In November 2018, a TIPC delegation of Johan Schot, Matias Ramirez and Ana Lucia Stival visited Brazil as part of a wider trip to Latin America. The team attended Brazil’s first Global Forum on Innovation and Technology for Sustainability, FITS 2018, held at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro. Professor Schot opened the keynote debate with Luis Felipe López Calva, Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Aside from the Forum, on November 27 2018, the TIPC team met high ranking representatives from the Brazilian Government and the Brazilian scientific community at the Brazilian Innovation Agency FINEP. The meeting was to present the work of TIPC and discuss how science, technology and innovation (STI) policy can promote sustainable development.
The Brazilian delegation was composed by: Henrique Villa, National Secretary for Social Articulation from the Presidency of the Republic; Álvaro Prata, National Secretary for Research and Development Policies from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTIC); Márcio Girão, Director of Planning and Risk Management from the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP) and his team; Janaina Pamplona and Andre Sica de Campos, professors from the State University of Campinas; and Caetano Penna and Mariana Szapiro, professors from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Secretary Álvaro Prata welcomed the TIPC delegation and presented some figures on the reality of Brazilian STI policy, highlighting the inequality and the imbalance between public and private investment in STI. He said, “Here there is a large detachment between science and the productive sector. In addition, the private sector still invests very little in R&D”.
Johan Schot highlighted the need to create new narratives to address new challenges, “20th century policies will not work in the 21st century, since the globalisation-based paradigm and fossil fuels will not be able to generate sustainable development”. Schot also introduced the concept of socio-technical systems: “A big problem of our culture is to split up the social and the technical when, in fact, these two aspects must always be together”. Schot introduced the emergence of Frame 3 (TIP) thinking for STI policies. A focus on key environmental and social issues with the involvement of civil society actors is fundamental to TIP.
Matias Ramirez presented the cases of Colombia and Mexico, reinforcing the importance of the participatory process. He said: “The community has to contribute, it cannot be a passive element that simply take instructions”. The coordination of multiple, non-traditional actors involved in the process enables the creation of a new narrative of technological development for social and environmental wellbeing.
Secretary Henrique Villa, responsible for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Brazil, emphasised the strong role the country has played in the negotiation of the SDGs. He observed the main national challenges are inequality, climate, waste and water, including sanitation. The adaptation of the 17 SDGs into Brazil’s reality is crucial: “Our challenge is to create public policies that bring the SDGs from the global to the national level, and from there to the local level, taking into account our local context.” Secretary Villa also commented that one of the first obstacles to overcome is communication, in order to make the agenda visible.
Director Márcio Girão gave an overview of FINEP and its ongoing projects, highlighting the Platform for Technological Cooperation. “It will be a fundamental tool to generate integration and connection between the productive sector and academia,” he said. He stressed the importance of the inclusion of sustainability parameters in the innovation process, especially in the sectors of biofuel, renewable energies, agriculture, and healthcare.
At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed that a focus on the economics of innovation alone cannot address the problems of Brazil. All parties stressed the importance of establishing a relationship with TIPC in times of new challenges. The participants acknowledged the potential of transformative innovation policy for addressing the SDGs and welcomed TIPC`s approach to the SDGs in terms of a set of socio-technical systems, a directionality portfolio and governance framework conditions. A cooperation between TIPC and Brazil should take advantage of the already existing strong connections between Brazilian academics and SPRU.
COMMENTS ON THE MEETING:
Secretary Álvaro Prata said: “I like the idea of transformative innovation and I would like to see a Brazilian involvement with the Consortium, starting a more formal cooperation in a small scale, in specific sectors, with possible involvement of MCTIC/FINEP, state foundations and the Brazilian scientific community”.
FINEP`s Director Márcio Girão said: “I see synergies between FINEP programs and TIPC. I am especially interested on how to improve evaluation of social and environmental aspects of research projects and how to design policies to combine SDGs and S&T programs. We will analyse the possibility of partnership between MCTIC/FINEP and TIPC in a pilot project and even a possible engagement in the consortium”.
Johan Schot said: “The visit and meeting with FINEP and Brazilian policy makers was exciting. We had a very good exchange. It is clear that Brazil has a strong national system of innovation with excellent people which, however, is not so focused on addressing the SDGs. This was recognised by all participants in the meeting, as was the positive potential of Transformative Innovation Policy for addressing the SDGs. Our thinking about SDGs was welcomed. At the same time, it will be a challenge to find ways to explore implementation of the transformative principles. We are looking forward to this joint exploration with Brazilian partners.”
PICTURES OF THE TRIP TO BRAZIL