Jasdeep Sandhu: Case study

at Department for International Development (DfID)

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Head of Chief Scientific Adviser's Cabinet, Research and Evidence Division, Department for International Development

How can science, technology, innovation and knowledge be harnessed for the purposes of ending global poverty and societal inequality?

This is the question that I have been curious about much of my professional life, and the central question I wanted to explore when I decided to become a CSaP Policy Fellow.

I believe strongly that the capability to innovate in science and technology is fundamental to building sustainable and inclusive nations. Science, technology and innovation are not a right nor a privilege reserved for countries which in the modern day are economically the strongest; in fact, history shows us that countries currently classed as developing have, in different times, contributed to the global wealth of knowledge in areas as diverse as mathematics, engineering and agriculture. The strategy for reviving such efforts in certain parts of the world has already seen the unprecedented economic growth and transformation of several regions, motivating similar interventions across countries with poorer economic conditions.

If the UK is to deliver its strategic objectives around sustainable development, there is a need to create a lasting debate between the wider international science and academic community, government and business. The complexity of issues around poverty and how to tackle it mean that we cannot work in isolation or in silos; collective effort, driven by a single goal, will have a much greater impact that the contributions of any one partner. My objective is to begin this debate through my Fellowship.

My bespoke programme which kicked off my Policy Fellowship in February 2013 was a great start to this effort, packed with over forty meetings in which I was able to meet, debate and share knowledge with a wide variety of academics, researchers and industrialists, transversing specialisms from high-energy physics to design engineering and commonwealth history. The programme has given me a good foundation to foster new and productive partnerships and to help me address my core question of interest.