Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Article roundup: STEPS Latin America monthly debates

As part of the build up to the launch of the STEPS Centre’s Latin American hub in 2015, we have started a series of monthly debates in Buenos Aires on sustainability and development. The debates are an important first step in identifying and discussing themes that the new Centre will explore, and in creating a wider network of academics and policy-makers interested in those themes.
Short articles based on each debate are being published in Página12, a national Argentinean newspaper. These take the form of a pair of articles on each debate: one written by our invited speakers, and one by the Centro STEPS America Latina team.

Read the articles

Transgénicos en el ojo de la tormenta
Articles based on our first debate: 'What is the social utility of publicly funded R&D for transgenic crops?' 6 May 2014
There is strong government support for plant genetic engineering in several Latin American countries, as evident in R&D funding and the creation of enabling regulations in intellectual property and licensing. Yet there are very different views about the medium and long term development implications of encouarging transgenic-based agriculture. We invited speakers representing various points of view to address the following questions: What is the social utility of public financing of R&D in plant transgenesis? What is the contribution that this technology can make to sustainable and socially inclusive development? Are there viable alternative options?

Haz lo que digo, pero no lo que hice
Articles based on our second debate: 'Intellectual Property Rights and innovation in developing countries', 3 June 2014
There are contrasting perspectives about the ways in which different kinds of intellectual property protection may affect innovation in developing countries. In the wake of the 1990s TRIPS agreement, countries have had to harmonize their intellectaul property regulations with internationally-defined rules. We invited speakers to address the following questions: What are the opportunities and challenges posed by the new intellectual property regimes in terms of encouraging local innovation and supporting development objectives? Are there alternatives to the intellectual property rules stipulated by the TRIPS agreement? What is the scope for implementing such alternatives?

El papel transformador de la innovación
Articles based on our third debate: 'Innovation for social inclusion: Between inclusion as an objective and inclusion as a process of participation', 5 August 2014
Innovation for social inclusion is attracting growing interest amongst policy-makers and other stakeholders, but there are very different ways of understanding what is meant by innovation for inclusion. Is it primarily a process through which solutions to the problems experienced by marginalized actors can be created, or about fostering broader participation in the creation of new knowledge and technologies? We invited speakers to address the following questions: Is it possible to orientate innovation policies for social inclusion in ways that foster greater social participation? What tools would be most effective? How can we allocate resources so that the importance attached to innovation for inclusion can be equated with other R&D priorities?