Work in Waste: Technology, Infrastructure, Politics

Smita Srinivas and Saku Makinen have been studying the utility of different technology transfer waste processing and absorptive capacity frameworks to see whether Finnish waste technology firms can adapt to waste processing contexts outside of Finland. Former TCLab Program Manager  May Yu recently completed her thesis research studying the complexities of this process in Brazil. In the thesis "Protecting Local Livelihoods in Urban Sustainable Development: Environment-Employment Tradeoffs of Jardim Gramacho in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil", Yu raises some questions for how decentralized industrial issues in waste processing are often left out of the urban and regional planning context. Employment and health concerns make a suitable response urgent, and Yu's research shows us a way forward.

These concerns are shared by Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, India. Chintan has been involved in some important work with informal waste processing workers and the missing “Space for Waste” in spatial planning.

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Countries are unlikely to solve a particular problem unless they have some level of research invested in the effort. The approach in this paper is to use malaria research as a proxy for effective exploitation of local scientific knowledge. We study the malaria-related research output in two countries, Brazil and India, with among the most advanced science and pharmaceutical capabilities in the developing world. We assess local relevance of science and also its integration with international research by looking at almost 60 years of scientific publications on malaria between 1945-2003.

This past three years, TCLab-related research has expanded, especially on the economics of innovation and technological learning in agriculture, the health industry, and in urbanization.

In 2014, TCLab research was presented by TCLab Visiting Fellow Jose Eustaquio Vieira Filho at the Globelics conference on the economics of innovation in Addis Ababa.

In 2015, Srinivas and TCLab Visiting Fellow Filho's early paper was published by IPEA, the Institute for Applied Economics Research

At African Development Week in Dakar, Senegal, Smita Srinivas, spoke to CNBC Africa about the effect of a lack of coordination between urbanisation and industrialisation.

 

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“Scarcity-induced innovations should not be equated with ‘appropriate technologies’ or products of ‘frugal engineering’, ‘reverse engineering’ or other such frameworks.”

Technological innovations can transform the lives of those who are able to take advantage of them. But many children, particularly in developing countries, remain excluded from their benefits. Reorienting innovation towards inclusion begins with recognizing unconventional pathways to innovation

UNICEF SOWC 2015 (Srinivas)