SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research


Discover some of the highlights of the outstanding work by members of faculty in SPRU in 2014.

Professor James Wilsdon to chair an independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science,  has asked HEFCE to review the role of metrics in research assessment and management.

Professor James Wilsdon will chair the review which will consider the role of metrics-based assessment in determining the quality, impact and other key characteristics of research undertaken in the higher education sector.

The outcomes will be of interest to higher education institutions, research organisations and research funders and could shape the next REF.

HEFCE: Independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment

THE: Overhaul of metrics usage could cut frequency of REF

Market forces alone will not drive the widespread uptake of low carbon energy technologies in low-income developing countries. 

The Low Carbon Development project, running from April 2012 to March 2014, has revealed new evidence that shows capacity building has been more influential than market mechanisms in the Solar PV sector in Kenya.  The project applies innovative theory which builds on the STEPS Centre’s Pathways Approach to bridge relevant insights from academic literature in the fields of both innovation studies and socio-technical transitions.

The Low Carbon Development project is a partnership between the African Technology Policy Studies Network in Kenya and the University of Sussex in the UK (including the STEPS CentreSussex Energy Group  and Tyndall Centre), and was funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (an initiative which is in turn funded by the UK Department for International Development, DFID).

The project is seeking funding for a programme of research that builds on the current study to apply the conceptual approach developed here across a range of different countries, low carbon technologies and energy services. Please contact d.g.ockwell@sussex.ac.uk for further information. 

Further information:

Briefing: Low carbon energy and development in low-income countries

Working Paper: Working Paper: Sustainable energy for whom? Governing pro-poor, low carbon pathways to development: Lessons from solar PV in Kenya.

STEPS Centre Low Carbon Project


America's Underappreciated Entrepreneur: The Federal GovernmentFaculty


Editorial by Teresa Tritch, specialist in economic issues and tax policy at The New York Times about Professor Mariana Mazzucato's work and her book,  The Entrepreneurial State.

In her book Professor Mariana Mazzucato debunks myths about the role of the state in innovation.

The Entrepreneurial State has also received a glowing review from Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, in which he calls the book "A brilliant exploration of new ideas in business [that] argues that government is behind the boldest risks and biggest breakthroughs".

Brighton Fuse research project influences £170m investment in Brighton

Professor Paul Nightingale was co-Investigator on the collaborative Brighton Fuse 2-year research and development project to analyse the growth of Brighton’s successful creative, digital and information technology cluster, and pilot schemes to promote further innovation and economic development. Backed by several ministers the report has been instrumental in obtaining £170 investment for the creative industry in Brighton.

Brighton Fuse focused on analysing the interplay between the arts and humanities and digital technology and how these factors lead to innovation and business success. The project is run by Wired Sussex, the University of Brighton, the University of Sussex and the Council of Industry & Higher Education. Brighton Fuse is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

The Brighton Fuse team, which includes Professor Paul Nightingale, Senior Research Fellow - Alex Coad, and Research Fellow - Roberto Camerani, all from SPRU has won a second stage Fuse2 project to extend the work. 

Further information: 

Sussex backs Greater Brighton City Deal


Greater Brighton City Deal promises £170m investment

Brighton Fuse Launch Report 


Power hungry: how can we sustain our energy needs?

Speakers: Paul Appleby, Head of Energy Economics at BP
Professor Andy Stirling, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex
Professor Jim Watson, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex and Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre
Baroness Bryony Worthington, Shadow Minister, Department of Energy and Climate Change


Transmitted: Tuesday 11 March 2014, 6.30pm From: The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, as part of the Sussex Conversation Series

Professorial Lecture

Risks and Rewards: Building symbiotic innovation ecosystems

Speaker: Professor Mariana Mazzucato Reginald M Phillips Professorship in the Economics of Innovation


Professor Johan SchotProfessor Johan Schot

New Director of SPRU: Professor Johan Schot

Technology historian Professor Johan Schot has been appointed as the next Director of SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research at Sussex.

Professor Schot has been Professor of History of Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology for the past 14 years. He will join SPRU on 1 January 2014, when he will take over from Professor Gordon Mackerron, who is retiring after five years as Director.

At Eindhoven he leads the Technology, Innovation and Society Group whose research programme on Modern Societies in Transition was evaluated as world-leading in a 2009 assessment of research (published in 2010). Professor Schot has founded and directed several large-scale research programmes and networks, securing research grants totalling around 25 million euros.