SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Innovation, Sustainability and Development: A New Manifesto

In 1970 a radical document called ‘The Sussex Manifesto’ helped shape modern thinking on science and technology for development.

logoForty years on, the ‘New Manifesto’ project was initiated by the STEPS Centre in response to the interlinked global challenges of poverty reduction, social justice and environmental sustainability.

The project, which was convened by Dr Adrian Ely involved an international discussion with partners across the world.  The resulting ‘A New Manifesto’ focuses on alternative approaches, or ‘pathways’ to link innovation to development in ways that address the ‘3Ds’; direction, distribution and diversity.

‘A New Manifesto’ challenges the mainstream models of science and technology for development that have become integral to government and international agency policy.  It argues for a new politics - a radical shift in how we think about and perform innovation.


The project built on the first phase of the STEPS Centre’s research (2006-2011), and involved a dedicated seminar series involving leading scholars from around the world, 20 roundtables hosted by research partners across Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia. A set of background papers by STEPS authors, including Professor Andy Stirling’s background paper for the project which set out the ‘3D agenda’, framed these discussions and engaged with contemporary innovation debates.  The Manifesto was launched to an international audience in June 2010 at the Royal Society in London.

Impact and Influence

The Manifesto was translated into five languages and has influenced national and international debates, policies and programmes.  

UK Parliament

Insights from the Manifesto project influenced the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee ‘Building Scientific Capacity for Development’, and the House of Commons’ International Development Committee also cited the STEPS Centre in their report on the post-2015 international development agenda. The project’s ‘3D agenda’ was also discussed in parliamentary debates on the same issue.

United Nations System

Professor Stirling’s work on the analysis of diversity contributed to UNESCO’s Science, Technology and Innovation Global Assessment Programme and was adopted as a metric of cultural diversity by UNESCO for use in the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO 2011).

IDRC (Canada) and associated international network

The Manifesto project team worked with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as they were developing their programming around ‘Innovation for Inclusive Development’.  The manifesto document was cited in a number of internal and external planning documents and the STEPS Centre continues to play a key role in the international network established around IDRC’s work in this area.

The Manifesto was also discussed in media reports in China, India, Argentina, Brazil, France and Colombia.  The project’s wider impact was recognised in 2012 when it received the Ziman award from the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) for the most innovative international cooperation in a venture to promote the public understanding of the social dimensions of science.


Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto,STEPS Centre (2010), Brighton: STEPS Centre, ISBN 978 1 85864 925 0

Multimedia Manifesto

A New Manifesto in Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish

Leach, M., Scoones, I. and Stirling, A. (2010) Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice. London: Earthscan/Routledge

Stirling (2009) 3Ds paper

The Sussex Manifesto


Professor Andy Stirling: A.C.Stirling@sussex.ac.uk

Dr Adrian Ely: A.V.Ely@sussex.ac.uk

This project sits within the STEPS Centre.