Lancaster Workshop 2012

Crisis, Globalization & Systems Transition

Date: 15-16 October 2012
Location: Lancaster University
Organizer: David Tyfield

Science’ is increasingly tasked with kick-starting the moribund economy, underpinning a new techno-economic paradigm, while also tackling multiple, overlapping global challenges, such as climate change or food security. But the cultural and political role of science and the political economy of its funding are currently in a state of unprecedented upheaval. What science can and does contribute to economic growth and global challenges, however, is not clearly understood; and, conversely, it is clear that the current dominant policy understanding of these relations is inadequate.

In these circumstances, there is an urgent need, both social and academic, for a new and revitalized study of the ‘economics’ of science – or rather, a political economy of research and innovation (PERI). This workshop brings together a number of leading researchers from a wide array of disciplines who are producing a growing body of literature on these issues. The aim is to stimulate discussion across the diverse range of issues relating to this theme and thus build a strong network of researchers in order to establish a high-profile and international programme of PERI research.

The workshop focuses on five substantive issues that are emerging as key, but as yet under-researched, fields of enquiry for a political economy of research and innovation:

  1. Science and neoliberalism (and after?)
  2. The construction of a new ‘knowledge economy’ accumulation regime
  3. Sciences and global challenges
  4. New ‘rising powers’ and the changing economic geography of science
  5. Changing academic disciplines – economics, policy studies, etc…

Workshop Programme


Political Economy and the Bioeconomy

  • Kean Birch (York University, Canada), Financialization of research and innovation? Impact of the 2007+ financial crisis on the UK life sciences
  • Les Levidow & Theo Papaioannou (Open University, UK), Imagining bioeconomies, shaping divergent
  • Alan Petersen & Ivan Krisjansen (Monash University, Australia), Assembling ‘the bio-economy’: exploiting the power of the promissory life sciences


  • Phil Mirowski (Notre Dame University, USA), The biopolitics of biosphere complexity: Neoliberal vs. cyborg markets

Political Economy, Critique and the Social Sciences

  • Keynote: John Holmwood (Nottingham University, UK), Knowledge regimes, public higher education and the future of the social sciences
  • Luigi Pellizzoni (University of Trieste, Italy), Invariance, indefiniteness and emancipation: On the ontological critique of neoliberalized technoscience
  • Andrew Gunn (Leeds University, UK), The evolution of knowledge production policies in England: Exploring the social sciences.

Neoliberalism and Environment

  • Rebecca Lave (Indiana University, USA), Market-based environmental management seeking neoliberal science
  • Sam Randalls (UCL, UK), Neoliberalism and environmental data
  • Larry Reynolds & Bron Szerszynski (Lancaster University, UK), Technology, crisis and transition: The eco-Schumpeterian anxieties of late capitalism


Science & Innovation Policy and the State

  • Keynote: Paul Nightingale (SPRU, Sussex University, UK), How should science be funded? Re-evaluating the role of the state
  • Dimitrios Pontikakis, Lorraine Johnston and Joanne Roberts (OECD/Newcastle Business School, UK), The political economy of innovation: A multi-level perspective
  • Charles Thorpe (UC San Diego, USA), Fordism, the Manhattan Project, and Big Science

After Neoliberalism? Open Science

  • Keynote: James Wilsdon (SPRU, Sussex University, UK), Science as an open enterprise? The multiple interpretations of openness in science & innovation policy
  • David Primrose (Sydney University, Australia), A (neoliberalised) ‘open biotechnology revolution’? Lessons from the Free and Open-Source Software Movement
  • David Tyfield (Lancaster University, UK), Neoliberalism and after: Science, innovation and liberalism 2.0 – the case of ‘clean coal’

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