“From Margins to Mainstream: Locating Frugal Innovations in Science Diplomacy Discourse” – guest lecture by Prof. Saradindu Bhaduri
On Thursday, May 19, 2022, we will host Professor Saradindu Bhaduri of Jawaharlal Nehru University who will give a guest lecture entitled:
From Margins to Mainstream:
Locating Frugal Innovations in Science Diplomacy Discourse
The lecture will take place at 18:00 CEST, and we encourage everyone interested to join us via Zoom (registration).
Dr. Saradindu Bhaduri is an economist and Associate Professor at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. In 2015–17 he held the Prince Claus Chair in Frugal Innovation for Development and Equity at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Among his latest publications are the co-edited collection Informal Sector Innovations: Insights from the Global South (Routledge, 2017) and the article “RRI Beyond Its Comfort Zone: Initiating a Dialogue with Frugal Innovation by ‘the Vulnerable’” in Science, Technology and Society (2020).
In recent decades, science diplomacy has gained much currency in global discourse for its perceived potential to foster regional and international cooperation around various ‘grand’ challenges facing the international community. Situated primarily at the intersection of S&T policy and international affairs, science diplomacy practices have emerged as a panacea for generating relevant knowledge and feeding new ideas into diplomacy to serve global public goods. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the surface what was until now a ‘below the radar’ activity, largely limited to the economies of the global South. It has exposed severe limitations of extant production-innovation-distribution systems and their insistence upon formalized tools and protocols in regulation and governance. The pandemic prompts us to explore alternative knowledge pathways that seek to occupy the innovation space amidst extreme uncertainties. Citizens and ‘non-experts’ (or unrecognized experts) are often the critical drivers of such a frugal innovation wave and thus should receive more recognition in contemporary science diplomacy discourse. By recombining existing materials, knowledge, and skills in creative ways, such cooperation can help foster globalized interactions and generate relevant solutions. Strengthening such organic human-centered technology governance against the highly technocratic paradigm institutionalized by the contemporary economic order can be central to reshaping science diplomacy strategies in the post-COVID era. Recognizing the crucial role frugal responses play could be the first step for science diplomacy to strengthen its role in policymaking.