With TIPC’s first trip to Brazil, a country like many in the world going through huge changes and challenges, we talk to Dr Ana Lúcia Stival, a senior analyst from the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC). Dr Stival is on a post-doctoral fellowship to SPRU supported by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) where she is working on transformative innovation policies applied to Brazil.
Tell us a little about your academic and policymaker background
Well, I come from a natural science background. I am a Biologist, I have my PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Hamburg, which I finished in 2003. After this I returned to Brazil and left my research career to begin working in 2004 at a government agency. I began in the civil service at the Brazilian National Research Council which promotes science and technology, doing science policy analysis in the international department. Then for a year I was at the National Commission for Biosecurity. Since 2009, I have worked as a senior science and technology analyst in the international office at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC). I’ve worked on international cooperation projects, such as the launch of the Brazil-UK Science and Innovation Year which is 2018-2019, and I’ve co-organised several ministerial missions and joint meetings between Brazil and other countries. I helped set up agendas and events to develop bilateral cooperation and define priorities. I worked building similar international partnerships to those in TIPC linking with science, technology and innovation ministries and funding agencies.
It will be interesting to work bilaterally with other countries in the region that are already part of TIPC, such as Mexico and Colombia. We have already had agreements in the past so could potentially use TIPC as a development forum. We also have a strong relationship with Sweden as we have developed aeronautic projects around the Grippen fighters deal. From this there is a lot of technology transfer and cooperation. We have strong collaboration already but we have never discussed Transformative Innovation so there is a potential there to strengthen and deepen with further work bilaterally using TIPC.
When did you first become familiar with Frame 3 thinking and TIP?
This started in 2016. SPRU is a recognised institution for science policy research and is very well known in Brazil. As I was interested in having a break of the Ministry and doing research on science policy I looked to SPRU. I felt this would be important for my career to go back into research for a while to research this field. I thought about SPRU because of the reputation, and then I started looking for important research questions which are being looked at by SPRU. I came across the ideas of Transformative Innovation Policy. I came to know TIP because of my interest in doing new research in science policy and then I found out about TIPC and its aims. I was thinking about refreshing my career and knowledge and I wanted the cutting-edge ideas on STI. As a science policy analyst working at the ministry it is important for me to be aware, so I looked to SPRU and found TIPC.
What were your initial thoughts on it?
I thought that it was really something new and very different. I realised the TIP approach to science and technology policy has never been worked with in Brazil, and this way of thinking about science policy and the concerns about sustainability and social inclusion, and putting those at the fore has never been done. It was very new for Brazil. I started reading the publications and the Transformative Innovation Frame 3 paper (Schot and Steinmueller) and I realised our policies are mainly Frame 1 and Frame 2, and I saw the potential to start thinking in terms of Frame 3. This could be something that could give an input into our policies. In general, the issues of sustainability and social inclusion are important for Brazil. We have great challenges to tackle in the energy sector and health sector. We are committed to the SDGs to tackle them. STI could give a greater contribution to solving these problems in Brazil as with other countries. We all share common issues.
How did you come to take the secondment to SPRU from your Ministry?
As I wanted to become involved in the new research, and because it is important that we stay up-to-date and have avenues to discover fresh ideas, I followed my own initiative to apply for the fellowship to come to SPRU, and I got permission from the Ministry to take part in a sabbatical. So, the fellowship is from the National Research Council to explore TIP in the context of Brazil. I had to write a project and apply and do the normal process that people do to get a grant. It got approved and I think that the fact I work for the Ministry and this knowledge will be applied there had a positive impact on my application being approved. Within the ministry, work being done in TIPC has raised a lot of interest from some colleagues working in the department of human and social sciences. They were very interested in TIPC so there is potential for the work to be taken up there.
What do you think are the main points for development in the current thinking and programme from Brazil’s perspective?
As I came to SPRU, I read more about the work that had been done in Colombia and realised it would be good to do a mapping exercise of scientific capabilities for Brazil and trying to correlate those capabilities with the Sustainable Development Goals to find opportunities. I am mapping the current research projects and strengths in Brazil with the SDGs – who are the teams involved and how can they relate and be even more targeted and promoted by the ministry. We will try to asses if current policies are in fact targeting the SDGs using Network Analysis Methods. This will be very relevant for the Ministry as I know they are already doing some open calls to support projects related to SDGs. For the TIPC trip, what are your hopes? How will you deem it a success?
I think the contribution of Frame 3 to STI is to acknowledge that it is not purely about developing STI, in order to have a socio-technical transformation in a certain area you have to consider a lot of sectors interactions. It is much more complex than just developing the tech, there is the cultural environment and the regulatory framework for example. There are several factors that come into adoption for a real change. Policies often only focused on
developing the STI, there is then a struggle as to why do we invest so many funds in STI and we don’t get a real impact on society or a real change, maybe we should be thinking about working with these other levels but also working on promoting a real dialogue to make a difference in people’s lives. As a policymaker, I won’t go too deep into sustainability transitions but it is important for the university to develop and research this area for Brazil. It is important to develop a research network there for the Brazilian reality, although I won’t do this as a policymaker, the academic sector can develop this local knowledge. The theoretical framework for TIP is still evolving and it is still very new. I realised at the TIPC conference there is not a lot of experience yet of working on these policies. It is evolving. We have many actors and a great opportunity to do experimentation to get empirical data about how it works in practice.
During our mission to Brazil we are meeting people at FINEP, which is the agency linked to the Ministry, dedicated to innovation. They implement many Frame 2 policies and promote research and NSI but they are also interested in getting to know more about this new framing for innovation. We are meeting FINEP representatives and the Ministry and some Brazilian academics. This framing, Frame 3, is very new for Brazil, so it will be the first contact with these ideas and creating awareness to see if there is some room for collaboration although we can’t make any new commitments due to the changes in government next year. This is about starting a conversation and planting some seeds to see whether it can grow later on.. I think it will be a success if we can create awareness and then ideally next year the conversations can continue and FINEP would join the Consortium. The key is looking at how we can effectively create policies for STI that make the connections to the SDGs, to integrate them and to promote them. Not to just to do say policy for one specific areas but how to create policies across the different SDGs and to think about directionality. This is important for Brazil, and the work that is being done within TIPC on these is very important.
How has living in Brighton been and what have you been most surprised about for life in the UK?
When I came here I thought it was going to be a much more hostile environment due to Brexit, but, at least in Brighton, I don’t feel this. It’s very warm and welcoming. The foreign people in Brighton don’t stand out, as people integrate themselves very easily. I feel it is nice to be here. My son is doing well at school. Brighton has a lot of positive aspects; it is a very welcoming place, that favours creativity and stimulates you to do your work and research. It is a very good environment especially here at SPRU. I like it a lot in the UK and there is more sunshine than I thought! The other biggest surprise, was the seagulls – they are amazing, and ubiquitous, and very noisy! The seagulls are a Brighton landmark!