Science Policy Research Unit
University of Sussex

VIRI Founding Member

With almost 50 years of experience, SPRU is internationally recognised as a leading centre of research on science, technology, and innovation policy. Founded in 1966 by Christopher Freeman, a pioneer of what is now known as innovation studies, SPRU was one of the first interdisciplinary research centres in the field of science and technology policy and management. Today, with over 50 faculty members, SPRU remains at the forefront of new ideas, problem-orientated research, inspiring teaching, and creative, high-impact engagement with decision makers across government, business, and civil society. Our research addresses pressing global policy agendas, including the future of industrial policy, inclusive economic growth, the politics of scientific expertise, energy policy, security issues, entrepreneurship, and pathways to a more sustainable future. We work across a broad range of sectors including food, energy, healthcare, biotechnology, and ICT. We are driven by a desire to tackle real-world questions, whilst also contributing to a deeper theoretical understanding of how innovation is shaping today’s world. With a community of over 140 MSc and doctoral students from all over the world, SPRU is also well known for its high quality, research-led teaching programmes. The multidisciplinary nature of SPRU means that students have access to an extensive range of expertise, whilst also contributing directly to SPRU research as part of their training and development. With its extensive global alumni network among senior science and technology policy makers, SPRU is committed to engagement and generating impact, not only in the dissemination phase, but through the involvement of stakeholders in the framing and conduct of research. Working closely with government departments, think tanks, media, companies, and parliamentary committees, members of SPRU are experienced in disseminating and applying their latest research findings. As we look ahead to our 50th anniversary in 2016, SPRU is embarking on an ambitious, new strategy to expand and build on our track record across research, teaching, impact, and engagement. The strategy will draw on SPRU’s extensive activities to establish a far-reaching research and communication programme with a focus on long-term transformative change. SPRU's involvement in VIRI will be coordinated and facilitated by Professor James Wilsdon and Professor Andy Stirling, both of whom have worked extensively on the governance of science, technology, and innovation.

VIRI Associate Director James Wilsdon is professor of science and democracy in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex in the UK. 


Selected RRI Publications

Stirling, Andrew and Steve Rayner. 2015. "Governing Geoengineering: Lessons, Syndromes, Responses." In Geoengineering our Climate?: Ethics, Politics, and Governance, eds. Jason Blackstock, Clark Miller, and Steve Raynor. ISBN 9781849713740

Cairns, Rose and Andy Stirling.  2014. "'Maintaining Planetary Systems' or 'Concentrating Global Power?' High Stakes in Contending Framings of Climate Geoengineering." Global Environmental Change 28: 25-38. ISSN 0959-3780

Stilgoe, Jack, Simon J. Lock, and James Wilsdon. 2014. "Why Should We Promote Public Engagement with Science?" Public Understanding of Science 23 (1): 4-15. ISSN 0963-6625

Wilsdon, James. 2014. "From Foresight to Hindsight: The Promise of History in Responsible Innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation 1 (1): 109-112. 

Ely, Adrian, Adrian Smith, Andy Stirling, Melissa Leach, and Ian Scoones. 2013. "Innovation Politics Post-Rio+20: Hybrid Pathways to Sustainability?" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31 (6): 1063-1081. ISSN 0263-774X

Recent Sussex RRI News Items


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VIRI is supported by the National Science Foundation under collective agreement #1257246.

VIRI is housed at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University.