Commentary

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EDITORIALS, BLOGS, BOOK REVIEWS

The power missing from Africa’s biotech sector

Energy is hardly ever the focus of debates over how to boost the continent’s S&T capacity. Maybe it should be. (SciDev.Net, 05.04.17)

India awards inclusive brand of innovation

Festival hosted by president’s office signals recognition of a decentralised innovation powered by the grassroots. (SciDev.Net, 09.03.17)

Back to the future

An epidemiologist takes a long view of our fraught relationship with the environment. (Science, 27.01.17. Also posted as blog with open access)

Give the public the tools to trust scientists

Anita Makri argues that the form of science communicated in popular media leaves the public vulnerable to false certainty. (Nature, 17.01.17)

Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic

I’m sure that to readers of this blog the Ebola epidemic that devastated West Africa a couple of years ago needs no introduction… (Oxfam blogs: From Poverty to Power, 11.10.16. Reposted in LSE Review of Books and The World Bank blog People, Spaces, Deliberation)

Tool targets fairness deficit in research

There is cautious support for initiative that looks to compliance to promote a level playing field among partners. (SciDev.Net, 03.10.2016)

Cancer in poor countries: Too big to tackle?

Governments face an uphill battle to control cancer. Simple messages and basic capabilities can help. (SciDev.Net, 22.09.16)

Can tech tip the balance towards peace?

Programmes to counter conflict are enlisting digital tools. There are successes, and questions over lasting impact. (SciDev.Net, 13.07.16)

Medical charity responds to mental toll of conflict

Médicins Sans Frontières is evolving its approach to psychological care for people exposed to violence. (SciDev.Net, 24.05.16)

Innovation needs the right partners to have impact

Development and innovation are equally vital — but how can the gap between the two be bridged? (SciDev.Net, 10.05.16)

What the refugee crisis tells us about journalism

The sector’s digital shake-up is making us think differently about reporting and its role in social change. (SciDevNet, 03.05.16)

Mental healthcare is getting imaginative

Specialists struggle with poor resources and social barriers. But they’re being creative to get people proper care. (SciDev.Net, 16.03.16)

DFID makes the right noises over Ebola lessons

Government is committed to learn from disaster, but there are niggling questions over how this works in practice. (SciDev.Net, 14.03.16)

Invisible workers need recognition

The world has a choice: include informal workers in development plans or leave them to struggle on. (SciDev.Net, 02.03.16)

Editor’s picks: Opinions and special features in 2015

Read about the ten pieces that did most to challenge and reflect on the most relevant global issues this year. (SciDev.Net, 28.12.15)

What will it take to meet global housing needs?

Disaster zones and cities fuel the crisis. They are also hotbeds for knowledge and innovations to break through it. (SciDev.Net, 24.11.15)

Film dares to show health in the real world

Film and journalists can uniquely reveal the drama and complexity of ensuring health breakthroughs reach the poor. (SciDev.Net, 16.11.15)

COP vs POC: Innovation under the radar of climate talks

A world of grassroots creativity hums away, far from the world of policy — and it should probably stay that way. (SciDev.Net, 30.10.15)

Climate action: Global policy is not enough

It’s down to local action to integrate climate change, development and disaster work, project by project. (SciDev.Net, 14.10.15)

How to plan for the next health crisis

Being ‘nimble’ in thinking and action is the best way to prepare for crisis in the face of uncertainty. (SciDev.Net, 01.10.15)

The value of first-hand experience and field work

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a day in the field a thousand days spent reading about those issues. (SciDev.Net, 17.08.15)

Firms and indigenous people can be partners

A case of commercialising a South African plant shows one way to work together and add value to natural resources. (SciDev.Net, 06.07.15)

Is big data the gold dust of medical aid?

An argument for the lifesaving potential of mobile phone data fails to factor in ‘ground truths’ from health crises. (SciDev.Net, 12.05.15)

Ebola exposes weak links in outbreak response

People in a crisis need a system that can receive knowledge from the ground as well as give science-based guidance. (SciDev.Net, 29.04.15)

Talking openly about women and gender

Gender is a complex issue to navigate. Simply put, women and men should neither be limited nor defined by gender. (SciDev.Net, 03.03.15)

Lessons from the social response to Ebola

Post-Ebola public health reforms will miss a trick if they ignore insights from anthropology and local learning. (SciDev.Net, 10.02.15)

Climate action stands at a crossroads in Lima

This year’s COP negotiations should be judged by countries’ support for adaptation as much as mitigation. (SciDev.Net, 10.12.14)

How to avoid drowning in a sea of climate data

A new initiative enlists ‘twenty-first century librarians’ to turn unruly masses of data into knowledge for action. (SciDev.Net, 04.12.2014)

What to expect from the COP20 climate summit

The UN meeting offers a glimpse into complex climate change debates that normally go on behind closed doors. (SciDev.Net, 01.12.2014)

Urban sustainability starts by bridging divides

Integrating tech and planning, urban with rural and formal with informal development can help transform cities. (SciDev.Net, 19.11.14)

Urban sustainability research with a local flavour

A challenge to one of India’s planning initiatives stands out in a melange of studies on sustainable cities. (SciDev.Net, 26.09.2014)

Ebola response: The real measure of success

Responding to the outbreak shouldn’t just be about stopping its spread, but also about heeding the warning sign. (SciDev.Net, 19.08.14)

Calls for change in Africa’s higher education

The ‘how’ might be contested but there’s agreement on one thing: universities need reform to help drive development. (SciDev.Net, 25.06.14)

Technology’s part in the tale of Rwanda’s child soldiers

Reflections on a first-hand account of children used in war shows how humanity and technology shape one another. (SciDev.Net, 16.06.14)

Big data: Excitement tempered by a dose of reality

The world’s digital leftovers will keep growing, tempting our ingenuity. Will they do more good than harm? (SciDev.Net, 15.04.2014)

Research without fixed boundaries

Interdisciplinary research starts by questioning basic, ingrained ideas. This should remain a guiding principle. (SciDev.Net, 17.02.2014)

Complexity science meets bottom-up development

Systems models may offer realistic solutions for development, a workshop hears. But what about the building blocks? (SciDev.Net, 11.02.2014)

Food security demands diversity

The challenge calls for divergent solutions — small-scale, tech-based initiatives as much as long-term research. (SciDev.Net, 21.11.2013)

Investing in people and evidence for sustainable farming

Evaluation of farming systems, new ideas and learning with practitioners should be part of a transformed agriculture. (SciDev.Net, 16.10.2013)

Cultivating a voice outside academia has tangible benefits

Evidence of impact for SciDev.Net’s opinion articles shows what researchers stand to gain from improving communication skills. (SciDev.Net, 23.09.2013)

Science and NGO practice are closer than they appear

Recognising common ground is the first step towards concrete ways of enhancing the work of both scientists and development practitioners. (SciDev.Net, 19.04.2013)

Adapting to the realities of getting science into policy

Messages about the workings of policymaking should be easier to come by, and can inform how scientific evidence is presented. (SciDev.Net, 25.01.2013)

It’s not too soon for plans to monitor new development goals

The next set of development goals should be underpinned by plans to measure progress and results — and to boost data infrastructures. (SciDev.Net, 25.01.2013)

Using disaster warning tools to their best potential

Stronger links between scientific tools and the environment in which they operate can improve the effectiveness of early warning. (SciDev.Net, 21.11.2012)

Embrace complexity but not jargon

In advocating that science writers should not shun scientific jargon, Trevor Quirk proposes the wrong means to the right end for improving science communication. (Nature, 30.08.2012)

Scientific disciplines must link up to serve development

A greater commitment to multidisciplinary research, and to local problem solving, is essential to achieving future development goals. (SciDev.Net, 13.08.2012)

Managing oceans with sound science

Management of marine resources for sustainable development needs local capacity for science, particularly in the Pacific region. (SciDev.Net, 15.02.2012)

Tackling fake drugs needs technology and collaboration

Developing countries must be given all the scientific, technical and legal help they need to counter the growing trade in fake medicines. (SciDev.Net, 30.03.2011)