SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Eu-SPRI Winter School

Innovation policy for Transformative Change

Location: University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

Date: 16-20 January 2017

Organisers: SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit, INGENIO, and Eu-SPRI - European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation

Organising Committee: Professor Johan Schot (course director), Professor Ed Steinmueller, Professor Andy Stirling, Dr Paula Kivimaa, Dr Ismael Rafols, Mr Jonas Torrens

The Science Policy Research Unit is proud to announce that together with the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation, Eu-SPRI Forum, it is piloting a new series of Winter and Summer schools. This series aims to provide state-of-the-art training in the study of science and innovation policy and supporting disciplines, catering for early career scholars and professionals at different stages of their careers. It concentrates on current research and debates, with emphasis on policy and pressing societal challenges. SPRU will host the first session of this series on the theme of Transformative Change.

The combined hues of environmental degradation, climate change, rising inequalities, democratic deficit, a protracted economic crisis, and the displacement of large populations by war and strife, paint a complex picture that is evocative of crisis and urgency. Governments, multilateral organisations, businesses and civil society have been engaged in composing new global agendas for facing these challenges, as it is evident in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, in the efforts of the International Panel on Climate Change, Future Earth and International Panel on Social Progress, as well as in many bottom-up grassroots and inclusive innovation activities.

These engagements, agendas and research programmes signal a need to reframe Science, Technology and Innovation policies, around the overarching notion of ‘transformative change’, with changes in its objectives, scope of action, scales and pace. This emerging frame taps into ongoing debates in research, policy and practice, and places greater emphasis on systemic responses, and renewed notions of social progress and democracy.

This winter school seeks to familiarise participants with state-of-the-art debates about the ‘transformative change’ frame of STI policy and its associated practices. Through seminars and discussions, the school participants will explore its conceptual underpinnings and its connections and departures from conventional STI policy. Sessions will also discuss concrete examples of efforts to promote such transformations.

Three guiding questions will be addressed:

• How may contrasting understandings of transformative change be brought to bear on policy responses to pressing contemporary challenges?

• How to ensure such responses are inclusive and democratic?

• How to advance such responses through transdisciplinary approaches and alliances?

Important dates

15 Nov 2016

Final program confirmed

2 Dec 2016

Deadline for registration

16 Jan 2017

First day of the school

20 Jan 2017

Last day of the school

Course objectives

Participants of the course will become familiar with the state-of-the-art of the emerging transformative Change frame, being able to:

• Critically examine the prevalent framings of science and technology policy, placing them in historical perspective

• Recognise and discuss the emerging policy practices which embody the Transformative Change framing

• Identify and critically assess methods and approaches with the potential to ‘open-up’ and democratise STI policies

• Consider the role of alternative science and technology indicators

• Reflect on the relevance of the Transformative Change frame to their current research and professional practice

Content and planning

The course has a duration of 5 days and combines lectures, panel discussions, interactive and training sessions. Each day of the school will be dedicated to a topic, combining lectures, case studies and group discussions. Participants will receive training in research communication. As an assignment, they will work towards writing blogs that critically reflect on contemporary STI practice through the perspectives discussed in the course; the resulting work will be published in appropriate channels, with the intention of opening up a broader conversation. Upon completion of the course and the assignment, participants receive a certificate.

Preliminary programme.


SPRU will host the school in the Jubilee Building at the University of Sussex, Brighton. The campus is at a short travel by train to the city centre. Participants will be accommodated in a hotel, close to the train station, in a convivial area of the city centre.


Accommodation is provided by SPRU, but all participants should make their travel arrangements independently. Participants from Eu-SPRI member organisations, have fee waivers covering the course, accommodation, and catering costs. Participants from other institutions are subject to a £430 (500€) fee to cover the course, accommodation, and catering costs (lunches, teas and coffees and one dinner).

The call for applications has now closed.


For more information regarding this winter school, please contact j.torrens@sussex.ac.uk
For information regarding the Eu-SPRI Winter School in general, please contact the secretariat: info@euspri-forum.eu