SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Former SPRU staff receive honorary degrees

Two former members of SPRU staff, Professor Luc Soete and Professor Mary Kaldor CBE, receive honorary degrees from the University of Sussex at winter graduation held on 21 and 22 January.

SPRU's Director, Professor Johan Schot said: I am delighted that two former members of SPRU are receiving honorary degrees in recognition of their outstanding contributions to science, technology and innovation policy. As SPRU celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016 and we reflect on fifty years of shaping innovation research and policy as well as explore the future, it is a fitting time for these awards.

HonoraryLuc Soete 

Luc Soete gained his DPhil in Economics from the University of Sussex and worked as a senior fellow in SPRU in the late 1970s and 1980s.  He is currently Professor of International Economic Relations and Director-Dean of the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance as well as Rector Magnificus at Maastricht University. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy and the Royal Dutch Academy of Science.

During his time at SPRU, Luc Soete was involved in a number of research projects on the impact of innovation on international trade performance, on employment creation and employment displacement and the impact of the introduction of new technologies. He developed various new measures on sectoral and international technological specialization, formal models of technological accumulation and diffusion, and the impact of technological change on catching-up “windows of opportunity” for developing countries.

His work on radical versus incremental innovations, the occurrence of clusters of innovations and even of new technological paradigms is considered to provide the empirical backbone for the now popular Schumpeterian theories of endogenous growth, creative destruction and so-called “general purpose technologies”. Findings from a 1980s project carried out at SPRU, and written with Chris Freeman, provide some of the most detailed descriptions of the diffusion of such “pervasive technologies” and the accompanying Schumpeterian processes of creative destruction.  These findings were popularized in the bestseller ‘Work for All or Mass Unemployment’ which presents an analysis still relevant to current policy debates on the objectives of economic policy. 

Luc said: 'I owe my career to SPRU; for its intellectual, entrepreneurial spirit and  critical thinking that are its key characteristics'.

Over the past 20 years, Luc Soete’s research focus shifted to include key science, technology and innovation policy challenges, both nationally and internationally and his research has become increasingly influential in policy circles, including advising British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the European Presidency Hampton Court summit. Soete has been one of the leaders in building the scientific standing and policy contribution of the economics of innovation over the past thirty years.

HonoraryMary Kaldor 

Mary Kaldor is Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit at the London School of Economics. She has a longstanding relationship with the University of Sussex that dates back to the late 1960s, becoming a Research Fellow at SPRU in 1976.

Mary Kaldor is a pioneer in work on “human security” and the concept of ‘New Wars”, setting a precedent with new thinking about contemporary conflicts and democratic governance with her work. Throughout her career, she has maintained an interest in technology and security, which began with her work at SPRU, where she produced the Baroque Arsenal (1981).

‘Working at SPRU was a formative intellectual experience. SPRU’s first Director Chris Freeman was an inspiration and both the ideas about the role of technology in history and the collaborative methods of working had a big influence on me’ said Mary.

Mary Kaldor is the author of many books, including 'The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the Changing Rules of War and Peace', 'New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era' and 'Global Civil Society: An Answer to War'.  She was a founding member of the European Nuclear Disarmament, editing its European Nuclear Disarmament Journal and has served on a number of advisory boards and forums including the Defence Advisory Forum, to advise the Minister of Defence, UK. She continues to serve on the advisory board of prestigious organisations such as SIPRI, the European Space Agency, and World Policy Forum, which was established by Mikhail Gorbachev.

During the past 18 months, Mary has led a large research project, connecting SPRU researchers with her colleagues at LSE.




*flickr photo in box by State Farm http://flickr.com/photos/statefarm/16690094544 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license