Experts to highlight challenges for science in the developing world

The Scottish launch of a landmark book is the opportunity this Thursday for experts from Scottish universities to hear from leaders in international development on how advances in science, technology and innovation can transform the lives of some of the poorest people on the planet.

On Thursday 13 May Professor Jeff Waage, Director of the London International Development Centre, will be in Aberdeen to talk about Science and Innovation for Development, a book co-authored with Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London. The authors, two of the UK’s foremost development experts, challenge policymakers worldwide to raise the profile of science, and maximise the benefits of scientific progress for communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.

A recent review in The Lancet praises the “powerful case” made by the authors, and recommends that the book be on the reading list of every global health course.

Professor Waage will take part in a panel debate with other experts including Dr Andrée Carter, Director of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) in London, and Mario Konyen Joseph of the Windle Trust International in Oxford. The panel will be chaired by Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and chair of UKCDS, and will also include Professor Ian Diamond, new Principal of the University of Aberdeen, and Dr Hilary Homans, Director of the University’s new Centre for Sustainable Development and organiser of the event.

The panel will share examples of science and innovation in action in developing countries, including projects in health, agriculture and climate change, and take part in discussions and workshops with academics at the University of Aberdeen and other Scottish universities who are now setting up centres of expertise to provide focus for addressing the challenges posed by sustainable international development and collectively increase Scotland’s impact in this field.

 Professor Waage will also speak at an evening event for the public at the Suttie Centre on the University’s Foresterhill campus at 6pm, as part of the University’s annual Word Festival.

Professor Waage said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet and discuss these important issues with colleagues working in Scotland’s universities, and with interested members of the public in Aberdeen, where there is an outstanding tradition of innovative thinking and commitment to using science for the public good. We wrote this book to help people understand the role that science and innovation can, and does, play in helping developing countries tackle poverty and improve people’s lives.”

Dr Andrée Carter added: “The UK’s strong science base is already tackling global issues such as climate change impacts, food security and global health. Both the book and this workshop  are important for highlighting the role the UK can play in helping the world’s poorest countries address these challenges. Large scale research programmes such as the UK’s Global Food Security programme, of which the Scottish Government is a partner, is an example of UK science contributing to the international development agenda through collaborative, globally focussed research that delivers benefits to the UK and developing country partners.”