News & events


How do we make the tools of economics and innovation studies suitable and instrumental to development?

24 January 2018
12:30 - 15:30

Opening address:
Director-General Dr Phil Mjwara, Department of Science and Technology

José E. Cassiolato, Secretary General, Globelics; Co-coordinator of RedeSist, and Professor of Innovation Studies, Institute of Economics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Helena M. M. Lastres, Co-coordinator of the Research Network for Local Systems of Innovation and Production, RedeSist, Institute of Economics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

DATE: 24 January 2018  TIME: 12:15 for 12:30 – 15:50
Venues in Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, PE and Sweetwaters

The lecture aims to address a critical question raised in a tribute to the research contribution of Jo Lorentzen: why are we not reaching our aim of making the tools, perspectives and methodologies of economics and innovation studies relevant to poor people in developing countries?
Reflecting on research and policy experiences in Brazil, and across Latin America, the lecture will explore five main elements:

  1. Despite the advances in the understanding of innovation – as a cumulative, contextualized and systemic process – most research and policy frameworks have not been entirely capable of assimilating these.
  2. The de-contextualization of theories, indicators and methodologies usually leads to invisibilities, exclusions and distortions. These negative consequences are even stronger in the case of peripheral countries and regions.
  3. Production and innovation efforts are not limited to economic development, nor to the activities of particular companies, sectors and regions.
  4. The increasing globalization, financialization and recurrent financial crises pose new challenges to the economy, and especially the production and innovation structure of different countries and territories.
  5. The role of the State and its agencies in overcoming the lack of coordination, continuity and adherence of innovation and production policies.

The lecture will conclude with a discussion of the opportunities, and urgent need to choose and use theories, concepts, indicators and policy models that:

  • Recognize and mobilize national and local potentialities and capabilities
  • Associate the inseparable dimensions of development and contribute to overcome invisibilities and exclusions and reduce inequalities
  • Emphasize the capacity to acquire and use all sorts of knowledge – formal, informal, traditional, scientific etc. – and to promote their integration
  • Are really capable of fostering cohesive and sustainable development, within a contextualized and collective vision for the future

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact : Jo-Anne Chauvet or Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:

Cape Town: HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street Cape Town, Cape Town. Contact: Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004 or or Carmen August at

  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

Old Bus Depot, Mbubu Road, Sweetwaters Tel: 033-324 5000

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

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