The Innogen Institute is a dynamic collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Open University that explores the social and economic implications of innovation in the life sciences. Innogen scholars are pioneering approaches that connect people, policy and practice to innovative solutions for real world problems, in areas such as global health, food and energy security, emerging technologies, the environment and the bioeconomy. Read our Review

Friday, 14 February 2014

Post-Competitive collaboration: a new concept for the era of big data and real world data?

By Joanna Chataway & Joyce Tait

We are now familiar with the idea of pre-competitive collaboration amongst firms. The idea is that there are areas of basic science, research and technology where firms, in many cases together with public sector researchers, benefit from investing jointly and sharing the outputs of work. The research is early stage and it would be wasteful for public and private sectors to carry out discrete research programmes, duplicating effort and not sharing results. There is much debate about how pre-competitive research should best be carried out in different areas of science and technology, but the concept is firmly rooted in current R&D practice and policy.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

OU DPP Guest Blog: Local pharma in Africa - going nowhere, slowly?

By Dr Julius Mugwagwa, recently in South Africa and Zimbabwe

A recent visit to South Africa and Zimbabwe for field work on the ESRC-funded ‘innovative spending in health’ project and NEPAD conference on medicines regulation and access confirmed to me that indeed the multi-pronged search for effective solutions to Africa’s health care challenges has resulted in unending academic, policy and practice debates on the role that local production and supply of pharmaceutical products can play in availing safe, efficacious, affordable and high-quality products. As players in the health care system face sustained pressure from rising health care costs, changing regulations and an influx of patients demanding the same or even better quality care, one consistent argument is that local production will contribute positively to health system targets, and is thus a good place to spend the ‘health dollars’.

Read the whole story on the DPP Blog.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

ESRC Future of the UK & Scotland: Science, research and Scottish independence?

By Dr Omid Omidvar

This article was originally produced for the ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland blog on 4 December 2013.

In November, two papers were published regarding the future of Scotland. The first, ‘Scotland analysis: Science and research’, written by the UK government, and unveiled by David Willetts, UK Science Minister earlier in November, focuses solely on the issues related to science and research in Scotland, whereas the second one, a Scottish Government White Paper, addresses a whole range of issues associated with independence in Scotland with a brief discussion of the futures of science and higher education in Scotland (Chapter 5- Education, Skills and Employment).

Both papers testify to the strength of the Scottish science base and the contribution of Scottish universities to the UK research base as a whole. They agree on the significance and success of the presently developed research infrastructure, funding system, collaboration platforms and research support organisations across the UK. The importance of the mutually reinforcing research capabilities developed across the boundaries of the UK in a single integrated system goes unquestioned in both papers.

Read the full post

Monday, 2 December 2013

ESRC Future of the UK & Scotland: White paper reflections – Health and Clinical Research

By Dr James Mittra

This article was originally produced for the ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland blog on 2 December 2013.


The recently published Scottish White Paper on independence includes a relatively small section on health, social care and the NHS (pages 170-176), as part of a larger chapter on Health, Wellbeing and Social Protection (chapter 4). Like the rest of the document, the narrative is very positive in explaining the many benefits that have come with devolution, such as allowing Scotland to respond to its own national needs, which are different from the rest of the UK. The unique challenges that continue to face Scotland are also outlined and full independence is presented as creating new opportunities to respond to these more effectively. As many commentators have pointed out, however, the document is weighty in terms of the sheer volume of pages, but rather light on detail. This is perhaps unsurprising when considering the range of issues that are implicated in the independence debate.

Read the full post

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Regional Innovation Policies in a Globally Connected Environment: Lessons from Europe

By Dr Michele Mastroeni

This article was originally produced for the CIPS Blog at the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa, as a preview to Michele Mastroeni's CIPS Lecture on 18 October 2013.


Industry leaders and governments have pursued innovation as a source of economic growth for the last two decades. While firms have been striving to harness innovation in order to move beyond their competitors, governments have struggled to find a way to create and maintain an environment that encourages innovation within their jurisdictional boundaries.

The European Union’s efforts to encourage innovation-led economic growth focus predominantly on the regional level of governance, with its most recent approach being ‘Smart Specialisation’. Smart Specialisation offers a potential solution to Europe’s challenges in pursuing its innovation agenda—but as described to date, such an approach is limited.

Read the full post at the CIPS Blog.

'Golden rice', 'wicked' NGOs and the need for rational dialogue

Those opposed to GM crops in developing countries are “wicked”, according to the Environment Secretary,
Owen Paterson.

In a recent interview with The Independent, Mr Paterson backed an open-letter by international scientists calling for the rapid development of “golden rice” – a vitamin A-enhanced rice strain, which scientists believe capable of helping save the lives of around 670,000 children in third world countries who die each year from the deficiency and another 350,000 who go blind.

Mr Paterson attacked NGOs such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for their opposition to GM technology.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Interrogation of the ‘inclusive innovation’ concept

By Dr Rebecca Hanlin


Is the Tata Nano an example of ‘inclusive innovation’? What about solar lighting? How do we determine what is inclusive or pro-poor? Is it about the degree of income generation or saving that is created, the degree of viable business opportunity that a new product creates or is it about the process of innovation around the product more generally?

On 6-8 July researchers from around the world gathered at the Open University to discuss these questions, and particularly what we mean by ‘inclusive innovation’. Over one and a half days using a range of interactive sessions – many conducted outside in the sunshine as the UK basked in an heat wave – researchers considered how their own standpoint – and not just current research results – determine how we think about inclusive innovation.