29 June 2007, Auditorium Maximum, ETH Zurich
The diffusion of technological innovations and the implementation of scientifically based policy recommendations often is a complicated and time-consuming process. Research has long time horizons, yet policy-makers need fast results to guide their decisions. Before research results can be implemented on the ground, they often have to pass through a chain of intermediary steps and institutions. New knowledge must be disseminated, adapted to field conditions, and embedded in social contexts. It is hardly possible to predict how scientific progress changes the real world, and in hindsight it is often difficult to link applied technologies and policies to their intellectual roots and the discourse from which they emerged.
The inaugural conference of the North-South Centre of the ETH Zurich was devoted to this topic. Scientists, policy makers and members of the public administration presented and discussed insights on how scientific innovations find their way from the lab or research desk to practitioners and policy makers.
The ETH Zurich has a longstanding tradition in North-South engagement. Among others, the Swiss Centre for International Agriculture (ZIL) and the Network for International Development and Cooperation (NIDECO) have been actively promoting research for development at the ETH Zurich in the past. In order to pool the available resources and to benefit from synergies, the mentioned institutions have agreed to merge into the North-South Centre of the ETH Zurich. This Centre of Competence will be the main contact point for North-South related matters in favour of globally accessible knowledge for sustainable development at the ETH Zurich.
The North-South Centre aims at promoting research and education in the field of international development and cooperation. It facilitates collaboration with relevant institutions in developing countries, countries in transition and Switzerland in the technical, natural, human and social sciences.
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