The science races are on. After decades of relative neglect, science and technology are again seen as vital tools for international development. Governments, companies and philanthropists are racing to help poor people benefit from research and development in rich countries. But the two races that generate most excitement - the race to global economic success and the race to find a universal fix for the problems of developing countries - raise some difficult questions. Where will they take people? How will they maintain their momentum? Who will win the prizes and who will be left behind?
This pamphlet explores the pros and cons of these two races and argues that we need a third – a (slow) race to make investment in science and technology work for the poor. We need to start seeing citizens as contributors to the success of technology. We need to work towards ensuring that their voices our heard. This means innovation along trajectories that respond to local needs. It means regulation that is attuned to local concerns. And it means putting citizens at the heart of our view of development. We need to start a slow race to citizens’ solutions.