This broad research area focuses on the political economy of contemporary capitalism and the role played by innovation in seeking better ways of achieving socio-economic and political outcomes. It includes both the positive and potentially negative impacts of innovation. It consolidates earlier work done by SciSTIP institutional hosts and partners, while expanding the opportunities for critical studies of the role of science and technology and innovation in society, the economy, and in governance.

This research focus area is necessarily interdisciplinary and includes consideration of social and cultural values, economic ideologies, and government policies that influence the development, scope, and direction of science and technology and innovation policies and their implementation locally, regionally and globally. The objective is to develop an analytical coverage of the entire spectrum of science and technology and innovation activities, ranging from historiography to policy, practice and foresight, and to impact and outcome studies.

We aim to provide critical analyses of the transformational and transactional processes determining the creation, dissemination, diffusion, and the utilisation of the results of research and development in advancing innovation. It concentrates on the roles of knowledge, governance and policy making, and its implementation, towards the realisation of local, regional and global social, economic and political objectives.

Projects in this research area deal with fundamental problems of our contemporary conjuncture with a special focus on the global South: diversity; inclusive and grassroots innovation; sustainable and equitable development; and then broadening to include the post-2015 sustainable development goals and the contribution of South Africa to new indicators of development. While the primary focus is on South Africa, our research includes other African, Asian and South American countries.