Innovation is critical to the future of our economy and societal prosperity. This conference will explore the nature, determinants and direction of innovation and its contribution to meeting future global challenges in multiple domains – such as economic stability, food security, healthcare provision, resource use, water supply, waste management, energy supply and climate change. Responding effectively to these interconnected challenges requires a fundamental rethink of how we organize, govern, direct and accelerate innovation so that it contributes to long-term sustainable development, economic progress and social justice. Innovation refers to individual technologies as well as R&D, but also to larger technical systems and infrastructures, social, institutional and policy innovations, political processes and the interconnections between these. Innovation is the outcome of interactions between multiple bodies, including firms, intermediaries, public sector organisations, civil society groups and users of technology.

With a view to creating an engaging conference, the Programme Committee invites participants to take an active role in constructing an exciting and challenging programme. We seek high quality proposals for a range of main and parallel sessions that address the overall conference theme and topics listed below. We are open to ideas about doing things differently.

We invite researchers and stakeholders from business, policy and civil society to submit ideas related to the future of innovation policy on a range of topics, including the following:

  • What factors (social, economic and political) have shaped science, technology and innovation policy over the last half-century, and what factors are likely to shape it over the next 50 years?
  • What long term structural adjustments and transitions are underway in the economy and society and how are these both driven by innovation and a source of future transformation of innovation?
  • Is innovation policy equipped to tackle today’s most pressing challenges and how can it be changed to meet those challenges?
  • How can infrastructure be transformed to meet social and environmental objectives and how can knowledge and intellectual property be managed in this process?
  • What explains the structure and dynamics of innovating firms and industrial systems and how can innovation capabilities be enhanced?
  • What are the relationships between finance and innovation and how can finance be re-directed to address key sustainable development concerns?
  • How can we ensure that innovation is ‘inclusive’? What does inclusive innovation look like at the local, national, regional level and what is the role of grassroots initiatives? How can we ensure that marginalised communities are involved in this process?
  • How can we improve collaboration between firms, governments and civil society on innovation? What new governance structures are needed and how could they emerge?
  • How well do we govern dual use technologies in our quest for a more peaceful and sustainable world? What can we say of the relationships between innovation and (in)security?
  • How can we assess and map the quality and impact of research and innovation?
  • What is the role of expert scientific advice in the governance process and how can scientific uncertainties and controversies be dealt with more effectively?
  • What lessons can we draw from experiences in fostering innovation in developing countries? What new development agendas are emerging?

What are we looking for at SPRU’s anniversary conference?

  • Global perspectives: we seek participation, perspectives, insights and examples from all over the world
  • Active engagement: with stakeholders from business, civil society and government in as many sessions as possible.
  • Contributions from a wide range of sectors and technologies: including food, water, energy, mobility, healthcare, water, biotechnology, the creative economy, digital technologies and others.
  • Reflections about the development of innovation studies: its status, achievements, direction and how it can respond to a transformative change agenda.

Please see the guidance below on criteria for submissions.

We seek three types of proposal:

  • Individual research paper proposals: These are standard academic papers addressing the conference themes. Proposals should include a 600 word abstract that provides information about the question, theory, method and findings, plus a brief biography of each author (10 lines each maximum). Full papers will be required three weeks prior to the event.
  • Research session proposals: These are 90 min sessions comprising three original research papers on a common theme, with an invited commentator and chair. Non-academic authors and commentators are welcome, and we encourage PhD student-led sessions. Proposals should include a 500 word description of the session and how it relates to the conference themes, plus 600 word abstracts of each paper. Biographies of all participants should also be included, including the invited commentator and Chair (10 lines each). Full papers will be required three weeks prior to the event.
  • Dialogue session proposals: These are 60-90 minutes sessions, intended to stimulate debate about the topics covered by the conference and the challenge of transforming innovation. Proposals should include a 600 word description/framing of the session, including the proposed format and issues to be covered, plus a brief (10 line each) biography of each participant. This type of session thus does not require full papers, only discussion paper elaborating the proposed framing. We strongly encourage proposals for new and innovative formats.
  • Submission via email to: [email protected]
  • Format: PDF or Microsoft Word
  • Digital file names should follow the format – organiser (or author) last name, plus either IP for Individual Paper, RS for research session, and DS for Dialogue session. E.g. Schot_IP.

Further details about the conference fees and accommodation arrangements will be available in due course, including early bird discounts and fee-subsidies for select participants.

For more information email: [email protected]

Deadline for submission is 1 March 2016. Participants will be informed of the outcome by 15 April 2016.