UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.

Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.

Staff books include:

Agar - Government Machine, The spacerAthena Swan Bronze Award


Vanderslott, Samantha

Email: s.vanderslott.12@ucl.ac.uk

The Problem with Innovation: Exploring the Role of Innovation in Policy Problems through the Case of Neglected Tropical Diseases

I am a second year PhD candidate in the Science and Technology Studies department at UCL.  My research interests focus on the role of innovation in defining or framing policy problems and the ways in which this affects proposed solutions.  The concept of innovation in relation to policy is often positioned in the simplistic terms of solutionism, technological fix or panacea, however this is rarely the case.  Innovation is political, ideological and contentious.  

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as a global public health issue that has risen in prominence in recent years demonstrates this and I am developing case studies to chart this rise.  These diseases of poverty affect low income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, although it is has been in the so-called 'innovative developing countries' (including Brazil, India and China) that have seen new policy directions and political motivations to address NTDs.  Ideas of innovation are being adapted to suit country needs. 

Through a historical policy analysis and qualitative fieldwork interviews I aim to:

1) Understand the strategies employed to tackle NTDs and how this is informed by the problem characterisation and shaped by various innovation actors from pharma companies to government research institutes.  It is a coproduction of the social problem of neglected diseases alongside innovation models deemed to tackle them.  

2) Explore in particular the market failure justification for innovation policy intervention and the tension between market and society, as we see in the discourse surrounding open approaches to innovation and intellectual property rights.  

My background is in economics, having studied Economics and International Development at the University of Bath followed by an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford, where I began to focus on the political economy of innovation. After this I also spent three years in the public sector working at the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, specialising in entrepreneurship and venture capital policy.

Sam Vanderslott image

Page last modified on 27 mar 14 16:18 by Alasdair Tatam

UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
0207 679 1328 office | +44 207 679 1328 international
sts@ucl.ac.uk | www.ucl.ac.uk/sts | @stsucl
postal address:  Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom
street address: 22 Gordon Square, London, WC1E 6BT | maps