50 years of Innovation Studies – What have we learned? And what are the emerging challenges?

25 March 2019, 5pm


CSTI Seminar Series: 50 years of Innovation Studies – What have we learned? And what are the emerging challenges?

Date: Tuesday 25 March 2019

Time: 5pm

Location: Lecture Theatre 2, Institute of Manufacturing, 17 Charles Babbage Rd, CB3 0FS

The field of innovation studies and science policy and is now approximately 50 years old. From humble beginnings involving just a handful of researchers in late 1950s, it has grown to become a significant field of intellectual activity involving several thousand researchers. Some of its contributions have had a major impact on management or policy practice. It is therefore timely to look back and to analyse more systematically what has been achieved, in particular to take stock of the main contributions made by researchers in the field. Having identified a list of 20 advances over the field’s history, this lecture then sets out 15 challenges for coming decades. The intention is to prompt a debate within the innovation studies community on what are, or should be, the key challenges for us to take up, and more generally on what sort of field we aspire to be. It is argued that the empirical focus of our studies has failed to keep pace with the fast changing world and economy, especially the shift from manufacturing to services, the increasingly urgent need for sustainability, and the need for innovations that diminish rather than exacerbate inequality. Moreover, the very way we conceptualise, define, operationalise and analyse ‘innovation’ seems somewhat rooted in the past, leaving us less able to grapple with other less visible or ‘dark’ forms of innovation.

Professor Ben R. Martin, SPRU, University of Sussex

Ben Martin is Professor of Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU, where he served as Director from 1997 to 2004. He has also been Editor of Research Policy, Since 2004. He has carried out research for 40 years in the field of innovation studies and science policy. He helped to establish techniques for evaluating scientific laboratories, research programmes and national scientific performance. He also pioneered the notion of ‘technology foresight’. More recently, he has carried out research on the benefits from government funding of basic research, the changing nature and role of the university, the impact of the Research Assessment Exercise, and the evolution of the field of science policy and innovation studies. He has also published several papers on research misconduct. He is also the 1997 winner of the de Solla Price Medal for Science Studies. Ben Martin has a strong relationship with the University of Cambridge. He holds BA (first class honours) degree in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP); and a Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, both at the University of Cambridge.

This event is free to attend.