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Science and Innovation for Development: What Role for the World Bank and other Development Partners?

Presenter:Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Centre for Environmental Policy
May 17, 2010, Washington D.C.

Video Video of the Lecture     Presentation Presentation by Professor Sir Gordon Conway 


STI is an indispensible tool for addressing high priority development challenges.  There will be no sustainable solutions to any of the critical development challenges facing the World Bank and its clients – inclusive globalization, food security, clean energy, effective health care delivery systems, etc. -- if developing countries do not have the capacity to find and invent appropriate technologies, adapt them to local circumstances, and use them to solve pressing social and economic development challenges.

Science and innovation is now increasingly conducted through a globally networked system, where scientists collaborate across countries to access the best expertise, resources and partnerships. It is essential that developing countries enter this system and to do this in a way that helps them build the capacity they need to solve their problems.

None of this can be accomplished by simply transferring OECD scientific research results into developing countries.  Developing countries ‘need the capacity to build the capacity to develop national innovation systems’ that can adapt and innovate.  For this reason, the World Bank and other development partners urgently need to prioritize STI in the developing countries so that the benefits of the global scientific network can be applied to the global challenges of reducing poverty and hunger and to threats posed by climate change.

At this seminar, Professor Sir Gordon Conway will use his recently published book Science and Innovation for Development as the basis for discussion and debate on these issues, and the role the Bank can play in them. 

About the presenter: 

gGordon Conway trained in agricultural ecology, attending the universities of Bangor, Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad) and California (Davis). In the 1960’s he was a pioneer of sustainable agriculture developing integrated pest management programs for the State of Sabah in Malaysia. He joined Imperial College in 1970 setting up the Centre for Environmental Technology in 1976. In the 1970s and 1980s he lived and worked extensively in Asia and the Middle East, for the Ford Foundation, World Bank and USAID. He directed the Sustainable Agriculture Programme at IIED and then became representative of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi. Subsequently he became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex and Chair of IDS. From 1998-2004 he was President of the Rockefeller Foundation and from 2004- June 2009 Chief Scientific Adviser to DFID and President of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a KCMG, Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex, Hon Fell RAEng and FRS. He holds five honorary degrees and fellowships. He is the author of ‘The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for all in the 21st Century' Penguin and Cornell.


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