Science, Technology and Innovation for Poverty Reduction

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the Institute of Physics, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) held a joint seminar on 9 December 2009 to discuss how new developments in science and technology can be used to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Science, Technology and Innovation for Poverty Reduction

More than one third of the world’s population lacks the resources and information to meet basic human needs such as adequate food, clean drinking water, sanitation, good health provision, shelter and education. Science, technology and innovation can play a crucial role in alleviating poverty. They have led to a wide array of developments, from boosting agricultural productivity to providing the means to generate energy cheaply. Developments in science and technology can make a significant contribution to meeting the key commitments of the eight Millennium Development Goals that United Nations (UN) members and international aid organisations agreed to achieve by 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty and child mortality rates, fighting disease and creating a global partnership for development.

The seminar showcased a range of projects designed to benefit people in the poorest parts of the world, particularly those living in rural areas. These included technologies to provide clean water, electricity, disease control and mobile communications. The speakers also explored financial, social and cultural factors affecting the uptake of new technologies in developing countries.