Sustainability Science Program

Innovation for Sust Dev

Innovation for Sustainable Development (Innovation with Access Project)

Much of our early work on knowledge systems focused on disembodied knowledge – monitoring data, research results, assessments, and the like. Here we turn to knowledge embodied as technology. The Project on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of how to improve the functioning of the global innovation system for sustainable development (SD) technologies. The ideal global innovation system for sustainable development technologies should realize the maximum potential of science and technology to meet "the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," with special attention to equity – that is, to meeting the needs of the poorest, most vulnerable or marginalized. The project rests on the premise that it is possible to improve the current global innovation system to move closer to reaching this ideal. We are conducting a comparative study of five sectors central to meeting SD goals (agriculture, energy, health, manufacturing and water) to identify weaknesses in the global innovation system and promising new approaches to addressing those systemic weaknesses. We will select specific cases in which "system interventions" have improved the functioning of the global innovation system.