Assistant news editor, SciDev.Net
This week (29–31 May) I will be attending the 2012 Tech4Dev International Conference, entitled ‘Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?’
The last Tech4Dev conference, held in February 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland, looked at the broad question of how technological innovation can help the developing world.
Now, more than two years later, researchers and practitioners from around the globe are gathering on the shores of Lake Geneva once more to take this question to a more concrete level and explore how they can best work together to alleviate the needs of the poor through the direct application of technology.
According to the Cooperation and Development Center (CODEV) — a UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development, and conference host — scientific research “remains often too detached from reality, particularly in developing and emerging countries. Thus, the challenge is to link scientific research and development practices in order to develop a win-win situation in which science and technologies can assist practitioners as well as reply to social needs”.
All well and good — but how to address such a formidable challenge?
Tech4Dev 2012 aims to do so by encouraging participants to share their experiences in four areas: defining “appropriate” technologies that respond to social needs and realities; establishing cross-disciplinary partnerships; and improving technology transfer and supporting the co-creation of technologies.
At the end of what I hope will be three days of inspiring lessons from the field and lively debate, a statement will be published identifying ten gaps and needs for field applications to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and practitioners.
I will be bringing you daily blog posts on the latest research being presented and discussions emerging from sessions such as ‘Research that Considers the Real Needs of the Forgotten Poor’, a cause particularly close to my heart.
Here’s hoping that Tech4Dev 2012 paves the way for new ideas, new partnerships — and new technologies that reach, and benefit, those who most need them.
This blog post is part of our 2012 Tech4Dev International Conference coverage.