Sustainability Science Program

Lucilla Spini

Lucilla Spini

Lucilla SpiniDr. Lucilla Spini
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 505 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-9330
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow

Lucilla Spini is a Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and a Programme Officer at The World Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on science capacity-building, sustainable development and the water/health nexus. She is a biological anthropologist with expertise in primatology, international environmental policy, environment/health, sustainable development and science capacity-building. Lucilla is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development led by William Clark. She holds a B.A. (Hons.) in anthropology from New York University, as well as an M.Sc. in human biology and D.Phil. in biological anthropology, both awarded from the University of Oxford. Lucilla is an Old Member of Linacre College at Oxford. Since 2011 she has also served as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Waterloo and Adjunct Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University, both in Canada. Lucilla has held a variety of officer positions including: Associate Expert at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Programme Officer for Environmental Conventions at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and Executive Officer for Global Environmental Change and Human Health at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. She contributed to a project implemented jointly by FAO and the Italian Ministry for Environment Land and Sea to strengthening FAO initiatives on biological diversity for food and agriculture towards the achievement of Biodiversity Target 2010, as well as to the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership. Her faculty host is William Clark.

The role of international science and technology capacity-building towards sustainable development and innovation: A focus on the water/health nexus
This project asks how can the impact of international science and technology capacity-building programmes be maximized towards strengthening innovation systems at the water/health nexus and meeting sustainable development goals?

While the international community is increasingly focusing on the importance of Science & Technology (S&T) capacity-building towards achieving sustainable development via the implementation of institutional and individual capacity-building programmes (e.g., workshops, fellowships), less consistent attention has been placed on the translation and mobilization of ensuing knowledge into action within the global innovation systems and in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The research examines the gaps and “bridges” within the knowledge-translation/mobilization processes of international science capacity-building programmes with the ultimate goal of developing innovative frameworks which can maximize their roles in the innovation systems and in the achievement of the SDGs. This study will map the institutional landscape of these programmes (e.g., UNESCO, and UNU) and will review the processes by focusing on capacity-building initiatives, at the individual level, supporting scientific research related to the water-health nexus. Using qualitative and quantitative analyses of existing databases, literature and selected case-studies and conducting ad hoc interviews and/or questionnaires with programmes’ recipients, administrators and other key-stakeholders, the study will identify gaps and “missed opportunities” between the programmes and the innovation systems, within the framework of the SDGs. The findings will then provide the basis towards developing recommendations to international mechanisms (e.g., Post-2015, UN Water), the private sector and the philanthropic community. Ultimately, the study will strengthen the global innovation system at the water/health nexus, and feed into the SDGs through a networked framework.

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