The panel focuses on the nature, dynamics and impact of technological change and its governance in the Global South. Contributions integrating and challenging both innovation system paradigms and political economy perspectives are invited.
The nature, dynamics and impacts of technological change in developing countries have increasingly received policy interest in the international development community. Many developing countries have adopted industrial and innovation policies as vehicles to improve structural transformation. The United Nations through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has put some emphasis on science and technology (S&T), proposing a 'technology facilitation mechanism' (TFM) that likens itself to outmoded models on technological development. Meanwhile, fast industrialisers like China have made significant strides by both investing in domestic capabilities and institution building, while integrating foreign technologies to improve their industrial and innovation performances. Such countries have flipped on its head extant popular 'technology transfer' and 'diffusion models' of innovation. The 'innovation systems' concept has been the dominant paradigm to understand innovation processes across countries since the 1980s. However important contradictions and theoretical gaps remain when juxtaposed with the empirical evidence, and insights from development studies and approaches in the political economy of development. Its assumptions and organising logics present important limitations in taking account of the structural, technical, institutional and political drivers of innovation for sustainable development. The Panel thus invites submissions that explore some of these tensions, and challenge the conventional innovation systems paradigm to advance theoretical frameworks, policy paradigms and tools. The Panel's guiding question is: What can we learn about technological change and sustainability challenges in the Global South by integrating political economy perspectives with, as well as challenging innovation systems frameworks?