.
Short Guide to Developing Interdisciplinary Strategies for Research Groups Dr Catherine Lyall, Professor Robin Williams and Dr Laura Meagher
Short Guide to Developing Interdisciplinary Research Proposals Professor Joyce Tait and Dr Catherine Lyall
Short Guide to Reviewing Interdisciplinary Research Proposals Dr Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Professor Joyce Tait
Short Guide to Building and Managing Interdisciplinary Research Teams Dr Catherine Lyall and Dr Laura Meagher
Short Guide to Supervising Interdisciplinary PhDs Dr Catherine Lyall, Dr Laura Meagher and Professor Joyce Tait
Short Guide to Troubleshooting Interdisciplinary Research Management Challenges Dr Catherine Lyall and Dr Laura Meagher
Short Guide to Designing Interdisciplinary Research for Policy and Practice Dr Catherine Lyall
Further informationFor additional information, please email Catherine Lyall.
Affiliated staffPrinciple investigator: Joyce TaitAssociated staff: Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Graeme Laurie and Donald MacKenzie
Distinctions between the ‘interests’ and ‘values’ of protagonists in risk debates are important for the understanding, prevention and resolution of conflicts. This project, which contributes to Innogen Centre’s ‘Risk, Governance and Regulation of Genomics’ theme, aims to explore the way in which ‘values’ and ‘interests’ motivate responses in debates in the genomics area.
- Can we identify ‘interest’-based and ‘value’-based arguments in a range of genomics applications?
- Are these framings critical in determining the acceptability or not of a genomics Application?
- What methods can be used to explore the ‘values’ and ‘interests’ dimensions of biotechnology related controversies.
- How are these dimensions reflected in debates around different controversies in genomics, including genetic databases, stem cell therapies and GM animals?
- How are ‘values’ and ‘interests’ incorporated in the innovation and policy processes?
Case Study methodology, including in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Focusing particularly on protagonists with different viewpoints on the issue.
Our research will improve decision making and dispute resolution by improving the level of understanding of the ‘values’ and ‘interests’ dimensions of disputes.
- Presentation of preliminary thoughts on this subject to the Values in Decisions on Risk conference, Stockholm, Sweden in 2003, using the example of Genetically Modified crops.
- During 2004, we produced a paper analysing the ‘values’ and ‘interests’ dimensions of developments in population genetic databases, based on a literature review and informed by interviews with stakeholders which was presented at The XVIII European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare: Genetics and Healthcare, Iceland, August 2004.
- A 2-day public interest and ethical stakeholders workshop for policy makers, industry representatives, scientists and social scientists to engage with the issues of what values come into play when scientists and companies make innovations in bio sciences or when policy decisions are made, and how do these reflect or conflict with wider public concerns? This ‘Chatham House’ event provoked a rich discussion among the participants. A short report from this workshop was disseminated via the Innogen web site and a book chapter in collaboration with AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law. The theme was further developed at the 2005 Innogen international conference with a session on ethical and stakeholder pressures on the pharmaceutical industry and how the industry has responded to these Pressures.
- Investigations have continued in the field of cloned and GM animals and also in stem cell research where 26 interviews have been carried out with key stakeholders, including research scientists, patient advocacy groups, policy makers, industrialists and antagonists of stem cell research. A typology of case studies is being developed.
Bruce, A. (2007) The public domain: ideology vs. interest, pp 200-210 in Waelde, C. and MacQueen, H. (eds) The Many Faces of the Public Domain, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK & Northampton MA, USA.
Bruce, A and Tait, J (2004) Interests, values and genetic databases, in Arnason, G. Nordal, S and Arnason, V Blood and Data: Ethical, legal and social aspects of human genetic databases, International ELSAGEN Conference Proceedings, Reykjavik, pp 211-217
Bruce, A and Tait, J (2003) Interests, values and Biotechnological Risk, in Andersson, K (ed) VALDOR 2003 Values in Decisions on Risk Proceedings, pp. 109-118.
Haddow, G., Cunningham-Burley, S. Bruce, A. and Parry, S. (2007) Resolving public concerns: why population genetic databases require an early consultative ear and a strong legislative arm. Critical Health Technology (in press)
Bruce, A. (2007) How now cloned cow? submitted to special issue of Genomics, Society and Policy, Vol 3, No.2
For further information contact:
Ann Bruce, email@example.com
Affiliated staffRaphie Kaplinsky
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
In last decade leading Indian pharmaceutical firms has invested in acquisition of firms from overseas advance countries such as USA and Europe.
These new Indian MNEs are dominating global pharmaceutical markets and challenging existing paradigms of international business literature.
In this context this project tries to explore whether internationalisation of firms from developing countries can be explained in terms of mainstream theories derived mainly from studies of Western multinational corporations or do these cases present new insights in the explanations that have been offered for latecomer multinationals.
It investigates the patterns and motives of internationalisation by Indian pharmaceutical firms. It focuses on internalisation that is directed towards expansion into foreign markets and accessing new technologies through acquisitions.
This paper moves beyond study of export from domestic units and investigates different strategies adopted by Indian firms to internationalise their operations.
The 5 leading Indian firms are used as case studies and primary data was collected through interview with senior managers, scientists working in those organisations.
- explore nature and motives of recent FDI from Indian pharmaceutical firms in Europe and USA
- contribute to theoretical debates in international business literaure regarding understanding of new phase of FDI from developing countries
- develop new set of indictors to investigate the motive and nature of developing country FDI
Research will employ qualitative research methodology sauch as case study research.
Five leading Indian pharmaceutical firms which are at forefront in overseas acquisition will be used as case studies.
Primary data will be collected through interveiews and content analysis will be used method for data analysis.
Affiliated staffNeil Boonham, Kelvin Hughes and Mohamud Hussein
Defra and The Food and Environment Research Agency
In recent years there has been an impressive proliferation of field detection techniques for plant disease but this proliferation of available techniques has not been mirrored by uptake from end users. In many ways this is not unexpected as the published evidence for the overall benefits of using field diagnostics is rather lacking. In addition to the scientific and economic data on the impact of the use of field testing there is also a social element to the uptake of technology that is important to understand. Deployment of field techniques requires a balanced understanding of assay performance, economics and human behaviour linked to the overarching objective for testing or examining samples under increasingly limited budgetary resources.The deployment of these technologies is currently primarily viewed on the basis of ‘how do these technologies fit into the way we work today?’ whereas a more insightful question might be ‘how will these technologies improve the way we work tomorrow?’ In particular, there is an urgent need for research establishing the cost-effectiveness of different available techniques and how the most cost-effectiveness techniques can be deployed as an overall strategy for monitoring and eradication of a particular plant disease. This research will also identify potential behavioural barriers to the deployment of cost-effective technologies in the field and make recommendations about how the end users can be influenced to achieve optimal uptake of the cost-effective techniques.
- Provide data (on performance and costs of field detection techniques, and attitudes to their use) necessary for evaluating the benefits and behavioural barriers (or otherwise) of the deployment of cost-effective field test techniques within the UK PHSI.
- Identify gaps in the existing evidence base and recommend future research priorities in this field
- Make policy recommendations for design and implementation of cost-effective diagnostic strategies
This interdisciplinary project will provide:
- Comparative data on different methods of assessing plant diseases
- Semi-structured interviews with 15 inspectors to explore current experiences and attitudes towards the current use of in-field diagnostics
- Bio-economic modelling
Further informationPlease contact Ann Bruce for additional information about this project.
Affiliated staffPrincipal Investigator: David WieldAssociated Staff: Joanna Chataway, Paul Quintas and Steve Little (Open University Business School)
Funded byThis project was funded by ESRC Science in Society Programme
In the past, ‘brain drain’ has proved to be a big curse for developing countries like India and China but in the emerging global competitive environment, the brain drain can provide crucial advantage to these formerly backward regions. Through successful diffusion of knowledge the communities of such scientists and engineers can provide the skill and know-how needed to help local firms shift higher value added activities. Such ‘knowledge transfer’ played an important role, for example, in the emergence of firms in South Korea and Taiwan to as global leaders in IT production.
- This project explores the dynamics of scientific labour markets and its implications for international knowledge transfer.
- The project focuses on the reverse brain back to one country: India, and back into one industry, pharmaceuticals.
- Our previous research suggested that Indian firms are developing capabilities in innovative R&D by hiring Indian scientists working in multinational firms’ R&D laboratories. Building on that this project explored process of knowledge transfer through interviews with scientists who have moved back from the US to work in innovative Indian pharmaceutical firms.
- India has suffered massive brain drain over the decades, mostly in the form of the migration of scientists and engineers to technologically advanced countries. These emigrants have often enjoyed impressive professional economic success. However, economic development and firms’ strategies have played a key role in converting brain drain into brain circulation, with the success of the pharmaceutical industry resulting in the movement of non-resident Indians back to India.
- Firms are trying to fill knowledge gaps by hiring Indian scientists based in the United States and the UK, and working for major pharmaceutical firms. However, they are also realising that hiring scientists is not sufficient – such knowledge must also be assimilated, and made useful.
Assimilation of the knowledge:
- Scientists from two generations are returning to work in Indian firms – junior scientists who have recently finished their doctoral or post-doctoral training, and senior scientists with extensive experience. The former, who are mostly concerned with learning news skills, find assimilation comparatively easy.
- There is also a mismatch between the broader requirements of Indian firms – for example, skills associated with ‘whole drug discovery’ – and the narrower sets of skills possessed by returning scientists, most of whom have specialised knowledge in particular disciplines or therapeutic areas.
- Differences in the working cultures of Indian and western firms are an important issue – especially in the case of returning senior scientists, used to professionally managed organisations. By contrast, most Indian firms are family-owned and controlled, and strong on ‘process’ research and development skills - the legacy of the ‘generic market’ mindset associated with the era of ‘weak’ patents.
- The research also shows the importance of social infrastructure on the decisions of scientists based in the United States to return to India, which suggests an important role for the government. Indian firms have responded to this issue by adopting global R&D practices, with firms introducing more open management structures, and offering junior scientists the chance to develop management and leadership experience. Firms provided support to returnees to adjust to their new environment by facilitating settling down in a new place of living. However the findings also suggest that firms require support from government policy in attracting returnees.
Further informationFor further information contact:Dinar Kale, D.Kale@open.ac.uk
Shawn H.E. Harmon
Affiliated staffPrinciple investigator: Graeme Laurie
Globalisation of scientific developments has not been matched by `internationalisation' or `standardisation' of legal and ethical norms in response to genomics advances. This project examined the role of legal and ethical principles in guiding the regulation of genetic research and activities, and the mechanisms by which these can take effect nationally. Key features include: the search for a universal bio-ethical code; relationships between national and international advisory and regulatory bodies in regulating scientific developments; and the role of advisory commissions and ethics committees to provide public legitimisation for scientific developments.
Why, how, and how effectively do ethical principles influence legal instruments and regulatory policy in the genomics field at each of the national, regional and international levels?How do ethics translate to law? For example, why have we started to focus on ethics? Which principles do we rely on (dignity, consent, privacy, etc), and why? In what form do these principles appear in legal documents, and how well do these instruments work? Are there patterns across jurisdictions or in different regions?
The methodology used has been case studies supported by documentary analysis (international and domestic legal instruments and policy papers), literature reviews (civil society submissions and academic articles), and interaction with civil society through conferences, workshops and public engagement exercises.
Outcomes include the identification and definition of key moral values relevant to genomics, the assessment of various legal instruments for their interaction with same, and the furtherance of the appreciation of the importance of moral values to the governance of human genetics and biotechnologies (as evidenced by personal contacts and requests received by academics and policymakers).
The research programme supports a number of general findings, namely that:
- Although civil society appears quite concerned with the moral element of genomics and biotechnology, stakeholders are not as exorcised
- The law (and policymakers and regulators) are not comfortable with engaging directly with the moral issues and legal instruments often do not effectively translate the moral values claimed; and
- Certain values are more embedded in our collective (legal) psyche (autonomy, dignity) than others (solidarity) and are represented in regulatory instruments much more effectively (and more often) than others; moral values can be indeterminate and, as a result, clear understandings and therefore applications of them are difficult (and rare)
Harmon, S., Law and Ethics: The Implications of Biotechnology Innovation for Practitioners of Medical Law – The Case of Advance Directives (with G. Pradella), (2007) submitted to Osgoode Hall Law Journal.
Harmon, S., Emerging Technologies and Developing Countries: Stem Cell Research Regulation and Argentina (2007) forthcoming in Developing World Bioethics.
Harmon, S., Biotechnology Innovation and Patenting in the Developing World: China – A Giant Among Nations? (2007) 12 Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 72-85.
Harmon, S., Solidarity: A (New) Ethic for Global Health Policy (2006) Health Care Analysis 14(4) 215-236.
Harmon, S., The Rules of Re-Engagement: The Use of Patent Proceedings To Influence the Regulation of Science (‘What The Salmon Does When Comes Back Downstream’) (2006) 4 Intellectual Property Quarterly 378-403.
Harmon, S., From Engagement to Re-Engagement: The Expression of Moral Values in Patenting Proceedings, Present and Future (2006) European Law Review 31(5) 642-666.
Harmon, S., A Penny For Your Thoughts, A Pound For Your Flesh: Implications of Recognizing Property in Human Body Parts (2006) Medical Law International 7(4) 329-354.
Harmon, S., The Significance of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (2005) 2:1 SCRIPT-ed 18-47, at www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/script-ed/vol2-1/harmon.pdf.
Harmon, S., Ethico-Legal Issues in Genetics (with R. Gertz and G. Pradella), in A. Wright & N. Hastie (eds.), Genes and Common Disease – Genetics in Modern Medicine (Cambridge: CUP, 2006) ch. 12.
Harmon, S., The Law and Ethics of Medical Research (2007) 4:3 SCRIPT-ed 237-240, at www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script%2Ded/vol4-2/sh_review.asp. (Book Review)
For further information contact:
Shawn Harmon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Affiliated staffJames Smith, Robin Williams
This thesis examines relationships between science and technology and development, as dened and manifested by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Kenya whose work involves agricultural biotechnologies. Non-governmental engagements with agricultural biotechnology in Kenya span technology production, promotion and resistance. The argument of this thesis is that through these engagements, and the ways that relationships between technology and development are manifested in these engagements, technological and political orders are merging in civil society.
When technologies enter the spaces of civil society, spaces carved out by development practices, the agency of NGOs is contingent and contested. But at some scales, in some places, NGOs are performing functions usually reserved for states, markets and communities. Through push and pull between NGOs, biotechnologies are becoming ordered in Kenya: technologies are approved for research, capacity for research and biosafety is built, scientic knowledge is generated and transferred, plant material is distributed to farmers. At the same time, social and political orders are formed in civil society that are intertwined with this technological ordering: organisations set up competing structures of representation for farmers; they build social networks for technology delivery and technology resistance; they set and protest the terms of collective decision-making by acting as de facto regulators. Patterns of legitimacy and authority are set and the ability to steer biotechnologies is at issue. Attempts to more democratically guide technologies, when seen as a case of public action more generally, have implications for the ability of Kenyans, as farmers and citizens, to shape the decisions that aect their lives.
By examining biotechnology through civil society, the thesis makes three contributions to knowledge. It proposes that the current development practices supporting NGOs engagements with technologies are creating an increased prominence, or rise, of technological NGOs in development. It provides empirical evidence of this rise in the form of an ethnographic exploration of NGOs in Kenya. Finally, it provides a way to examine the agency of NGOs by building on the new ethnography of NGOs and the co-production of knowledge and social order.
Further informationLiving technology and development : agricultural biotechnology and civil society in Kenya
Global warming is often thought as being caused by energy production but the second largest contributor is animal production, with methane produced by cows and sheep a key component.
One obvious solution is to reduce meat and milk consumption but this is unlikely to be acceptable to everyone. Moreover, grass-fed animals (such as cows and sheep) can provide other benefits than food, such as managing biodiversity.
The UK has a good climate for producing grass and many of the upland regions of the UK cannot be used for cultivating anything other than grass. Grazing animals therefore provide the backbone of many rural communities.
A range of different animal breeding technologies, such as traditional genetic methods to improve production efficiency or using biotechnology tools such as semen sexing and even potentially genetic modification, could be used to mitigate the global warming impact of farm livestock. Adoption of these technologies, however, may be limited by the willingness of farmers to purchase these animals.
With a focus on sheep and beef cattle, the aims of this project are to:
- understand cattle and sheep farmers’ uptake of breeding technologies in the context of the system of innovation in animal breeding;
- and evaluate policy and other measures that could affect the uptake of breeding technologies to reduce global warming impact
The project will conduct individual interviews and workshops to achieve its aims, more specifically:
- workshop for 10-15 people to set up the project and identify key issues. These will be recruited from organisations in the livestock production, breeding, food processing and retailing and extension/advisory/knowledge transfer sectors as well as relevant policy makers;
- up to 40 face-to-face or telephone semi-structured interviews with individual farmers, meat processors/retailers, livestock auctioneers, livestock traders, trade associations/levy boards, pedigree breeders and breed improvement organisations, extension/advisory/knowledge transfer agencies, agricultural societies, farmers unions, agricultural press;
- a workshop to present preliminary conclusions with a view to finalising them.
Findings from this project have been summarised in the six briefing papers below.
Briefing note on animal breeding and genetics (PDF 476KB)
Briefing note on the beef industry (PDF 634KB)
Briefing note on the sheep industry (PDF 779KB)
Further informationPlease contact Ann Bruce for additional information about this project: email@example.com
Jane Calvert & Peter Robbins
Affiliated staffJoyce Tait
Funded byBBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC
The SynBioStandards Network is an innovative and interdisciplinary network for UK academics working in synthetic biology.
Pulling together researchers from the worlds of engineering, biological sciences, computer science and the social sciences, the Network aims to create a space for them to share ideas, and to develop a common language and set of tools for synthetic biology research.
Activities of the Network are primarily concerned with issues relating to standards and characterisation in synthetic biology. This is one of the main challenges faced by synthetic biology researchers, and one that will require ongoing dialogue.
The SynBioStandards Network is not a standard-setting body, but we hope to develop approaches and protocols that are seen as a gold standard and adopted by synthetic biology researchers worldwide.
The SynBioStandards Network is funded for three years from June 2008. The members initially represented in this Network are from Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, The University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, and University of Newcastle.
We hope that membership of the Network will expand over time, and we aim to build bridges with groups worldwide who are grappling with similar questions.
Affiliated staffJames Smith, Mark Winskel
Biofuel has caught the imagination of countries worldwide as a tool for providing energy security, advancing rural development, promoting environmental sustainability, mitigating climate change, and enhancing international trade. Developing countries in particular are said to have much to gain from biofuel. Testimony to the belief in its ability to deliver a multitude of societal benefits, a number of developing countries have initiated large-scale biofuel projects. Among them is the Indian National Mission on Biodiesel.
However, the global tide of enthusiasm behind biofuel is turning. Biofuel has been named as a culprit in recent and rapid increases in the price of staple foods. Its environmental credentials have also come under scrutiny, and there are claims that biofuel will exacerbate, as opposed to mitigate, climate change. The impacts of international trade in biofuel are also said to be ambiguous. Existing trade regimes are unable to provide clear guidelines as to how biofuel trade should be governed. There are suggestions that under current circumstances, biofuel-exporting developing countries – and small-scale producers in particular – are likely to be disadvantaged.
This MPhil thesis is a study of science, policy and development processes around the National Mission on Biodiesel in India. Empirically, it adds a qualitative account to an emerging, and largely quantitative, knowledge base on biofuel. Theoretically, it contributes to the growing convergence of social science disciplines. Science and Technology Studies (STS), itself an interdisciplinary field of scholarship, provides the starting point for the research. It also draws upon concepts from other subjects – notably those from Development Studies that explore environmental and natural resource issues – to augment the analysis. In the process, the thesis provides inputs for the further evolution of theoretical concepts that span multiple academic traditions. The aims of the thesis are threefold. Firstly, it seeks to understand and critically comment upon the vision of technology and its relationship to society that underpins biofuel in general, and the National Mission on Biodiesel in particular. Secondly, the thesis attempts to identify the narratives that are dominant in the National Mission on Biodiesel, and to explore the processes through which they have become stabilised given the contention around biofuel. The National Mission on Biodiesel intends to rely on a complex network of local governance institutions that exists in the Indian countryside to deliver its rural development benefits. The final aim of the thesis is to cast the ambitions of the National Mission on Biodiesel against past experiences of implementing development projects through these institutions. This is in efforts to make tentative statements about the likelihood of the Mission achieving its goals.
The research reveals a seemingly unquestioning conviction in the ability of biofuel to transform societies towards pre-defined ends – even in the face of claims to the contrary. Although such ‘technological determinism’ has been largely discredited by Science and Technology Studies, the paradigm shows remarkable staying power. With its tradition of ‘development through modernisation’, the Indian policy context has been particularly conducive to expert-led, technocratic interventions. One of the rationales for establishing local governance institutions was to erode this elitedominance of development initiatives. Despite their intentions, however, such institutions have proved less than effective in enrolling a wider range of stakeholders – particularly marginalised communities – into development processes. Set against this backdrop, the ‘pro-poor’ outcomes of the National Mission on Biodiesel appear elusive.
Further informationNational mission on biodiesel: a study of science, development and policy processes in India
Nicola J. Marks
Affiliated staffSupervisor: Dr Sarah Parry
Nicola is now a Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Funded byMedical Research Council (MRC)
BackgroundThere are many concerns about a potential 'crisis of trust' between science and society, and calls have been made to develop and improve public engagement in science. This project examined scientists' views and understandings of public engagement. It focussed on the case of stem cell research, a field of science often in the public eye, and explored how these scientists make sense of and talk about their work.
AimsMuch research in the field of Science and Technology Studies has been conducted on lay views of science and on lay experiences of public engagement. Given the many challenges that have been levied against the lay-expert dichotomy, and the critiques of the power given to ‘expert’ voices in public fora, this thesis sought to examine those people traditionally given the role of ‘expert’. It investigated professionals’ socially located views on science and experiences of public engagement. It aimed to identify ways of working towards improved science-public relations.
Drawing on a critical public understanding of science (cPUS) approach, this research was conducted using qualitative methods. In depth interviews and groups discussions were organised with 54 stem cell researchers, in two countries (the UK and Australia).
Multiple voices were accessed (including dominant and marginal ones) by interviewing researchers that were senior as well as junior, media savvy as well as shy and working in embryonic and in adult stem cell research. Using discourse as a ‘topic’ and a ‘resource’, the thesis explored in detail the definitions and boundaries created in stem cell research.
This project highlights the conceptual fluidity of stem cell research and therefore that it is difficult for scientists as well as members of the public to agree on what a stem cell ‘really’ is or what stem cell research should ‘really’ be about.
It shows that scientists have multiple views and understandings of their research, its place in society and its possible futures. Scientist voice various concerns, similar to those expressed by members of the public, over areas such as: clinical trials, informed consent, commercialisation and internationalisation, and the run-away nature of research.
This research also identifies different ways in which scientists conceptualise the relation between science and society, and therefore different possible models of scientific citizenship.
One key suggestion is for society as a whole, and scientific institutions in particular, to become more ‘reflexive’; that is to become more explicitly aware of social location of science and create space for scientists and others to voice their concerns.
This project suggests the need for policy inquiries and other public engagement activities to enable multiple voices to be heard: concerns should not simply be voiced in terms of risk-benefit analyses.
Rather, there should be opportunities for people to articulate views which acknowledge the social and cultural nature of research.
Affiliated staffJames Smith, Ian Harper
Rebecca is Lecturer in Development Policy and Practice at the Open University. After completing a BSc (Hons) in Development Studies and Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, Rebecca worked in Tanzania and Nigeria. During this time in Africa she worked both in private industry and as a consultant for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the area of malaria prevention technologies and public-private partnerships.
Rebecca also holds an MSc (Econ) in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, a joint award from London School of Economics and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MSc (Res) in Science and Technology Studies from University of Edinburgh.
Product Development Public-Private Partnerships (PDPs) are mechanisms used to incentivise health innovation for neglected diseases. PDPs undertaking clinical trial research in developing countries work – collaborate – at the interface of innovation and healthcare activities. Within the literature around innovation systems collaborative activity is deemed to build important organisational processes creating stronger institutions and enabling environments by increasing knowledge exchange. This process capacity building activity is recognised as important in some areas of the international development arena within which health related PDPs work.
Using qualitative research methods this thesis studies the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in Kenya to consider how partnership collaborative activity occurs, the interaction created between healthcare and innovation and, what capacity building results. This is an interdisciplinary study that mixes innovation systems thinking with an ethnographic/ anthropological rationale. The Kenyan IAVI partnership takes multiple forms. It is an 'effective' partnership acknowledging benefits gained within unequal power relations making it impossible to also be a 'true' partnership. The partnership has characteristics of an innovation system because actors are conduits of knowledge. Collaborative activity creates knowledge exchange producing 'process capacity'. This less tangible, knowledge based, and organisational related capacity takes place within the partnership but is not overtly recognised as important. Focusing on process capacity highlights the linkages between innovation and healthcare activities. It also highlights the importance of considering AIDS vaccine research activities in a holistic, systemic manner. Understanding the partnership requires recognition of activities and multiple relations across time and space. The Kenyan IAVI partnership is not simply the result of international (macro) level discourse and storylines regarding the need to incentivise product development. Recognising this complexity moves beyond value laden notions of partnership towards understanding what is required to strengthen developing country health and innovation.
Further informationPartnerships for vaccine development: building capacity to strengthen developing country health and innovation
Affiliated staffPrinciple investigator: David Wield Associated staff: Joyce Tait & Joanna Chataway
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
The shift from synthetic or fine chemistry to micro-biology and the subsequent revolution of genomics and biotechnology constitutes a possible major driver of change in health industries.
The most important characteristic of this new paradigm of technological change and innovation in life sciences is the close collaboration between all public and private actors involved.
This project began in August 2005 with the aim to explore the complex public-private relationships in genomics and biotechnology in the UK in order to reveal their role in building firm-based and policy-making capabilities. The focus is on regional innovation.
The project examines the links between innovation policy bodies, life sciences research institutes, dedicated biotechnology firms and venture capital organisations from the standpoint of regional development.
- What are the nature and characteristics of public-private collaboration in genomics and biotechnology in regions such as Scotland, Cambridge, Oxford and London?
- Whether specific types of public-private collaboration result in building specific firm-based and policy-making capabilities?
- What is the relationship between building innovative capabilities in genomics and biotechnology and regional development?
- Documentary analysis (academic journal articles, policy documents, company websites and press articles).
- In-depth interviews with a range of relevant public and private actors, including managers and industry stakeholders in dedicated biotechnology firms and policy makers in regional development agencies.
- Comparison of the Scottish situation, already being researched, with that in Cambridge i.e. a major UK regional agglomeration.
Public-private collaborations for biotech innovation in Cambridge and Scotland are historically founded upon social and political attempts to address the problem of division between direct production and academia.
This resulted in the development of two distinct systems of innovation: in Cambridge, due to geographical, organisational and technological proximities, the university’s liberal culture and the role of individuals in networking, the system was constructed from the bottom-up; in Scotland, due to specific economic, social, cultural and even political conditions, the system was constructed from the top-down.
Given their distinct systems of innovation, the two regions sustain different types of public-private collaborations in genomics and biotechnology. In Scotland the bio-cluster is based on formal public-private collaborative networks which are supported by Scottish Enterprise.
By contrast, in Cambridge the bottom up model of innovation allows the establishment of more informal public-private networks and collaborations. Despite their differences, both regions have at the very centre of their bio-clusters universities of great academic and research reputation. This implies generation of positive externalities namely ‘knowledge spillovers’ and skilled graduates.
Through complex public-private collaborations, regional firms build learning capabilities in different areas of interest: intellectual property and project management;
- human resources
- media representation
By contrast, regional policy organizations build significant policy-making capabilities:
- balancing research and commercial interest
- learning and understanding of private firms
- flexibility and fast response to constantly changing conditions.
Despite the building of innovative capabilities, public-private collaborations in genomics and biotechnology clearly fail to resolve the problem of managerial skills at the regional level.
Our empirical research suggests that in both Cambridge and Scotland there is a serious shortage of managerial skills.
Papaioannou, T., Wield, D. and Chataway, J. (forthcoming, 2009) ‘Knowledge Ecologies and Ecosystems? An Empirically Grounded Reflection on Recent Developments in Innovation Systems Theory’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy.
Papaioannou, T. (forthcoming, 2008) ‘Human Gene Patents and the Question of Liberal Morality’, Genomics, Society and Policy.
Tait, J., Papaioannou, T., Mittra, J., Haddow, G. and Rosiello, A. (2008) ‘Evidence Prepared on Behalf of the ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics’, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Sub-committee on Genomic Medicine, Available at: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/stGMInnogen.pdf
Papaioannou, T. (2007) ‘Regional Innovation and Public Policy’, Policy Paper 1, Available at: http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/innogen/Publications/Policy-Papers
Papaioannou, T. (2007) ‘Building Innovative Capabilities through Public-Private Collaboration in Genomics and Biotechnology’, Policy Paper 2, http://www.innogen.ac.uk/Publications/Policy-Papers
Papaioannou, T. (2006) ‘Public-Private Collaboration in Genomics and Biotechnology: the Cases of Cambridge and Scotland’, IKD Working Paper No’ 21, Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/- IKD: Innovation, Knowledge and Development- Working Papers
Affiliated staffJoyce Tait
Funded byEU Marie Curie Fellowship
Every year, over 1.4 million scientific articles are published worldwide.
How many of them are objective and unbiased descriptions of real phenomena?
Increasing evidence suggests that research misconduct and publication bias are seriously affecting modern research. Their effects, combined with biased science popularization, are potentially distorting scientific knowledge to an unprecedented degree.
Research agendas and political agendas risk being misdirected, and human and financial resources risk being wasted on scientific questions that are based on false assumptions.
The nature and gravity of this phenomenon, as well as its consequences, are only starting to be investigated.
My goal is to measure the level of bias in scientific research.
I will employ a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques to compare different fields in the natural and social sciences, focussing on three fundamental phases in the production of scientific knowledge: data collection and analysis, publication, and popularization of results.
PublicationsFanelli D (2009) . PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005738
Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Wendy Marsden
Affiliated staffLaura Meagher
ContactPlease contact Catherine Lyall for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is increasing emphasis, nationally and internationally, on interdisciplinary research in order to tackle some of the world's most pressing environmental and social problems. In the UK, we are witnessing a significant increase in planned funding for strategic interdisciplinary programmes but the lessons arising from such initiatives can be hard to capture and codify.
QUEST (Quantifying and Understanding the Earth SysTem) is one of NERC's flagship programmes for Earth system science. As this programme approached its close, NERC took the opportunity to commission a study of the experiences of a number of large scale investments in order to advance understanding on the nature of interdisciplinarity in this area of global environmental change research in order to deliver practical benefits to the wider community and provide valuable guidance for future similar initiatives.
The project studied the nature of "deep" interdisciplinarity; examined strategic and institutional aspects of interdisciplinarity (including barriers and enablers); and explored the relationship between interdisciplinarity and policy-oriented research. This project complements previous work advising the European Commission and UK Research and Funding Councils (e.g. Bruce et al., 2004; Lyall et al., 2011; Meagher and Lyall, 2005; 2007; 2009) on interdisciplinary community- and capacity-building. The scope of NERC’s directed call enabled us to study interdisciplinarity across diverse research areas, including global-scale processes and international perspectives.
The research addressed two key objectives:
- to develop multiple case studies in order to exploit insights from various sources including mechanisms and experiences of UK and international initiatives
- to promote organisational learning and generate benefits broadly applicable across the long-term future of various UK efforts to tackle complex, multidimensional challenges in this sphere, by drawing transferable lessons of relevance to new programmes, and delivering guidance for future initiatives in a readily utilisable form
The project adopted a mixed portfolio of methods to ensure that we captured qualitative insights along with quantifiable indicators where possible. These included:
- document analysis of both academic literature on interdisciplinarity and grey literature, e.g. on structures and experiences of relevant UK and international programmes
- semi-structured interviews
- surveys (online)
- focus groups/workshop
- learning visits
The empirical research was structured around four case studies (QUEST, Relu, the Tyndall Centre and UKERC), each representing multi-million pound, multi-discipline and multi-centre investments by the UK Research Councils. These case studies were complemented by a fifth, comprising three comparative overviews with strong international perspectives: IHOPE, IGERT and CNH.
Dissemination:In order to maximise learning and the spread of project impacts, dissemination activities to date include:
- an international Masterclass/workshop, focusing on the management and design of interdisciplinary programmes held in Edinburgh in January 2011
- a report and briefing session for the Research Councils
- presentations at UK and international conferences including EASST (Trento Italy, Sept 2010); td-net (Geneva, Switzerland, Sept 2010) and the Royal Society (London , March 2011)
- accessible, practical guidance, in the form of online 'short guides' giving advice to funders, evaluators and leaders of interdisciplinary initiatives
- a short Innogen policy brief summarising our key findings and recommendations
- one or more peer-reviewed journal articles currently under review
The outcomes from this research suggest practical enhancements to modes of collaborative working in future environmental (and other) initiatives and contribute to future research council investments by providing valuable organisational learning and transferable lessons to both the funders who frame, assess and manage interdisciplinary initiatives and the researchers who lead, conduct and generate impacts from them.
Our analysis of the lessons captured across this set of case studies led us to identify five key success factors for interdisciplinary programmes under the following headings:
- Locus of interdisciplinarity: At what level does ID integration take place (individual researcher, project, programme, theme)?
- Catalysis: Importance of ‘warm up’ activities
- Visionary leadership: Who provides the intellectual leadership? (role of funders and programme directors)
- Active management: How will integration be managed and by whom?
- Learning and continuity: What provision is made for capacity building
Policy implicationsThis study has provided an opportunity to advance understanding on the nature of interdisciplinarity in the area of global environmental change research, whilst delivering practical benefits to the environmental research community and providing valuable guidance for other future initiatives.
QUEST Final Report [PDF 1.2 MB]
Affiliated staffTheo Papaioannou
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Joanna ChatawayCo-investigator: David Wield
Funded byThis project was funded under the ESRC Science in Society Programme.
This study examined the regulatory systems of crop biotechnology in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. It identified and assessed the nature, and causes of regulatory progress and problems, in particular whether countries had sufficient capabilities and capacities to construct governance national and regional systems.
The research questions were:
- What is the nature, and what is the extent, of regulatory problems?
- Do these emerge from an inadequacy or inconsistency within policy and guidelines and/or from structural bureaucracy?
The core methodology was an in-depth investigation of three national biosafety systems.
Highlights of some of the key findings and conclusions were that:
- There is evidence of significant innovation in regulatory practices and routines, achieved through the concerted efforts of internal learning and a series of capacity-building initiatives.
- Institutionalising the structures and rules of GMO governance is contested. In each of the countries studied, a dominant protagonist has emerged but there is sufficient ground for decisions on GMO activities to be disputed. It is clear that different stakeholders perceive risk regulation from quite radically different perspectives and the notion of risk is related to different factors, for example, loss of biodiversity, control of national natural resources, threat to trade relations and investment in science and technology infrastructure.
- Facilitating intra-African trade in GM products is a key challenge. National differences over the scope of regulation and criteria for decision-making over GMOs and the lack of a single model for biosafety systems to converge are making the biosafety system harmonisation process at Africa level more difficult.
These findings echo the difficulties experienced in Europe and other parts of the world of constructing regionally harmonised biosafety regulatory systems. However, African countries face extreme constraints in scientific and technical resource. Thus, whilst there clearly are problems in implementing regional systems, there are also more pressures to succeed in this endeavour.
Seife Ayele presented papers entitled:
- Biodiversity and Biosafety Systems Building in Africa, at the African Studies Association 49th Annual Meeting, (Re) Thinking Africa and the World: Internal Reflections, External Responses, San Francisco, CA., November 16 – 19, 2006.
- GMO Regulatory Practices: Experiences from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa at the ESRC Innogen Centre Annual Conference 2006: Genomics for Development? The Life Sciences and Poverty Reduction, 5-6 September, London.
- The Legitimation of GMO Governance in Africa at the workshop Governing Technology for Development: from theory to practice and back again, London, 31 March – 01 April 2006.Innovation in GM crop regulation in Africa at the Development Studies Association Annual Conference 2005, ‘Connecting
People and Places: challenges and opportunities for development’, Milton Keynes, UK, 7th-9th September.Also:
- David Wield referred to the research in his presentation at the EU Presidency Invitee Conference for EU policy-makers ‘The Future of Precaution for GM Crops’ Vienna, April 16-17, 2006.
- An international workshop entitled: Governing Technology for Development: from theory to practice and back again (London, 31 March – 01 April 2006) was organised.
- A session on ‘Agriculture and Innovation’ was also organised at the ESRC Innogen Centre Annual Conference 2006: Genomics for Development? The Life Sciences and Poverty Reduction, 5-6 September, London.
- Chataway is currently supervising a PhD student whose work draws on analysis developed in this project.
- Chataway and Ayele are also supervising another PhD student looking at Kenyan biotechnology regulations.
Ayele, Seife (2007 forthcoming). Biotechnology and Biodiversity Debates and Policies in Africa, International Journal of Biotechnology.
Ayele, S. (2007) The Legitimation of GMO Governance in Africa, Science and Public Policy. Vol. 34, No. 4, pp.239-249.
Ayele, S. (2007) IRMA: a science and technology-based intervention to reduce hunger? Case study teaching material, TU870, Capacities for Managing Development, Open University.
Further informationFor further information contact: Dr Seife Ayele, email@example.com
Affiliated staffJoyce Tait, Dave Wield, Chris Milne and Paul Quintas
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
The co-evolution of innovation and regulation in life science industries is a key area of research for the ESRC Innogen Centre.
This project explores changes in the organization and strategic management of R&D in the pharmaceutical sector, focusing on the diverse ways in which firms are attempting to integrate new life sciences and technologies into their R&D systems, restructure the development phases of therapeutic research, and exploit new strategic options for product development in the context of a turbulent social and regulatory environment.
The research will include case studies of firms developing stem cell therapies or monoclonal antibody technologies, as well as the formation and progress of new public-private partnerships such as the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (TMRC) in Scotland. The project will also monitor changes in the evolution of the large and medium sized pharmaceutical firms.
Explore how large pharmaceutical firms are exploiting new organisational strategies to facillitate translational medicine and respond to changes in the external operating environment, such as new regulations, emergence of novel technologies and success of smaller and more nimble innovative firms.
Small number of interviews with representatives from industry and regulatory agencies, as well as desk-based research on companies.
Findings from this research will improve understanding of the key challenges facing the pharmaceutical sector and the benefits of different types of organisational form. This will have implications for public policy approaches to innovation in the life sciences.
Some working papers and publications have been completed or are in preparation, but further fieldwork will be conducted in 2010/2011 .
Mittra, J. 'Scotland's Translational Medicine Research Collaboration: Public-Private Partnerships for Health Innovation' (in preparation for edited collection entitled "Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy")
Mittra, J. and Tait, J. (2010) 'Risk-governance and Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies' (in preparation for Science and Public Policy)
Yoruk, D. and Mittra, J. (2009) ', Innogen Working paper 81;
Mittra, J. (2008) , International Journal of Biotechnology, 10 (5), pp. 416-440
James Mittra and Joyce Tait
Affiliated staffTNO, Delft (Netherlands)Innogen (Edinburgh, UK),Symlog (Paris, France),Joint Research Centre, IPSC/KAM (ISPRA), (EU/Italy)Dialogik (Stuttgart, Germany),ISIG (Institute of International Sociology of Gorizia, Italy)
European Commission FP6 Project
RiskBridge is a Coordination-Action Project commissioned by the EC to develop integrative approaches to risk governance. The project aims to develop an integrative risk governance model connecting risk-assessment management and communication based on a resilient and discursive approach. The project takes:
- An open project architecture rather than a specific model as a starting point
- Policy learning as the central mode of operation, allowing for input across different science fields, geographical boundaries and science-policy interfaces
- Cases related to complex risk fields where the agreement of risk governance approaches is limited.
The project is structured in three parts. In the preparatory phase the key project partners (in consultation with their nominated members) have exchanged insights on risk governance practice and developed a framework for risk governance learning; including classifications of risk governance situations and of social and cultural settings, criteria for ‘good quality’ processes in governance, and methods to promote learning within and across different risk fields. In the empirical phase, the following six risk fields take centre stage:
- Stem cells
- Radioactive waste
- Climate Change
- Electromagnetic fields
For each risk field, a learning trajectory has been organised during these first two phases, and 3 workshops form the focal points for the project. The first workshop focused on learning about best practices across disciplines and participants within each risk field. Workshop 2 will ‘design’ a best science-policy interface for each risk field. The final workshop will focus on comparison, analysis and learning across risk fields; resulting in an accepted governance model including transdisciplinary lessons and input from scientists and policymakers.
In the integration phase, the results from the workshops and risk field studies will be combined and integrated in a report (book) and a conference, with recommendations on how to handle complex and emerging risks in the form of a process scheme approach. In summary; the Coordinated Action Project RISKBRIDGE aims to make “bridges” between different kinds of “risk fields”, scientific disciplines, policymaking and science.
The project partners responsible for the six risk case fields are:
- Biotechnology / stem cells (leader: Innogen, UK, prof. Tait)
- Radioactive waste (leader: Institute Symlog, France, dr. Mays)
- Nanotechnology (leader: JRC/IPSC/KAM, EU, ir. Craye and dr. Funtowicz)
- Climate change (leader: Dialogic, Germany, prof. Renn)
- Sediments (leader: TNO, Netherlands, dr. van der Vlies)
- Electromagnetic Fields (leader: ISIG, Italy, prof. de Machi and prof. Pellizoni)
A conference to disseminate the research findings from the Riskbridge Project was held in Brussels in March 2009. is available to download, please follow the link.
was published in July 2009 and is available to download, please follow the link.
For further information contact:
James Mittra, firstname.lastname@example.org
Affiliated staffJanet Carsten, Lynn Jamieson
The use of donated human semen in the UK was developed by medical practitioners as a means of circumventing male infertility and helping childless women to achieve a pregnancy. Uncertainty about the legal status of donor-conceived children and moral concerns about the possible effects on the marital relationship of the recipients worked to maintain donor insemination (DI) as a largely hidden practice in which the donors remained anonymous to the recipients and unrevealed to any resulting donor offspring. Donors were not expected or encouraged to take any interest in what became of their donations even after the practice became subject to regulation by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
This thesis is based on a set of unstructured interviews with medical practitioners and other health professionals currently or formerly working in clinics providing DI services in the UK, and with men who donated semen between the 1960s and early 1980s mostly when they were medical students. Participant observation was carried out at conferences and other meetings of organisations and individuals with professional or personal involvement in donor-assisted conception, and a survey was made of infertility clinics' policies concerning the use of semen from donors known personally to recipients. Discussions with donors revealed ambivalent and mixed feelings about their involvement in providing semen, often for payment, and about their lack of information regarding the outcome of their donations. The idea of possible contact with donor offspring is influenced for these semen donors by their perceptions and experiences of what it means to be a parent and by the significance attributed to physical resemblances between genetically related people.
In this situation of ambiguity and uncertain obligation, there is no existing script for managing possible new kinds of kinship relation. The historical tension in DI services between opportunity and risk because of possible defects or disease in donated semen is now echoed in professional uncertainties about whether to allow semen donation where the donor and recipient are known personally to each other. I show that for some people, including donors, this brings the practice into a kinship frame, whilst for others it confuses family boundaries because of the possible fantasies between donor and recipient, and the involvement of the genetic father with the donor-conceived child’s upbringing. Finally I show that disagreements in the UK over whether to remove the legal provisions for anonymity turn on whether it is necessary to protect donors from emotional and financial claims from their donor offspring, and on perceptions about what constitutes a parent.
Further informationSecretly Connected: Anonymous semen donation, genetics and meanings of kinship
Affiliated staffProf Joanna Chataway, Dr Peter Robbins and Dr James Smith
This study analysed existing and new impetus for cross-national regulatory systems for modern biotechnology sparked in southern Africa by the 2002/03 food aid crisis.
The study examined the roles the African Union (AU), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), who, together with other regional and international bodies have initiated processes to assist the 14-country SADC region towards cross-national similarity or convergence of biosafety systems. This case study research was guided by the three factor conceptualisation of Per Olof Busch and Helge Jorgens (2005), which proposes harmonisation, diffusion and coercive imposition as three distinct international mechanisms causing policy change and policy convergence.
The over-arching question for this research was: whether, how and to what extent have the three supranational bodies (SADC, NEPAD and AU) contributed to cross-national convergence of biosafety regulatory systems in the SADC region?
Among other targets, the research also hoped to fulfil the following:
- To contribute to knowledge and understanding of how ideas spread across nations and the extent to which national factors influence and refract cross-national pressures.
- To contribute to understanding and analysis of institutional and policy adjustment at national level, and the ways in which SNOs assist and influence these processes.
- To contribute to wider theoretical and empirical debates on regional integration in Africa and beyond.
- To contribute to analytical models of policy convergence through application and interrogation of the typology proposed by Busch and Jorgens (2005)
The research was designed primarily as a case study of three organisations. The data collection methods were mainly use of a questionnaire, semi-structured interviews and document review. However, as the research progressed, it emerged that close observation of the processes through interaction with the various policy communities would be more effective in understanding the different opinions and cognitions around biosafety broadly and convergence specifically. Thus, when the opportunity for an internship at NEPAD arose, it presented a golden opportunity to be close to the activities, at least within the NEPAD setting. The day-by-day interaction between NEPAD and the other two organisations was also observed from this vantage position.
Different stakeholder understandings of convergence, and fluctuating motivations and fears regarding its emergence and implementation were observed. The processes towards a transnational framework were viewed as more important than the outputs thereof. Minimal, if any convergence had occurred in entire regulatory systems, or policies, while lower level targets such as policy scopes, objectives, institutional arrangements and regulations had converged to varying extents. The three SNOs had played different roles in this, singly or collectively, particularly via ideational and epistemic influence exerted through interplay between the three mechanisms proposed by Busch and Jorgens (2005), with diffusion of practices being most prominent.
Therefore, and as observed by other researchers, the three mechanisms were not mutually exclusive, and their effect on spread of policies depended a lot on contextual factors within organisations, sectors, countries and the region. The thesis introduces the notion of layered convergence as one feasible outcome of the cross-national processes.
Among the policy implications are the following:
- That, countries, organisations and individuals learn from other countries through different ways, such as looking for outside examples as part of ideational debates; when seeking solutions to practical policy and institutional questions. Efficiency and legitimacy aspirations are some of the motivations behind the learning. Meanwhile, countries also look at other countries and the SNOs as competitors – for financial and ideational resources. Key ‘policy learners’ are existing domestic actors, notably government officials, civil society operatives and researchers in government and quasi-government organisations.
- That, by and large, cross-national ‘learning’ forms part of wider strategies to find new models of regulation to deal with pressing problems and to overcome strong opposition to change. Meanwhile, South Africa differs a lot from the other study countries over the sources from which it learns. SA looks mainly beyond the region and beyond the continent for lessons, and this is understandable given its level of development and use of the technology. The other countries meanwhile look up to SA, although they do not do this willingly because of lack of reciprocity.
- That, while in some cases over-shadowed by sovereignty and other contextual issues in countries, voluntary cross-national learning plays an important role in overcoming the effects of these different national settings. The learning is able to assist in overcoming the effects of diverse national settings and hence contributes to significant institutional change occurring in the regulatory systems for biosafety across the countries.
- That the three SNOs all clearly play some roles in imparting policy lessons, and facilitating cross-national policy convergence, and that there is potential for synergistic interactions among them, and this would lessen the potential for divisive impact on the limited stakeholder base in the countries and the region. The organisations have different levels of reach, mandate, influence, resource endowment, experience with regulation of the technology, among other factors, and these could be leveraged in the quest to create an effective cross-national learning environment.
Project updateStudy completed, focus now is on writing and publishing papers and seeking funding for cross-sectoral and cross-ragional comparisons
Mugwagwa JT (2009). Ever-changing policy context: the one stable threat to biotechnology governance in Africa, in Lyall C et al (ed). The Limits to governance: The challenge of policy-making for the new life sciences, Ashgate, United Kingdom.
Affiliated staffAlistair Elfick (University of Edinburgh) and Drew Endy (Stanford University)
EPSRC (UK) and NSF (USA)
Note: This project arose out of an EPSRC and NSF sandpit held in Virginia, USA in April 2009.
This project will bring together scientists and engineers working in synthetic biology with artists and designers working in the creative industries, and it will analyse the interactions that result. This could lead to new forms of engineering, new schools of art, and new approaches to societal engagement with synthetic biology.Synthetic biology can be defined as the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems, and the re-design of existing biological systems for useful purposes. As this definition demonstrates, design is central to synthetic biology, as it is to all manufactured entities. However, we are much more familiar with thinking about design in the context of large scale construction projects such as bridges and buildings than we are in the context of biology.
Synthetic biology has the potential to profoundly change our natural environment, so it is important that work in the discipline is informed, from the start, with aesthetic considerations. Industry has not always done this well in the past, and this has resulted in landscapes scarred by coal mines and fields of monotonous monocultures. In synthetic biology, biology becomes a product of design choices, and industrial and political imperatives, rather than evolutionary pressures alone.
Our aim in this project is to bring artists, architects, industrial and graphic designers and those who are expert at studying, analysing and designing the synthetic/natural interface together with the existing synthetic biology community to help with the work of designing, understanding and building the living world.
Long-lasting interactions between the two communities will enable aesthetic concerns to be reflected in synthetic biology projects and products, enabling inclusive and responsive technology development. It will also facilitate novel forms of engagement and interaction within the synthetic biology research community.
The project is divided into three stand-alone phases:
- In the first stage we will develop case studies summarising work in synthetic biology to distribute to the creative professionals. We will also identify groups and individuals who would benefit from being part of the project.
- In stage two, we will arrange twelve exchanges where members of both communities spend time in each others' institutions.
- In the third stage, we will organise two launch workshops: one at a synthetic biology conference and one at a design conference. We will also develop web resources and other dissemination mechanisms.
We hope to see a surge of growth and interest in the aesthetics of synthetic biology in the final phase, resulting in long-term relationships between synthetic biologists and creative design professionals, which will influence teaching, research and product development. This could lead to new forms of engineering, new schools of art, and new approaches to societal engagement with synthetic biology.
This project will provide an alternative mechanism for non-scientists to engage with synthetic biology, beyond the familiar ‘outreach’ channels. The members of the creative and design communities who are part of this project will not just be passive recipients of information; the whole process will be much more reciprocal, and we expect the scientific approaches to be informed as a result. Furthermore, art and design make abstract concepts tangible and discussable, and they provide a mechanism to debate different futures before they happen. Art and design can encourage thought and debate in a way that transcends traditional forms of public engagement.
Further informationSynthetic Aesthetics project page
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Although genomics approaches in the biological sciences have provided a great deal of molecular data, some have argued that genomics has failed to deliver, both in a socio-economic sense of providing cures for diseases as was promised, and in a conceptual sense of providing an understanding of how biological organisms function.
In this context, we have seen the rise of new schools of biology which are concerned with integration rather than reduction.
‘Systems biology’ is the name adopted by some of these approaches. Systems biology makes use of computational tools and mathematical modelling to analyse the vast amounts of data that have been generated by genome sequencing and other high through-put data gathering projects.
It requires the collaboration of scientists from many different disciplines, including physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and biologists.
It has been heralded as the future of biology and healthcare and has received high levels of investment around the globe, so it is an important topic for social scientific analysis.
This project aims to answer the following research questions:
- What constitutes a systems biological approach?
- How is systems biology establishing itself as a new field? What mechanisms are put in place to bring scientists together from very different disciplines? What implications does the interdisciplinarity of systems biology have for individual disciplinary identities?
- What epistemic aspirations drive systems biology? Is it possible for biology to become an exact quantitative science with the facility for prediction and control?
- What implications does systems biology have for existing intellectual property regimes? How are guidelines being developed for the ownership of complex biological models and for standards for data sharing?
- What new social and ethical issues does systems biology raise?
- Which areas of systems biology have the most potential for translation? How will systems biology be translated into personalised medicine?
- What is the relationship between systems biology and synthetic biology?
- In-depth interviews with systems biologists and policy makers
- Extended stays at systems biology centres in the UK and US
- Attendance at systems biology conferences and workshops, combined with interviews and observation
O’Malley, M, Calvert, J and Dupré, J (2007) 'The study of socioethical issues in systems biology' (target article with commentaries and response) American Journal of Bioethics, 7(4): 67–78
O’Malley, MA, Calvert, J, and Dupré, J (2007) 'Response to our commentators' American Journal of Bioethics 7 (4): W7-W9
Powell, A, O’Malley, M, Müller-Wille, S, Calvert, J and Dupré, J (2007) 'Disciplinary Baptisms: A comparison of the naming stories of genetics, molecular biology, genomics and systems biology' History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 29: 5-32
Calvert, J (2008) '' BioSocieties 3(4): 385-400
Calvert, J and Fujimura, J (2009) 'Calculating life? A sociological perspective on systems biology' EMBO reports 10 (S1): S46–S49
Calvert, J (2010) 'Systems biology, interdisciplinarity and disciplinary identity' in Parker, JN, Vermeulen, N & Penders, B (eds.) Collaboration in the New Life Sciences Aldershot: Ashgate, 201-218
Calvert, J and Fujimura, J (2011) 'Calculating life: Duelling discourses in interdisciplinary systems biology' Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2): 155-163
Affiliated staffMichele Mastroeni
Funded byEU Framework 7
Radical changes in the global environment manifested during the post 2000 period have emphasized countries' need to re-define their proper mix of R&D policies (Avimelech and Teubal 2008). These changes include:
- ever-enhancing complexity of economic systems, at both local and global scales;
- the emergence of new technological areas resulting in enhanced turbulence, dynamism and radical uncertainty;
- and the rise of new, important players in Asia including: China, India and others.
These changes expose business sectors to major threats on the one hand, while introducing them to various new opportunities on the other hand. Policy makers face significant challenges in such terms and are required to target subsequent opportunities by enabling or promoting the business sector to take advantage of them. Existing horizontal R&D policies focused on promoting R&D activity in individual firms are often lacking in this respect. Current and future scenarios require not only the design of new policies but also the adoption of a whole new type of policy process, namely 'Targeted R&D' (Teubal, 2008).
While market failure justifies the use of horizontal R&D policies, both system failures and system imperfections require Targeted R&D policies in order to be solved. The central idea behind targeting is to leverage existing high quality market forces for the purpose of accomplishing the country's strategic priorities.
- Identifying the policy capabilities required in order to formulate successful targeted R&D policies. This will enable the development of more effective national and regional policies.
- Analyzing the appropriate level of policy mix especially in regard to the level of Targeted versus Horizontal R&D policies.
- Identifying coordination mechanisms between the different mix of policies within a targeted policy (e.g. R&D incentives, promotion of entrepreneurial activity and, product regulation) in order to leverage private R&D.
- Developing a 'toolkit' describing the processes and work procedures of formulating and implementing targeted policies successfully.
- Analyzing the pre-conditions for the successful implementation of targeted R&D policies and the generation/pre-selection of options for targeting. These include a number of factors, both external to the economy, e.g. relevant, potential new markets in the global economy; and internal, e.g. past experience in implementing horizontal/targeted R&D schemes, learning capabilities (monitoring and evaluation procedures, for instance), complexity of the innovation system, etc.
- Defining selection criteria and the decision making process regarding what to target.
- Analyzing best practices of countries with proven track records in implementing successful R&D policies.
- Formulating specific policy targeting programs.
- Generating a concrete framework for policy targeting involving three dimensions:
- Formulating specific support schemes,
- analyzing the policy institutions involved in the targeting process,
- and identifying concrete coordination mechanisms.
- Preparation for Benchmark Studies: desk researchDesk research to determine what contributes to the success of targeted R&D policies in the benchmark countries will be conducted and analyzed. This analysis will include an examination of technological and research infrastructure including knowledge institutes (public and private), policy structuring and initiatives relevant to the life science/biomed sector. The analysis will fine-tune the initial set of indicators for successful targeted R&D policies and include a review of the current situation.
- Preparation for Benchmark Studies: field researchOpen-discussion interviews will be conducted with agents of the various organizations in the system. The output of this work package is a set of benchmarks that will be studied in the participating counties and regions in the next work package.
- Finalizing benchmark study and methodologyThis task will provide the guidelines for the data formats and benchmark study designs. It includes questionnaires and guidelines for research. The output will be a standardized methodological format for partners conducting research.
- Benchmark study in participating countries and regions.
- First version toolkit The information gathered through the benchmarking study, with the knowledge obtained in the analysis of selected countries, will be used to formulate a toolkit for implementing successful targeted R&D policies.
- Final toolkit The first draft of the toolkit draft will be sent to the public partners. Partners will send their comments to be embedded into the next version of the toolkit.
An important outcome of the TARGET project has been a toolkit, enabling a country or region to develop and to implement targeted policies successfully as well as to take concrete policy making decisions.
The toolkit contains a structured and valorized set of guidelines & recommendations for diversifying the country's policy mix, taking into account the unique characters of its innovation/R&D system and geopolitical reality.
This approach follows the direction that was laid down by the third OMC cycle and aims at assisting countries to "focus their efforts when devising policies to improve overall R&D and innovation system performance".
Final TARGET Toolkit: TARGET Policy Report
Rosiello, A., Avnimelech, G. and Teubal, M. (2011) 'Towards a systemic and evolutionary framework for venture capital policy', Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Volume 21, Number 1, pp.167-189
Mastroeni, M (2010) "R&D by Design", Holyrood Magazine, Jan. 18, 2010
Affiliated staffSupervisors:Dr Peter Robbins, Professor David Wield and Professor Graeme Laurie
ESRC Innogen Centre
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in applying not just economics but the wider social sciences (for example, anthropology, human geography, politics and sociology) to economic activity. The most recent focus of attention in this work has often been financial markets, but the approach is also applicable to markets of other kinds, for example in pharmaceuticals.
The approach taken in the research summarised here is located within that broad endeavour, but in particular it seeks to apply perspectives drawn from science and technology studies to markets.
The basic underlying intuition (drawn for example from actor-network theory) is that there is a considerable difference between a “naked” human being, and a human being equipped with systematic ways of thinking about markets, with technical devices, etc. Focusing on this equipment suggests a view of the economic agent (which includes economic actors of all kinds, not just those who act on behalf of another) that is subtly different both from the view of the agent as a rational maximiser and from the different view put forward by behavioural economics (or in the sphere of financial markets, by behavioural finance).
While sharing the emphasis in the latter on the limitations of “naked” humans, the view of the economic agent that is being developed in this project also emphasises the way in which the behaviour of the agent can be influenced strongly by his/her “equipment”; it can, for example, be made more “rational” by this equipment.
- To develop a view of the economic agent that draws upon the insights of science and technology studies into the embedding of human beings in cognitive cultures and technological systems.
- To exemplify this view with empirical studies of a variety of markets.
- To disseminate the results of this work to relevant academic audiences and (where appropriate) policy-makers and practitioner groups.
MethodsThe primary methods being applied are qualitative: the combination of semi-structured interviewing and analysis of documents. Much of the work takes the form of “historical sociology” of markets, seeking to identify and explain significant changes through time.
FindingsThe main finding to date (based primarily on work done in financial markets) is that agents’ behaviour is indeed influenced by their technological and cognitive equipment. For example, behaviour in options markets was profoundly influenced by the availability of the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. (That model and the underlying analysis of options is now also being applied in a wider set of contexts, for example to inform investment decisions in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, so one possible development of the work summarised here might be to examine what effect this use of option theory is having on decision-making).
Policy implicationsThe main policy implication is that it is important to understand the cognitive frames within which economic agents are embedded and the models and other cognitive tools they bring to bear. The most dramatic evidence for this comes not from the sphere of the life sciences but from the financial markets, where it is clear, for example, that mathematical models played a significant role in the genesis of the current financial crisis.
The main publication to date is Donald MacKenzie, 'Material Markets: How Economic Agents are Constructed', published by Oxford University Press in 2009.
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Rosiello’s Phase 2 research set out to examine the impact of a number of factors that the economic and management literature depict as typical drivers of biotech companies' growth on the performance of the biopharmaceutical sector.
Further, it will ascertain whether in the context of different sub-sectors and systems of innovation these factors have a consistent or miscellaneous influence of the firm’s innovative performance, which will help to shed some light on complex interaction among firm-cluster-macro level dynamics - including the role of industrial/innovation policy and regulation.
On the one hand, we shall investigate the factors and process that shape the firm’s capability to innovate and compete in areas characterised by genuine risk and uncertainty.
On the other hand, we shall examine the role of selection played by the environment within which the firm operates, both at a regional and at a national level.
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Joyce TaitAssociated staff: David Wield, Graeme Laurie
This project sought greater understanding of some of the governance challenges posed by the life sciences. It explored whether new technologies (such as genomics) require new policy instruments and examined the links between governance and the creation of regulatory frameworks (including the extent to which the regulatory regime is being updated to take account of technological advances).
Themes around the multi-level, multi-actor governance of innovation were explored via a number of routes including an edited book, workshops and conference sessions. Methods included documentary analysis (academic journal articles, policy documents and press articles) and in-depth interviews with relevant actors.
- Through a study of a number of UK government - industry “task forces” and global developments in drug regulation, we identified two opposing trends in play which suggests that there are actually limits to the all pervasive notion of governance.
- This project extended the knowledge domain of multi-level governance studies, and developed theoretical links between the political studies and innovation studies approaches to the governance of science and technology.
- An international network of researchers working in fields related to the governance of science and innovation developed as a result of activities organised under the aegis of this project.
- The multi-faceted policy and regulatory situation that applies to the life sciences is leading to the existence of a government –governance continuum where different aspects of genomics and life science technologies sit at different points; contrasting the enduring role of the state in controlling and framing the context for the implementation of innovations in life sciences through the regulatory system with the more participative forms of policy-making being fostered to promote national competitiveness and encourage public acceptance of new technologies.
- This raises questions about how “joined up” it is reasonable to expect policies to be for quite distinct purposes (in the case of the life science industries, regulation vs. innovation and promotion). /ul>
- Engage with a wider range of stakeholders:
- Base decisions on evidence
- Reconcile conflicting views of that evidence in order to deliver greater transparency and understanding of new technology to wider publics and greater accountability of producers and users of that technology
This leads to tensions in the governance of the life sciences where policy-makers need simultaneously to:
This project sought to extend the knowledge domain of multi-level governance studies, more usually reserved to the European policy context, into the area of STI policy and, in doing so, to develop theoretical links between the political studies and innovation studies approaches to the governance of science and technology.
Lyall, C. (2007), Governing Genomics: New Governance Tools for New Technologies? Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19/3, pp. 365-382.
Lyall, C. (2007), Changing boundaries: the role of policy networks in the multi-level governance of science and innovation, Science and Public Policy, 34/1,pp. 3-14.
Lyall C. and Tait J. (2004) Foresight in a Multi-level Governance Structure: Policy Integration and Communication, Science and Public Policy, 31/1, pp. 27-37.
Lyall C. and Tait J. (eds.) (2005), New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Lyall C., Pappiannou, T. and Smith, J. (eds), The Limits to Governance: The Challenge of Policy-making for the Life Sciences (in preparation).
Tait J., Chataway J., Lyall C. and Wield D. (2006) Governance, policy and industry strategies: pharmaceuticals and agro-biotechnology in Dosi, G. and Mazzucato, M. (eds.) Knowledge Accumulation and Industry Evolution: The Case of Pharma-Biotech, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 24
Lyall C. and Tait J. (2005), Shifting policy debates and the implications for governance in Lyall C. and Tait J. (eds.) New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment, Aldershot: Ashgate, p.15
Tait J. and Lyall, C. (2005), A new mode of governance for science, technology and innovation? in Lyall C. and Tait J. (eds.) New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment, Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 12
Further informationFor further information contact:Catherine Lyall, email@example.com
Affiliated staffPeter Robbins
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Synthetic biology is an emerging field which involves constructing biological organisms from 'scratch'. For this reason, it raises many social, regulatory, ethical and epistemic concerns.
Synthetic biology covers a broad and disparate set of research activities, including the construction of interchangeable biological parts and devices (often called 'BioBricks'), work at the level of whole genomes (including the synthesis of viral genomes, and the reduction of existing bacterial genomes), and the attempt to create 'protocells' from simple components (see O'Malley et al. 2008).
An important aspect of synthetic biology is that it involves the application of engineering principles to biological systems.
This brings to the fore the different epistemic value schemes of biologists and engineers, and raises interesting issues about the extent to which biological systems can be treated as if they are comprised of discrete modular components (which coincidentally fit well with appropriation regimes, including open source).
This project aims to answer the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between systems and synthetic biology (should we think of this relationship in terms of ‘science’ and ‘technology’)?
- What is the role of engineering in synthetic biology? Do engineers and biologists have different aspirations and approaches? Do they treat biological complexity differently?
- What is the relationship between the economic/regulatory and the epistemic in synthetic biology (e.g. open source and modularity)?
- Will synthetic biology challenge our current conceptions of what is ‘natural’?
- Could we see ‘life’ being (re)shaped so it fits better with manufacturing practices and property regimes?
MethodsMembership of a UK synthetic biology network, interviews with leading systems biologists, attendance at conferences and workshops.
Frow, E and Calvert, J (2013) '"Can simple biological systems be built from standardized interchangeable parts?" negotiating biology and engineering in a synthetic biology competition' Engineering Studies 5 (1): 42-58
Calvert, J (2012) 'Ownership and sharing in synthetic biology: a 'diverse ecology' of the open and the proprietary?' BioSocieties 7 (2): 169-187
Wiek, A, Guston, D, Frow, E and Calvert, J (2012) 'Sustainability and anticipatory governance in synthetic biology' International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 3 (2): 25-38
Calvert, J (2010) 'Synthetic biology: constructing nature?' Sociological Review 58 (s1): 95-112
Calvert, J and Martin, P (2009) 'The role of social scientists in synthetic biology' EMBO Reports 10(3): 201-204
Calvert, J (2008) 'The commodification of emergence: systems biology, synthetic biology and intellectual property' BioSocieties 3(4): 385-400
O'Malley, M, Powell, A, Davies, J and Calvert, J (2008) 'Knowledge-making distinctions in synthetic biology' BioEssays 30(1): 57–65
Joyce Tait and Alessandro Rosiello
Affiliated staffJulian Sulej (University of Dundee/Innogen) and Shefaly Yogendra (The Policy Analyst)
Link to profile page
Link to profile page
Funded byThis project was funded by the EU PRIME Network of Excellence
Changes in the organisation of science-based Industries is increasingly based on the entry and development of new high tech firms. Venture capital (VC) is considered here as a specific industry whose purpose is to contribute to the technological and financial choices of innovating firms.
It is seen as a component of an innovation system whose interactions go beyond financial support so that venture capitalists are part of the selection environment that allow economic systems to change with regard to innovation and growth. This selection function is termed intermediation. Innogen is a partner in this project along with researchers from France, Finland, Italy and Israel.
- Are there institutional characteristics of the respective national innovation systems that influence the development of the VC industry in each country?
- To what extent is the development of VC industry sector-specific: the lessons from two industrial areas (ICT and Biotechnology)
- Are some forms of VC intermediation more prone than others to internationalise ? Can we speak of the competitiveness of VC industries?
- Desk based research on ‘grey’ literature and published papers; analysis of existing databases on the VC industry.
- Quantitative data collection: a comprehensive data set has been gathered comprising information on any deal in the pharma-ceutical and biotechnology sectors for the 1996-2006 period.
- Qualitative data collection: 20 in-depth interviews have been conducted with venture capitalists and the directors of dedicated biotechnology companies in Cambridge and Scotland.
- Design of a framework for identifying policy implications and developing policy lessons for the countries participating in the project.
- Development of a further proposal for EC funding through the PRIME Network.
- Description of VC investment patterns in terms of incentives, targets, and value-added provided to investees
- Quantitative evidence as regards the concentration of VC investments in knowledge intensive areas in the UK
- Qualitative and Quantitative data have been coupled to explain the relationship between the provision of added-value and the regionalisation of VC investment.
Rosiello, A, Parris, S, and Massimiliano, C., Venture Capital as a New Form of Intermediation: Implication for the Emergence of Bio-Clusters in the UK. This paper will be presented at the final PRIME VC FUN dissemination workshop in Rome, December 2007.
Rosiello, A, Teubal, M, and Avnimelech, G., Towards the Framing of Venture Capital Policies in Europe. The paper will be presented at the Atlanta Conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2007.
Further informationFor further information contact:Alessandro Rosiello, Alessandro.Rosiello@ed.ac.uk
Affiliated staffSarah Cunningham-Burley
Funded byScottish Government
Genetic databases are heralded as the way forward in improving the status of a population’s health through the collection of DNA samples, lifestyle questionnaires and prospective medical health care. Following from the 21CGH project, this project is working on the issues of procurement, storage, access and use of bio-information, involving and engaging the public. The project was funded by the Scottish Government.
- To engage a range of groups in discussions about the ethical, legal and social issues relating to family recruitment, consent, withdrawal, feedback, use, confidentiality, access, use, ownership and further public consultation (including responding to requests made by the multi-centre research ethics committee (MREC) about public discussion around feedback and commercialisation).
- To ascertain likely participation rates and assess acceptability of processes such as recruitment method, clinical feedback and information materials.
- To have input into the way that the DNA database is publicised in the media and elsewhere in the community from which participants will be drawn in a way that responds to local cultures and sensitivities.
- To document and understand how and in what circumstances the findings can be incorporated into, or influence, the development of Generation Scotland: The Scottish Family Health Study, particularly in relation to future use and further research.
- To research and evaluate the public consultation from a social scientific perspective which entails exploring the views and experiences of diverse groups, their connections to genetic research and the process of public engagement itself.
A multi-method approach was used that combined both quantitative and qualitative methods with participants and non-participants. However with this broad sampling umbrella we presumed there to be very different audiences (public/s, citizen groups, families and (social) scientists) who undoubtedly differ in their awareness, interest and experience of GS: SFHS. The division of method was as follows:
- Reconvened discussion groups: with publicly spirited citizens who can commit to an on-going forum for information and deliberation. We attempted to balance information and deliberation via a mixture of power-point presentations followed by spontaneous, unmoderated group work.
- The results of this work fed into a survey of 1,000 members of the general public conducted with Ipsos MORI Scotland and focussed upon participation, access, use and governance. Open and discrete choice questions were used.
- 100 exit questionnaires were conducted with participants to give a broad snap-shot of recruitment and views about the clinic processes.
- Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals initially contacted about the study and the family members they were asked to recruit.Non-participant observation of the GS: SFHS scientific committee group was also undertaken especially when the findings of the consultation were being discussed.
- Empirically, this research will enrich our understanding of genetic databases and the public’s views of, and attitudes to, them.
- This analysis will provide a solid empirical foundation for future ethical, legal and social debates about genetic databases and contribute further understanding to the concerns around procurement, access, storage and use. Moreover, it will contribute to the little that is known about family dynamics in relation to recruitment to such research. We will also incorporate a more critical approach to public engagement – both as an ideology and a method.
- The reconvened discussion groups, public survey, exit questionnaires and ethnography are complete and findings are currently being written up for publication.
- The interviews with families are continuing.
PublicationsSmith, B., Campbell, H., Blackwood, D., Connell, J., Connor, M., Deary, I., Dominiczak, A.F., Fitzpatrick, B., Ford, I., Haddow, G., Jackson, C., Kerr, S., Lindsay, R., McGilchrist, M., Morton, R., Murray, G., Palmer, C., Pell, J., Ralston, S., St Clair, D., Sullivan, F., Watt, G., Wolf, R., Wright, A., Porteous, D., & Morris, A. (2006). Generation Scotland: the Scottish Family Health Study: A new resource for researching genes and heritability. BMC Medical Genetics, 7, pp 74
Further informationFor further information contact:Gill Haddow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona Harris, Stephen Bates, Nicola Marks
Affiliated staffPrincipal investigator: Sarah ParryAssociated staff: S. Cunningham-Burley (Public Health Sciences & Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR); Dr W. Faulkner (Science Studies Unit); Prof A. Smith (ISCR).
This three year study aims to critically explore the scope for public engagement in stem cell research (SCR) and has two parallel aims. Firstly, to explore the social, cultural and ethical issues generated by stem cell research. Secondly to `test' a range of public engagement techniques for example, citizens' panels, focus groups, public meetings, education packs for schools, along with developing experimental approaches to this. Positive efforts will be made to engage the full spectrum of Scottish society, including hard-to-reach groups as well as scientists working in the field of stem cell research, potential users of therapies and other `public' groups. It is intended that this project will critically engage with the issues relating to stem cell research and form an empirically-based analysis of public engagement practices.
- To examine how diverse groups of publics and scientists view a range of issues surrounding developments in SCR
- To 'situate' people's views in terms of their social identities and locations, and salient wider themes in contemporary culture
- To initiate a range of methods for promoting and researching public engagement in SCR, using the same social groups
- To analyse these efforts for insights into the social processes involved, and to explore practical ways of extending public participation in decision making about SCR.
The aims of this research project are:
- To investigate views and concerns about Stem Cell Research, and
- To explore the scope for increasing public engagement in the developing field.
A literature review of the relevant literature will include: techniques of public engagement; critical approaches to the public understanding of science; the social implications of stem cell research and the new genetics. Two rounds of focus groups will be conducted with a range of stakeholder and non-stakeholder publics. These will include scientists, members of patient groups and other diverse publics ranging in age, social and geographic location. From these groups, members will be selected and invited to participate in further public engagement activities. These will be identified with assistance from participants. A range of different public engagement events and activities will be organised and analysed and also an educational intervention for teenage school pupils.
- A recruitment matrix has been developed and a sample identified for the first round of focus groups.
- Collaboration with the Institute for Stem Cell Research to devise project information materials and develop the schools-based arm of the project with a newly recruited Science Communications Officer at ISCR.
- Significant progress with a wide-ranging literature review.
As the project is still in the early stages, the following is a list of anticipated areas of contribution:
- Contributions to sociology - the sociology of scientific knowledge; medical sociology.
- Sociology & social anthropology - conceptualising the body, emotion and personhood; constructions of the nature/culture boundary.
- Social anthropology - belief, the body and relatedness; anthropology of science; medical anthropology. li>
- Science & technology studies - theoretical debates around knowledge & expertise; critical approaches to the public understanding of science; development of innovative methods of public engagement in science.
- Public health - changing notions of health and illness; experiences of disability and health.
We anticipate submitting policy briefings and papers to a range of journals, which might include the following:
Science, Technology & Human Values,
Social Studies of Science,
Public Understanding of Science,
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute,
British Journal of Sociology,
Social Science & Medicine.
For further information contact:
Sarah Parry, email@example.com
Since graduating from her PhD in 2008, Adèle worked at the University of Cambridge and is now a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Lincoln. Adèle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Programme
The sequencing of the entire human genome has opened up unprecedented possibilities for healthcare, but also ethical and social dilemmas about how these can be achieved, particularly in developing countries.
The thesis examined one of the several international responses these dilemmas have spawned: the suite of declarations on genetics and bioethics adopted between 1997 and 2005 by UNESCO.
Through this initiative, UNESCO hopes to promote the ethical governance of genetic and biomedical research, which is often conducted on an international basis.
The thesis assessed the actual and potential efficacy of the declarations as a governance mechanism, in terms of protecting individual research participants and reducing inequalities of health between North and South. It analysed the negotiation and subsequent implementation of the declarations at international and national levels.
The aim was to address the following research question: What insights can international relations theory offer into the actual and potential efficacy of global governance mechanisms in genetics and bioethics, particularly with regard to developing countries?
This would provide data on (a) the efficacy of the UNESCO declarations and (b) whether the field of international relations can offer useful explanatory and normative theories on this.
The fieldwork consisted of 70 semi-structured interviews with a range of persons considered to be stakeholders in genetics and bioethics in France, the United Kingdom, Kenya and South Africa.
The sample was chosen to reflect different societal perspectives on genetics and bioethics and thus consisted of:
- those who formulate policy at international and national levels,
- those who must implement these policies in laboratories and ethics committees,
- those who claim to represent public concerns and those with commercial interests.
The breakdown of sectors was as follows:
- policy-makers (20)
- scientists (17)
- ethicists (18)
- civil society representatives (12)
- businesspersons (3)
The interview data were triangulated with observations at negotiations held at UNESCO headquarters for the 2005 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights and with documentary analysis (official reports, NGO newsletters, brochures from government departments, national laws, websites).
The UNESCO declarations are in several respects classic exemplars of a formal international regime. Their negotiation demonstrated unequal power between both developed and developing countries and state and non-state actors.
Opinions were diverse as to which issues should be addressed and in what manner, such that agreement was only possible at a general level, on mostly uncontroversial aspects of genetics and bioethics. The subsequent implementation of the declarations has been slow and rather piecemeal, as might be expected of non-binding norms.
Furthermore, UNESCO’s mandate overlaps somewhat with those of other institutions. As the organisation is seen by some as a relative newcomer to bioethics, this could have a detrimental effect on its perceived legitimacy. The idea of a multisectoral global network for genomics governance, as proposed by the Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics in 2006, proved popular among participants.
If such a network could be built around the UNESCO declarations, this might facilitate their implementation. Combining the formal structure of UNESCO with that of a more informal network in this way would encourage high quality discussion within a framework of procedural fairness.
The inclusion of those non-state actors who might put the declarations’ norms into practice, such as geneticists, ethicists and representatives from civil society and industry, would be crucial to the legitimacy of such an endeavour.
The network could help to address issues in genetics and bioethics such as intellectual property rights, community engagement, social responsibility, benefit sharing and capacity building.
The UNESCO declarations’ legitimacy and implementation issues are typical of the international system as observed by international relations scholars. They invite the question, how might this situation be improved? Any answer would have to address several points:
what power and influence state and non-state actors should have, both expert and lay;
- how everyone can be included who should be;
- what the optimum balance is between formality and informality;
- how duplication can be avoided but complementarity strengthened;
- how norms can be upheld, particularly should state sovereignty be maintained;
- and the extent to which those norms should be universal.
The proposed solutions examined in the thesis—reformed regimes, issue- and government-based global networks and cosmopolitan democracy—differ in the nature and adequacy of their approaches to these issues.
It is important to recognise, however, that any new forms of global governance would not replace older ones but would have to be integrated with them, as the structures and norms of the latter will not disappear. Thus UNESCO and other IGOs will surely have a major role to play in the global governance of the future.
Langlois, Adèle (2006) 'The Governance of Genomic Information: Will It Come of Age?' Genomics, Society and Policy Vol 2 (3) p49-63
Adèle Langlois, “Crossing Places in Bioethics Regulation: Kenya and Beyond,” in Crossing Places: New Research in African Studies, edited by Charlotte Baker and Zoë Norridge (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007): 114-127.
ContactAnn Bruce, ESRC Innogen Centre, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards, EH1 1LZ, UK
The University of Edinburgh, College of Humanities and Social Science, Knowledge Transfer Grant
Placement Fellowships are supported by research councils and policy organisations as a means of knowledge exchange between policy and academe. This grant funded a workshop, the intention of which was to elucidate the benefits and challenges of Placement Fellowships in enabling knowledge flow between academia and policy. This workshop built on the existing evidence on the use of Fellowships and explored practical experiences with a view to informing future Fellowship schemes. The intention was not to evaluate existing schemes but to benefit from their experiences. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) programme, a partnership of research funding organisations with strong interests in effective tools and approaches for knowledge exchange.
- Explore areas where Placement Fellowships have been useful, in particular: - The role of Placement Fellowships in addressing issues at the science-policy interface that otherwise appear intractable - The role of Placement Fellowships in providing short-term expertise lacking within government departments
- Investigate the role of Placement Fellowships in improving the efficiency and speed of knowledge exchange between academe and policy communities
- Investigate the role of Placement Fellowships in improving understanding of research questions and whether this leads to better integration of research outputs into policy
- Investigate whether Fellowships, as knowledge exchange mechanisms, can alter the relative balance between the degree of ‘instrumental’ (observable) change to policymaking, and the degree of ‘conceptual’ (implicit) change in the thinking of policymakers
- Explore the challenges and potential pit-falls from the use of Placement FellowshipsExplore the ways in which Placement Fellowships can be beneficial beyond the immediate placement period/research project
The research consisted of a single interactive and participatory workshop with 14 specially invited Placement Fellows, former Placement Fellows, policy hosts and placement scheme funders. swill be interactive and participatory in nature.
- Fellowships allow academics to explore the reality of policy making and enable improved communication and exchange of information between the two sectors. However, it is not always possible to predict exactly where the policy impact will occur in advance.
- Personal relationships were seen as a key factor in successful knowledge exchange.Knowledge exchange could be in the form of instrumental change resulting from the expert input of the Fellow but also result in conceptual changes in ways of thinking.
- Academics can use their freedom and wider expertise to prompt questions, evaluate assumptions and possibly broaden and reframe policy questions by looking at them from different perspectives.
- In setting up a Fellowship it was important to understand how the Fellow connects with the department and it may be helpful to consider the stage of the relevant policy cycle and the type of input that is required.
- A key determinant of successful knowledge exchange was the extent to which the Fellow could avoid being sucked into the day-to-day departmental activities.
- A number of actions could be taken to secure longer-term benefits from the placement.
PublicationsThe Use of Placement Fellowships in Knowledge Exchange - final workshop report (49.2 KB)
Funded byESRC Innogen Centre
Translational Medicine (TM) refers to the development and use of new scientific methods and technologies, interdisciplinary approaches, and collaborative institutional arrangements to narrow the gap between basic and clinical science and facilitate better exchange of knowledge, information and expertise from “bench to bedside” and back again.
This project aims to:
- critically explore what is novel about TM
- analyse how it is being conceptualised and put into practice in national and international contexts
- discover what impact TM will have on basic and clinical scientific research and the implications for commercial models of drug development.
The key aim of this project is to generate an informed perspective of where Translational Medicine (TM) and its underpinning science and technology is heading, and whether particular applications in specific contexts might have implications for development in other national and international contexts. We wish to explore the potential use of the "social technologies" concept for understanding the emergence and development of specific TM Initiatives.
Four key research questions include:
- What is distinct about TM and how can Science and Technology Studies (STS) conceptualise the approach in a way that will further understanding of biomedical innovation and regulation?
- What is the interplay between TM approaches and regulatory systems for new therapies?
- What are the main benefits of adopting a TM approach and what key challenges need to be overcome?
- How are the different drivers and expectations around TM being managed and the broad range of disciplines and institutions required for TM organised?
In-depth, semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in Translational Medicine (scientists, clinicians, policymakers and representatives from the NHS) are being conducted. 12 pilot interviews in Scotland were completed in 2009 and are being used to structure the next stage of this project.
Findings from this project will have direct policy implications and relevance to public sector suppport and commitment to translational medicine initiatives.
Pilot interviews have been completed and analysed. We have secured a book contract with Pan-Stanford for an edited collection entitled "Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy". The second stage of this project will involve fieldwork interviews with practitioners of TM in international contexts.
The Translational Medicine book is currently being devloped, as is a journal article based on the pilot interviews .
Robin Williams, Wendy Marsden, Ann Bruce and Jane Calvert
Affiliated staffThis project also involved the UK Digital Curation Centre and The University of Edinburgh's Information Services department
Research Information Network (RIN)
RIN was set up by the Higher Education funding bodies, the Research Councils and the National Libraries, concerned to provide an appropriate infrastructure to support researchers in their work.
The Research Information Network (RIN) sponsored a set of case-studies designed to "enhance understanding of how researchers locate, evaluate, organise, manage, transform and communicate information sources as an integrated part of the research process". The aim was to identify "how information-related policy, strategy and practice might be improved to meet the needs of researchers".
The study was carried out by a team of social scientists and information service specialists (respectively, from, the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, and from Information Services at the University of Edinburgh and The Digital Curation Centre) led by Professor Robin Williams.
It built on shared interests and activities in the area including a workshop, jointly organised by BBSRC and the ESRC Innogen Centre, on
- Researchers use informal and trusted sources of advice from colleagues, rather than institutional service teams, to help identify information sources and resources
- The use of social networking tools for scienti?c research purposes is far more limited than expected
- Data and information sharing activities are mainly driven by needs and bene?ts perceived as most important by life scientists rather than ‘top-down’ policies and strategies
- There are marked differences in the patterns of information use and exchange between research groups active in different areas of the life sciences, reinforcing the need to avoid standardised policy approaches
- ‘One-size-?ts-all’ information and data sharing policies are not achieving scienti?cally productive and cost-ef?cient information use in life sciences.
- There is a signi?cant gap between how researchers behave and the policies and strategies of funders and service providers.
1. Diverse patterns of information use and exchange
- Researchers in the life sciences use and share information in many different ways. Within research groups, differences in information practices reflect divisions of labour, expertise and responsibility.
- Different research groups show a huge and intricate range of formal and informal approaches to discovering, collecting, processing and disseminating information. Patterns of information use and exchange vary hugely, according to the specific research challenge being addressed, even in apparently similar areas of study.
2. Frameworks of support
- Research groups tend to manage and share data in an informal way, without accessing professional support from institutional library and information services. But researchers express a strong desire for professional advice, training and support, with a particular demand for support to be closely integrated with research teams and laboratories.
- Better engagement with information professionals could add to the efficiency and effectiveness of research in the life sciences. Support for researchers must be based on a close understanding of their work, its patterns and timetables.
- Current career development and reward structures are not effective in recognising and rewarding the emerging specialist roles of informaticians, statisticians, modellers and curators, or in strengthening the information skills of life sciences researchers.
- Policy-makers need to work together to produce effective and sustainable models for training and careers in managing information, catering for the varying requirements of different areas of research.
3. Barriers to sharing data and information
- Life sciences researchers use a range of formal and informal mechanisms to exchange data and information with each other. But incentives for communicating the results of research other than through formal publication in journals and conference proceedings are weak and indirect.
- Most research councils require researchers to set up formal mechanisms for managing and sharing the data they created, but many researchers are reluctant to comply with these requirements. They are concerned about potential misuse of their data, and about the risk of losing control over what they consider to be a key part of their intellectual capital.
- Given the limited understanding of which forms of sharing and exchange are most effective, and under what circumstances, policy-makers should work further with researchers to identify the constraints, as well as to preserve the informed choice that is fundamental to scientific research.
The project report, , was published in November 2009 and is available to download from the reports section of the Innogen website.
Links to relevant Innogen staff:
ContactDavid Castle, ESRC Innogen Centre, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards, EH1 1LZ, UK
Funded byGenome Canada
VALGEN is investigating how Canada and the rest of the world can benefit from applications of agricultural genomics, an area of science that investigates the entire set of genes making up a particular organism such as our familiar crops of wheat, flax, canola, and corn. Applications of agricultural genomics include crop biotechnology and emerging bioproducts such as biofuels from plants and microbes. VALGEN focuses on three crucial factors that affect how scientific discoveries make their way from laboratory to the marketplace: democratic engagement, intellectual property and regulation and governance. These research themes are strengthened by research and development of new models, methods and metrics to capture the effects of innovation and combined with foresighting activities to envision future pathways. br /> As a formal collaborator with VALGEN, Innogen and VALGEN researchers work together to create better analytical tools for measuring food security and threats to agricultural productivity, while working to improve how genomics-enabled agricultural biotechnology can be developed and used.
Affiliated staffJames Smith,Jane Jacobs
This thesis contributes to research on agrifood systems in Africa. The research agenda is especially relevant in the context of revived developmental interest in agrifood sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Existing scholarship has tended to focus on economic restructuring and the way supermarkets and agribusiness firms increasingly transform African food economies. This thesis is an empirically grounded research endeavour that presents insights about key dynamics in the domestic food system in urban Sub-Saharan Africa, as seen through the case of Lusaka, Zambia. It also challenges existing scholarship by looking at transformations in domestic political economy contexts in Africa that promote the development of agrifood systems.
The thesis is concerned with (1) what shapes Lusaka’s urban food system or what the key influencing factors are; (2) the institutions that are critical to the functioning of the urban food system; and (3) whether agribusiness firms and retailers govern economic interaction in Zambia or whether these firms and their economic interaction are governed by other institutions, and/or determined by the domestic political economy context. The thesis considers the changes in Zambia’s food system which point to growth paths that are intentionally pursued to strengthen the domestic economy so that it meets domestic priorities.
Unexpectedly, this is not the concern of the state alone, but also of agribusiness firms. Other fascinating contradictions also became apparent in the course of the fieldwork, which looked at large agribusiness in the poultry sector, the Zambian National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), the South African supermarket, Shoprite, urban markets, market traders and small-scale farmers, between January and November 2007. For instance, contractual arrangements between small-scale farmers and agribusiness firms are common, but the supply chain almost always incorporates intermediary traders; urban markets are formalising at management levels; and the supermarket faces growing pressure by the state to source locally.
The methods consisted of in-depth interviews with the ZNFU, firms, farmers, traders, managers of urban markets and supermarkets, and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce. In sum, the thesis argues that urban food systems in Africa can be seen as situated or located in a domestic political economy, influenced by domestic and regional processes, and that they are the result of intersecting forms of governance by different firms and non-firm institutions. In offering a detailed case study of localised food systems in Africa, these findings lend to a robust research agenda on food studies and economic growth in Africa, and are well-placed to contribute to work on food security.
Further informationZambia's Food System: multiple risks of power and intersecting governance