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Press release

  • 5 September 2006

Celebrating 40 years of innovation

More than 300 international scholars will attend a three-day conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SPRU (Science & Technology Policy Research) at the University of Sussex and debate the latest research in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy.

The conference titled, The Future Of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: Linking Research and Practice will feature key note speakers, including Harvard University's Professor Sheila Jasanoff, one of the world's leading authorities on science and technology in law and politics. The event is one of the first of its kind to be organised by SPRU since moving to the Freeman Centre in November 2003, with more than 150 papers due to be presented between 11th and 13th September.

Research into climate change by the Sussex Energy Group and the effect of changing diets and rising levels of obesity are among the projects taken up by SPRU in recent years. Current studies at the unit include innovation in vaccine treatments and a programme examining alternative energy sources.

Ben Martin, Professor of Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU, says: "The conference is not just about looking back over 40 years of work in the field and our role in that, but more importantly looking forward to the key areas where we should be focusing our attention.

"The environment and sustainability are topical issues we need to address more clearly. The research we do here is a combination of contributing to the development of the field and trying to have an impact on current policy issues such as global warming."

The 40th anniversary celebrations will include a tribute to SPRU founder Professor Chris Freeman celebrating his 85th birthday on 10th September. The Freeman Centre, which is named after Professor Freeman, was opened as one of the first low-energy buildings on the Falmer Campus.

The centre features one of the world's leading collection of archives and research resources on policy issues with around 60 staff working there today.

Sussex University Vice Chancellor Alasdair Smith will open the conference with co-chairs Professor Ben Martin and Dr Piera Morlacchi. Broad themes for discussion will include systems of innovation, STI in life-sciences and sustainability.

Notes for editors

Press Office contacts: Jacqui Bealing or Jessica Mangold, University Of Sussex, tel 01273 678209, fax 01273 877456, or email:


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