Transformative Innovation Policy and the 4th Industrial Revolution

Moderator: Prof Erika Kraemer-Mbula, University of Johannesburg

Panelist: Dr Chux Daniels, Science Policy Research Unit: University of Sussex

Panelist:Dr Fisseha Mekuria, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Panelist:Dr Hester Du Plessis, Human Sciences Research Council

Panelist: Prof Nelson Torto, African Academy of Sciences (AAS)

Re-thinking innovation policy is timely. Many research councils, governments and international organisations world-wide want innovation to address a number of societal or grand challenges. Another indicator is the growing impact in the notion of Multidisciplinary STI research frameworks in relation toresponsible research and innovation (RRI). Yet how to design, implement and govern challenge-led innovation policies is far from clear. Many innovation policies are based on the 20th century supply-driven innovation model, which takes competition between nations and support for STI R&D as the main entry point for policy making without thinking more creatively about the broader suite of innovation policies that are available. With the desire and commitment to co-create the next generation of STI theory, policy and practice, this session brings together stakeholders from technology research, industry, policy and their constituencies.  The expectation is that emerging technologies such as 5G and industry 4.0 require transformative change, interplay and combining previous framings of innovation policy to provide alternative policy mixes and initiatives, which place socio-technical change, human development, welfare and environmental advancements at the fore.

The discussions will also explore policy frameworks thatfocus on fast paced technological developments, the need for a multidisciplinary innovation frameworks and future scenario foresight based on potential ways to accelerate the 4th industrial revolution in Africa:


Prof Erika Kraemer-Mbula, University of Johannesburg

Prof Kraemer-Mbula (South African Research Chair in Industrial Development, University of Johannesburg), Initially trained as an Economist, Erika Kraemer-Mbula holds a Masters in Science and Technology Policy (with distinction) by the Science and Policy Research Unit (University of Sussex), and a doctorate in Development Studies from the University of Oxford.  In her work, she has adopted a cross-disciplinary approach to exploring alternative development paths for African countries. She specialises in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy analysis and innovation systems in connection to equitable and sustainable development. Between 2001 and 2011, Kraemer-Mbula was a researcher at the Centre for Research in Innovation Management (CENTRIM) and the Science and Policy Research Unit (SPRU), both in Brighton, UK. Between 2012 and 2017 she was a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (IERI) at Tshwane University of Technology, where she was the acting director in 2014.  Currently she is an Associate Professor Extraordinary at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), University of Stellenbosch;  a Visiting Senior Researcher at the School of Economics and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, and a researcher at the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (SciSTIP).


Dr Chux Daniels, Science Policy Research Unit: University of Sussex

Dr Daniels is a Research Fellow at Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK. Chux is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy and Teaching Fellow in Innovation Studies at SPRU, University of Sussex, UK. In addition to research and teaching, he supervises PhD researchers and MSc students, and co-convenes the Innovation Systems module at SPRU. Chux is also the coordinator of SPRU’s Africa Engagement Programme. His current research include the Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP); and, a Political Economy (PE) analysis of Science Granting Councils (SGCs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, funded by IDRC, DFID and South Africa’s National Research Foundation. TIP research and policy engagement brings together six global actors to examine innovation systems and the future of innovation policy – its foundation, formulation, implementation, and governance. Alongside SPRU, the founding research organisations are from Colombia, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Finland. Besides research and teaching, Chux is involved in active public policy work. He is currently working with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in developing innovation and capacity-building modules for policymakers. In addition, he is involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the African Union “Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa” (STISA-2024). Furthermore, Chux is part of SPRU team contributing to the formulation of South Africa’s 2017 White Paper on STI. Chux obtained his PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies at the University of Sussex. He is a visiting fellow at several international research and policy institutes.


Dr Fisseha Mekuria, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Dr Mekuria, Chief Research Scientist, CSIR Meraka ICT Institute, South Africa. He leads the 5G and Affordable Broadband Networks research at the CSIR. He is the proponent of a 4th leg for the 5G standards aimed at technologies for addressing the next billion underserved population in emerging economies. He has a PhD from Linköping University, in Sweden, and has a past as senior research Engineer at Ericsson Mobile Communications R&D lab in Sweden, where he developed over 12 US/EPO patents. He is at present leading the disruptive technology research in dynamic spectrum sharing at the CSIR, and made headlines as the only emerging economy technology patent contribution and by successfully completing an international qualification process lead by the UK Ofcom regulator . Dr Mekuria also holds an Adj. Professor position at the University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Science..


Dr Hester Du Plessis, Human Sciences Research Council

Dr Hester du Plessis is a chief research specialist and head of Science Engagement and Gender within the Research Use and Impact Assessment (RIA) unit. She holds aMTech in Fine and Applied Art with the title IKS and technology transfer systems among artisans in India and South Africa, at the Tshwane University of Technology (formerly the Technikon Pretoria). In 2010 she obtained a PhD in Philosophy from the University of South Africa (UNISA) on The role of women in design, indigenous knowledge systems and science during technology transfer processes.

She participated in research with the unit for Science Communication through Multi-Media (SCM); the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi, India from 2000 onwards. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Scientific Temper at NISCAIR.

She is a Fellow at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), South Africa. , where she was the main author of a book publication: The concept and application of transdisciplinarity in intellectual discourse and research (2014). Her areas of research interest include: science communication, gender, a transdisciplinary approach to research, philosophy and the philosophy of science and the global civilizational project.


Prof Nelson Torto , African Academy of Sciences (AAS)

Prof Torto is the Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), a pan African organisation headquartered in Kenya, which aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.Prof Torto oversees the mandate of AAS with his role covering promoting partnerships, mobilising the scientific African community, leading science advocacy efforts and the use of research in policymaking processes to ensure that science remains at the forefront of the agenda in Africa and is adequately supported to transform the lives of its people.

He is a recipient of several international awards, including the American Chemical Society’s Young Investigators in Separation Science Award, the Award for Collaboration in Analytical Chemistry from the Nigerian Chemical Society, Osuni Chapter and is an internationally recognised speaker. He has also served in various capacities in pan African and international networks andorganisations.

Prof Torto is a qualified and accredited Time to Think Coach as well as Time to Think Facilitator. He is currently enrolled for the Certified Ontological Coaching Programme.He is a Fellow of the following science academies: the Botswana Academy of Sciences, the African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has a PhD in analytical chemistry from Lund University in Sweden, MSc from the University of Botswana and a BSc (Hons) Chemistry from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in the United Kingdom.


By | 2017-12-06T10:50:57+00:00 September 6th, 2017|