SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Global partnership on transformative change set to find new paths to growth

At a poignant time for the global conversation on man-made climate change, TIPC, a key international consortium coordinated by SPRU, held its annual members’ engagement week featuring the conference – ‘Innovation for Transformation’.

Comprised of workshops, panel discussions and seminars the focus through the week was on new ways to tackle what is seen as the conundrum of the 21st century – how to change habits, and establish norms and values that are sustainable on a societal and individual level.

This came during a week when the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided its strongest assurance of the stark consequences for human welfare if countries and businesses fail to find alternative ways to meet basic lifestyle needs. 

Despite decades of knowledge around the unsuitability of fossil fuels for humanity’s longer-term situation, government, businesses, families and individuals have failed to conclusively take steps forward towards alternatives behaviours that change and embed new systems – in energy, in food and clothing production, in housing and in transport. The charge to alter behaviours needs to come from many groups across government, civil society, business and consumers.

The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC), an international partnership of science, technology and innovation (STI) policymakers and academics, aims to do this by looking at how public policy in this area can direct fresh solutions fit for 21st century challenges, that ‘leave nobody behind’. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed upon by the United Nations in 2015, provide a to-do list of seventeen aims for humanity to reach by 2030, all encapsulated in the strapline - ‘Transform our World’. What is crucially different about the TIPC member is that they see these as applying not only to ‘developing’ nations but to ‘developed’ ones also. There is an acknowledgement that a new emphasis and approach to growth is required.

The TIPC programme runs from 2018-2022, having at its core the shared commitment to experiment, evaluate and embed successful, new strategies and projects to address the issues that the IPCC and others outline. 

 TIPC Founder and Director Professor Johan Schot said:

 “I think the conference showed a strong engagement from members and many committed actors who are interested in how we can enact transformative change.   The challenge is huge.  Research councils and innovation agencies need to experiment with and develop new areas of work. They require new thinking and new competences in the process. TIPC can play a useful role as a niche for experimentation and development of these competences.”

Professor Ed Steinmueller, co-author with Professor Schot on the pioneering research that underpins TIPC, said:

“The announcement of the new IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report on the Monday following our conference reinforces the relevance and salience of our efforts.  We are clearly riding the wave of change and, fortunately, this wave appears to be gaining momentum.”

For more information on TIPC follow on Twitter @TIPConsortium , catch the highlights on and sign-up to the TIPC Digital Digest to receive the conference report.

Watch the video on what TIPC is and why the world needs it.