Poster

Transformative Innovation, the 4th Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development Trilateral Research Chair

Abstract

This programme is a partnership between the University of Johannesburg (South Africa), the University of Sussex ( and the African Centre for Technology Studies ( in Kenya It started in mid 2019 and will unfold over an initial period of five
years.

Taking centre stage in global debates, the rapid and converging technological advances comprising the fourth industrial revolution 4 IR) are widely expected to accelerate transformations in our production, consumption and social systems. Although these changes will be unprecedented, their direction remains uncertain. If not carefully steered, the 4 IR could exacerbate existing social challenges such as leaving millions of people across the world without jobs. In this respect, the challenges faced by African nations are considered greater than those faced by the technologically advanced countries.

Inventor of the concept, Klaus Schwab, listed 23 shifts comprising the 4 IR. Although these shifts identify areas of disruption, they offer no assessment of the impact on
sustainable development, which must incorporate the thorough integration of both social and environmental sustainability if we are to achieve the transformative ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In responding to these uncertainties, the Programme seeks to achieve both academic and policy objectives, building new theory and scholarship to underpin transformative innovation policy that works for the African region.

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