SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

About the Department

With almost 50 years of experience, SPRU is internationally recognised as a leading centre of research on science, technology and innovation policy.

Founded in 1966 by Christopher Freeman, a pioneer of what is now known as innovation studies, SPRU was one of the first interdisciplinary research centres in the field of science and technology policy and management.

Today, with over 50 faculty members, SPRU remains at the forefront of new ideas, problem-orientated research, inspiring teaching, and creative, high impact engagement with decision makers across government, business and civil society.

Pioneering Research

Our research addresses pressing global policy agendas, including the future of industrial policy, inclusive economic growth, the politics of scientific expertise, energy policy, security issues, entrepreneurship, and pathways to a more sustainable future. We work across a broad range of sectors including food, energy, healthcare, biotechnology and ICT.  

We are driven by a desire to tackle real-world questions, whilst also contributing to a deeper theoretical understanding of how innovation is shaping today’s world.

Drawing on insights from across the social and natural sciences, engineering and humanities, SPRU’s pioneering research is known and respected worldwide. A 2012 study published in the journal 'Research Policy' ranked SPRU second only to Harvard University in terms of its research impact in innovation studies.

Located within the School of Business, Management and Economics, SPRU is a dynamic contributor to the University of Sussex’s wider culture of research and teaching excellence.

Transformative teaching & extensive outreach

With a community of over 140 MSc and doctoral students from all over the world, SPRU is also well known for its high quality, research-led teaching programmes. The multidisciplinary nature of SPRU means that students have access to an extensive range of expertise, whilst also contributing directly to SPRU research as part of their training and development.

With its extensive global alumni network among senior science and technology policy makers, SPRU is committed to engagement and generating impact, not only in the dissemination phase, but also by involving stakeholders  in the framing and conduct of research. Working closely with government departments, think tanks, media, companies, and parliamentary committees, members of SPRU are experienced in disseminating and applying their latest research findings.  

Connect with SPRU 

As we look ahead to our 50th anniversary in 2016, SPRU is embarking on an ambitious, new strategy to expand and build on our track record across research, teaching, impact and engagement. The strategy will draw on SPRU’s extensive activities to establish a far-reaching research and communication programme with a focus on long-term transformative change. 

To learn more about SPRU or to become involved:

E: spru@sussex.ac.uk