SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Five year programme for the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium

Following its successful pilot year, a major international initiative based at SPRU is to be extended to a 5-year programme. The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) looks at how researchers, policymakers and game-changers can think differently about science, technology and innovation. By co-creating new knowledge, the Consortium wants to find fresh ways of innovating that puts human and environmental progress at the fore. These far-reaching societal aims are demonstrated in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the recent inaugural TIPC Conference, Consortium partners extended their commitment to pushing the boundaries of understanding on Transformative Innovation Policy by confirming their membership of the 5-year ‘Transformative Lab’ programme.  The founding members were unanimous in their desire to embark on the next exciting stage of this key international partnership.

Giving an address to the conference, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell, said:

“This partnership is important for the University of Sussex. This collaboration builds upon long-standing relationships.  SPRU is an ideal coordinating partner for TIPC. Over the last 50 years and more, SPRU has embodied the very best of the University of Sussex. It’s been challenging; it’s been genuinely interdisciplinary in its research and teaching; and it has made people think differently about science and technology. I believe that TIPC is a natural extension to this, and can only make the teaching and research of Sussex and all our partners much better."

Due to commence in March 2018, the five-year Transformative Lab will comprise four key components:

  • Experimentation projects
  • Research programmes and networks
  • Training, skills and capacity-building initiatives
  • Evaluation, metrics and deep learning

Professor Johan Schot, Director of SPRU and TIPC’s initiating founding member said:  

"Commitment from all the initial members to this further 5-year programme until 2022, is a great next chapter in the Transformative Innovation Policy narrative and journey. Crucially, the founding members recognise that science, technology and innovation policy needs to respond to societal aims like the SDGs.  We currently have no 'recipes' for implementation, hence the need to experiment with new solutions. Our Transformative Lab is about policy experimentation for transformative change. This is new territory and central to TIPC. This new cognitive space is designed for mutual learning between international governments and organisations who want to take up the challenge of implementing Transformative Innovation Policy, to bring about true system change."

The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium was launched at the SPRU 50th Anniversary Conference in September 2016. As well as its six founding partners, it will receive a further cohort of new members in 2018 who will pass through an exploratory phase before also embarking on a  five-year programme.

The founding partners are: SPRU; the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA); the Research Council of Norway; the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (TEKES); the South African National Research Foundation (NRF); and the Colombian Administrative Department of Science, Technology & Innovation, (COLCIENCIAS).

Professor Schot explains the Consortium'swork in this introductory video:

Further information: