A recent report, from the Planet, Prosperity and People (3Ps) project run by the European Commission’s Directorate General on Research and Innovation (DG R&I) , evidences how R&I must contribute to meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The publication, entitled – R&I Contribution to the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – cites TIP research, from a 2018 research brief – Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through Transformative Innovation Policy (Schot; Ramirez et al) – about how the Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) framework can work to alter the embedded systems that hinder the aims of the SDGs. Further, the founding paper to TIPC from Professor Johan Schot and Professor Ed Steinmueller –Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change features.
The European Commission report aims to support the DG R&I in the development of the 3Ps project framework by identifying, rationalising and analysing indicators, that can then be used as metrics in ascertaining the desirable direction towards the SDGs. The publication contributes to consolidating theoretical knowledge by developing a conceptual framework to link SDGs to research and innovation, which then gives the ability to measure empirically the interconnectivity and impact.
From a sustainability transitions perspective, the report evidences the benefits of using this proposed dashboard, to allow different stakeholders, chiefly policymakers, to understand the evolution of certain indicators, to pinpoint appropriate intervention measures and policies; and to analyse the potential pathways for impact in reaching the desired SDGs. The Transformative Innovation Policy methodology informs this.
A recent further paper from the Transformative Innovation Policy team extends the debate. The paper, Mobilizing the Transformative Power of Research for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (Romero. O.Y.G., Ramirez, M. Schot, J.W., Arroyave, Research Policy, December 2022), published in Research Policy, examines evidence and metrics for systemic transformation that follow the aims of the SDGs.
The TIPC authors contribute to the discussion by arguing that it is necessary to move towards a focus on how SDGs are enabling transformative change. A conceptual approach is then presented based on the notion that research should build bridges across the three types of SDGs:
- SDGs that reflect socio-technical system change
- SDGs that give directionality
- SDGs that provide framework conditions.
This proposition is explored empirically through a case study of Mexican scientific knowledge production using methods from bibliometric and social network analysis. The results help to provide a diagnostic of how knowledge production is contributing to the SDGs and can be used in science, technology and innovation policy, in particular TIP.
- Schot, J., Boni, A., Ramirez, M., & Steward, F. (2018). Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through Transformative Innovation Policy. TIPC Research Brief 2018-01.
- Romero. O.Y.G., Ramirez, M. Schot, J.W., Arroyave, F. (December 2022), Mobilizing the Transformative Power of Research for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Research Policy, Volume 51, Issue 10