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The Global Redistribution of Innovation: Lessons from China and India

Authors: Adrian Ely and Ian Scoones


In the 40 years since the original “Sussex Manifesto”, the global landscape of science, technology and innovation has altered radically. The emergence of new centres of innovation in many of what were in 1970 grouped as “developing countries” has important implications not only for those interested in maintaining the competitiveness of the more established economic powers, but more importantly for addressing global challenges of poverty
alleviation and environmental sustainability. Taking as examples the world’s two most populous nations, China and India, this background paper highlights the vital need to consider divergent social, political and economic contexts in understanding the global redistribution of innovation and its consequences both locally and more broadly. Drawing upon ideas, experiences and lessons from each country, the paper points to a number of remaining challenges for redirecting innovation policy towards the goals of equitable development and environmental sustainability. Underlying all of these, it argues, is the need to ensure that mechanisms for open and accountable governance are firmly embedded within – and indeed drive – systems of innovation, enabling more diverse, but currently under-recognised forms of innovation to flourish and ensuring that the dramatic changes in these nations contribute to broader social and environmental goals at multiple levels.











Global Redistribution of Innovation