SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

SPRU Training

SPRU offers an annual training course with a different thematic focus each year. We also create bespoke courses with governmental and non-governmental organisations and collaborative research programmes as well as executive education programmes.

The 2020 SPRU Training Course is currently on hold due to concerns over the Coronavirus COVID-19.  News on

this and other SPRU Training activities will be posted on this webpage as more information becomes available.

SPRU Training Course 2020world jigsaw

Governing Emerging Technologies and Systemic Transformations

22-26 June 2020

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence or genome editing generate both hope and anxiety.  The promise of technological solutions to global challenges associated with health or the environment coincides with fears over unanticipated and uncontrollable impacts and the ever-increasing power of largely unaccountable corporations.  

Just as technological developments before them contributed to system-level changes in economies and societies, today’s emerging (and converging) technologies bring with them new patterns of commodification (of personal data, whether genetic or digital) and the displacement of increasingly diverse forms of human labour, from call centres to laboratories or legal practices.

There is widespread recognition of the need to regulate emerging technologies, but different national socio-political contexts, cultures and values raise complex questions, with implications for international relations within the multilateral trading system and beyond. The governance of the systemic changes that accompany these technologies is thus a challenge at national and global levels.

SPRU’s 2020 residential training course focuses on these questions of governance of emerging technologies, reflecting on past lessons and analysing future trends with the aim of fostering understanding and learning across diverse jurisdictions.


Who is this course for?

The 2020 SPRU Residential Training Course is designed for mid-career policy professionals working in government and non-government organisations with a focus on science, technology and innovation policy design, implementation and evaluation.

Learning from cutting-edge research, and sharing experiences with peers from across continents, the course provides the basis for improved decision-making and policy implementation.

This course will enable you to: 

  • learn from leading international experts in science, technology and innovation policy studies
  • update your knowledge by engaging with key current debates around industrial transformation, artificial intelligence, clean growth and innovation within the multilateral trading system
  • share experiences and insights with international policymakers in your field.

To find out more, watch 'An introduction to SPRU training for policy professionals'

In 2019 the thematic focus was Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for Turbulent Times. Course coordinator, Dr Ely, and previous attendees explain the aims and outcomes of the course.

Course overview

The course is hosted by SPRU, an internationally recognised research centre in the field of science and technology policy and management. Every session will be convened by SPRU faculty, leading critical thinkers and policy researchers, who will contribute their own new thinking on current debates around industrial transformation, artificial intelligence, clean growth and innovation and multilateral trading systems.

During this course, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Update your knowledge of key debates
  • Gain fresh insights through engaging discussions and interactive group sessions with a peer-group of policymakers from around the world
  • Learn new skills through practical workshops
  • Take inspiration from a field visit that showcases research and innovation initiatives in context.

SPRU is internationally recognised as a leading interdisciplinary research centre in the field of science and technology policy and management. Our academics are world-class researchers in their respected fields of study who pioneer new understandings and approaches in the governance of science, technology and innovation.

See Training 2018 for full details of our inaugural SPRU residential training course. 


University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

The University of Sussex is located on the South Coast of England, on the outskirts of the popular city of Brighton and Hove, surrounded by the beauty of a national park. We are just an hour from London and 30 mins from Gatwick international airport.

See map and directions here: www.sussex.ac.uk/about/directions