TIPC joins forces with Panama’s Innovation Agency to help Drive Sustainability & Social Justice


This month sees the start of an exciting new partnership for the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium with the national secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Panama – SENACYT and Ciudad Del Saber, a Panamanian innovation network and hub that combines entrepreneurs, scientists, thinkers, artists, community leaders, as well as policymakers, NGOs, and international organizations, all working together to develop initiatives and outcomes that create social and environmental benefit.

SENACYT’s 2019 strategy paper, entitled “Towards a Transformation of Panama” (“Hacia La Transformación De Panamá”), is seeking to build capabilities and experience for policymakers and practitioners to experiment with Transformative Innovation Policy methodologies. The objective is to orientate STI policies towards improving societal and environmental outcomes in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project will revolve around strengthening local capacity and understanding of the TIP methodology to tailor and apply the methods to Panama’s innovation policy.


The TIP programme of engagement, delivered by TIPC researchers from the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex Business School, led by Dr Matias Ramirez, will introduce:

  • The new ‘third’ framing of innovation and how this relates to STI policy in the Global South
  • How TIP differs in its assumptions and aims to ‘Frame 1 and 2’ innovation thinking
  • Mechanisms for transformative change through experimentation
  • How to conduct the TIP approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning and how it benefits projects to reach transformative outcomes

The bespoke programme involves capability-building sessions that then feature a further follow-on session to explore context-specific queries and discussions. The project will explore the rationale, practice, and feasibility of applying a TIP approach to in-country programmes.  Dr. Ramirez offers also the perspectives and experiences of the TIP Latin America Hub, which he leads, which involves innovation actors from the wider region in Colombia, Chile and Mexico.

Dr. Ramirez said:

“Transformative Innovation Policy offers a different approach to innovation and innovation policy in the global south that distances itself from previous approaches such as “catch-up” and crude practices of “technology transfer”. It embraces the uniqueness of different spaces; it invites a deep questioning of current system rules and provides tools for development of new pathways of development. I and my colleagues look forward to working with SENACYT, and others actors from the Panama innovation system, to try and address their challenges in ways that are sustainable for the environment and social justice.”    

SPRU action-research academics will work jointly with SENACYT, and other Panama actors in a co-creation process using the Transformative Innovation Policy lens. The approach will build upon and draw insights from work conducted within TIPC, across its international members over the Consortium’s six-year history.  In particular, the TIP monitoring, evaluation and learning approach, termed ‘formative evaluation’, developed by INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) from the University of Valencia will be examined.  Further the programme will focus on the transformative outcomes developed as part of the TIPC work on policy experimentation, by Paula Kivimaa, Bipashyee Gosh (University of Sussex, SPRU), Jonas Torrens (Utrecht University) and Johan Schot (Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges).

Results derived from the Panama in-country work will feed back into the core TIPC programme where learnings will be shared across other TIPC members and associates to enrich and deepen the global knowledge infrastructure on TIP implementation and outcomes. Simultaneously, core findings from other projects will feed into the Panama work, creating a continuous cross-project learning and implementation cycle. Findings and results will be presented and debated at TIPC trainings, conferences and engagement weeks.

This TIP Panama project gives a transformative reflexive layer to the country’s science, technology, and innovation activities for the 21st century to help steer towards social and environmental system change for transformation.