Researchers have identified key challenges they term as the “Six Grand Challenges,” that the world has encountered following the advent of the 21st Century.
The challenges are categorised as “health, demographic change and human well-being; food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; secure, clean and efficient energy; smart, green and integrated transport; climate action, resources efficiency and raw materials; and inclusive, innovative and secure societies.”
Leading international researchers are of the view that to ensure human-wellbeing, these challenges should be tackled through scientific excellence, industrial leadership and the development of national innovative systems.
To this end, the GLOBELICS International Conference, was initiated to bring together academicians and other stakeholders with shared interest in innovation.
The purpose was to dialogue and generate knowledge based innovations in scientific and technological applications to enhance socioeconomic activities central to national and international development.
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What is GLOBELICS?
This is the Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems.
It is a worldwide network of open and diverse community of scholars working on innovation and competence building in the context of economic development.
GLOBELICS seeks to contribute to academic knowledge creation and exchange in the field of innovation and development.
It further seeks to improve research quality on innovation and development that translates into knowledge infrastructure in developing economies.
Globelics was founded in 2001 by Christopher Freeman and Richard Nelson and in 2003 the first conference was organized by the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Networking is a core activity of GLOBELICS. Through its network of scholars and other stakeholders, GLOBELICS ensures there is proper scientific and social uptake of research in the field of innovations studies into policy and practice among governments and policy makers worldwide.
The broad activities of GLOBELICS target young scholars providing them with opportunities including annual PhD courses and visiting fellowship programmes.
Since its inception in 2003, 15 sessions of the Annual GLOBELICS International Conference have been organized worldwide.
The last meeting was held in Athens, Greece in 2017.
The annual meetings have helped build the capacity of scholars in establishing co-operative projects and improved their ability to engage in policy making activities.
Ghana and 16th GLOBELICS Conference
This year, Ghana is hosting the 16th GLOBELICS International Conference from the 24th – 26th of October, under the auspices of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
About 300 participants are expected to attend the conference, to dialogue and reflect on the contribution of innovation to economic development and societal wellbeing.
The theme for the 16th GLOBELICS International Conference is “Innovation, Economic Growth and Sustainable Development: Strengthening Institutions for Greater Relevance, Effectiveness and Inclusivity”.
Papers will be presented on topics including: “Science, technology, innovation and the sustainable development goals,” “Policy and Practice, Agricultural innovation systems,” “Addressing the poverty challenge, Trade, FDI, value chains and innovation networks.”
As part of the main conference event, a special session on the Sustainable Development Goals will be organised to highlight the need for substantial investment from governments to build capacity, enhance infrastructure, evolve new regulation if need be to foster the attainment of these goals.
Additionally, Prof. Shyama Ramani and Dr. Sanae Okomoto of the United Nations University- MERIT will organize a panel discussion on: “Nudging for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to explore how behavioural change can be integrated in policy designs.”
The conference papers will seek to address the role of different types of actors in innovation, building capacity and strengthening institutions for sustainable development and inclusive growth.
The Innovative System in Ghana
Even though, successive governments have stressed the need for a strong national Innovation system, the current National Innovation system is a not strong one. This situation could be blamed on the lack of an implementation plan under the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (NSTIP) to facilitate the realization of the policy.
Moreover, innovation has not been the focus of the nation’s science, technology and innovation agenda.
Despite the challenges, CSIR through its Institutes, have in the last three decades, led several innovations in the field of agriculture, water and soil resources. The Crop Research Institute has developed improved varieties of maize, cassava and several other crops.
The Universities are also improving their relations with industries for the use of their innovations. The University of Ghana (UG) for example, has established the Institute for Applied Science and Technology (IAST).
However, all forms of innovations are needed to find lasting solutions to the nation’s challenges such as inequality, corruption, the environmental degradation associated with both illegal mining or galamsey and other forms of mining, poor sanitation management, food insecurity, among other issues.
As the host of the 16th GLOBELICS Conference, Ghana will benefit from networking opportunities with leading scholars and institutions that will augment development in innovation and competence building for the nation.
The main output of the conference is expected to complement or give alternative strategies and options for Government’s flagship programmes.
Dr. Harris Andoh is a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) expert at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute- CSIR, Accra. He holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the Stellenbosch University, South Africa.