851-0589-00L  Technology and Innovation for Development

SemesterAutumn Semester 2019
LecturersP. Aerni
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractTechnological change plays a crucial role in efforts to create a more sustainable future. In this context, policy decision makers must design rules that minimize its risks and maximize its benefits for society at large. The course discusses this challenge from an interdisciplinary perspective taking into account legal, economic, historical, development and environmental aspects..
Objective- to recognize the challenges and opportunities of technological change in terms of sustainable development
- to become familiar with policy instruments to promote innovation
- to improve understanding of political decision-making processes in the regulation of science & technology
- improved understanding of the role of science and technology in the context of human and societal development
ContentScience and Technology Policy is normally associated with the improvement of national competitiveness; yet, it is also an integral part of effective environmental and development policies.
The course will discuss the challenges and opportunities of technological change in terms of sustainable development and show how public policy on the national and the international level is responding to this change.

In this context, students are to become familiar with the basic principles of political economy and New Growth Theory and how such theories help explain political decisions as well as political outcomes in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation. State interventions are either designed to regulate (e.g. environmental regulations, anti-trust law) or facilitate (e.g. intellectual property rights protection, public investment in R&D and technical education, technology transfer) technological change. This will be illustrated by looking at different industries and different national systems of innovation. Subsequently the positive and negative consequences for society and the natural environment will be discussed from a short-term and a long-term perspective.
Lecture notesReader with issue-specific articles. E-version is partly available under
LiteratureAerni, P. 2017. ‘Principled Embeddedness’: How Foreign Direct Investment May Contribute To Inclusive And Sustainable Growth In Developing Economies. ATDF Journal 9(1/2), 3-19
Aerni, P. 2016a. Coping with Migration-Induced Urban Growth: Addressing the Blind Spot of UN Habitat. Sustainability 8(800), doi:10.3390/su8080800
Aerni, P. 2016b. The importance of public-private partnerships in the provision of global public goods. An academic view. In: Swiss Investment for a Better World, Swiss Sustainable Finance.
Aerni, P., Gagalac, F., Scholderer, J. 2016. The role of biotechnology in combating climate change: A question of politics. Science and Public Policy (43): 13–28.
Aerni, P. 2015a. Entrepreneurial Rights as Human Rights. Banson, Cambridge (June 2015) (available online: http://www.ourplanet.com/rights/index.php)
Aerni, P. 2015b. The Sustainable Provision of Environmental Services: From Regulation to Innovation. Springer, Heidelberg.
Aerni, P. 2013. Resistance to agricultural biotechnology: the importance of distinguishing between weak and strong public attitudes. Biotechnology Journal 8 (10): 1129–1132.
Aerni, Philipp. 2007. Exploring the Linkages between Commerce, Higher Education and Human Development: A Historical Review. ATDF Journal 4(2): 35-47.
Aerni, Philipp. 2004. Risk, Regulation and Innovation: The Case of Aquaculture and Transgenic Fish. Aquatic Sciences 66: 327-341.
Arthur, Brian. 2009. The Nature of Technology. New York: Free Press.
Carr, N. 2008. The Big Switch. Rewiring the World from Edison to Google. W. W. Norton & Company, New York.
Desai. M. (2003) Public Goods: A Historical Perspective. In Kaul, I., Conceicao, P., Le Goulven, K. and Mendoza, R.U. eds., 2003. Providing global public goods: managing globalization. Oxford University Press.
Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs and Steel. New York: Norton.
Fraiberg, S. 2017. Start-up nation: Studying transnational entrepreneurial practices in Israel’s start-up ecosystem. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(3), 350-388.
Hahn, R. W. and Sunstein, C. 2005. The Precautionary Principle as a Basis for Decision Making. The Economist’s Voice 2(2): 1-9
Heal, J.. 1999. New Strategies for the Provision of Global Public Goods. In: Kaul, Inge, Grunberg, Isabelle, and Marc A. Stern (eds) Global Public Goods. International Cooperation in the 21th century. Published for the United Nations Development Program. New York, Oxford University Press: 220-239
Hidalgo, C. 2015. When information grows. Basic Books.
Jacobs, J. 1969. The Economy of Cities. Vintage Books.
Kaplan, R. S., Serafeim, G., Tugendhat, E. (2018). Inclusive Growth: Profitable Strategies for Tackling Poverty and Inequality. Harvard Business Review, 96(1), 127-133.
Malakoff, D. 2011. Are More People Necessarily a Problem? Science 29 (333): 544-546
Malerba, Franco, and Luigi Orsenigo. 2015 The evolution of the pharmaceutical industry. Business History 57.5 (2015): 664-687.
Mazzucato, M. (2016). From market fixing to market-creating: a new framework for innovation policy. Industry and Innovation, 23(2), 140-156.
Mokyr, J. (2016). A culture of growth: the origins of the modern economy. Princeton University Press.
Roa, C., Hamilton, R.S., Wenzl, P. and Powell, W., 2016. Plant Genetic Resources: Needs, Rights, and Opportunities. Trends in Plant Science, 21(8), pp.633-636.
Romer, Paul. 1994. New Goods, Old Theory and the Welfare Costs of Trade Restrictions. Journal of Development Economics 43 (1): 5-38.
Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York, Harper Collins Publishers.
The Economist. 2014. Biodiversity Report. September, 2013: 1-14
Wang, F. & Matsuoka, M. (2018) A new green revolution on the horizon. Nature Magazine 360: 563-4.
Ziegler, N., Gassmann, O. and Friesike, S. 2014. Why do firms give away their patents for free? World Patent Information 37: 19–25
Prerequisites / NoticeThe 2-hour course (5-7 p.m.) will be held as a series of lectures. The course materials will be available in form of an electronic Reader at the beginning of the semester.
The class will be taught in English.
Students will be asked to make a contribution in class choosing one out of three options:
(a) presentation in class (15 Minutes) based on a paper to be discussed on a particular day in class
(b) review paper based on a selected publication in the course material
(c) preparation of questions for a selected invited speaker, and subsequent submission of protocol about the content of the talk and the discussion

In addition, they will have to pass a written test at the end of the course in order to obtain 3 credit points in the ECTS System. In the final mark (a) will have a weight of 40% and (b) 60%.