Dr Bipashyee Ghosh is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Transformative Innovation Policy and Development within the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP).
How long have you been at STEaPP? What does your role involve?
I have been in STEaPP for one and half years. I am a Lecturer on the MPA programme, where I have taught and co-convened the Development, Technology and Innovation policy module. I have also ran a series of integrative workshops for the entire MPA cohort 2022-2023.
What drew you to STEaPP and UCL?
What drew me to STEaPP is it's interdisciplinarity. I am drawn to research and teaching at the interface of science, technology, engineering and public policy. STEaPP are one of a few institutes in the world where academic work is at this interface. I found several colleagues working in research areas that I am interested in. I felt that I belong here, from day one.
The fact that the department sits within the Faculty of Engineering is also extremely intriguing to me. After working here for more than a year, I appreciate STEaPP’s interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to teaching, research and policy impact even further. Finally, I am extremely proud to be part of an institute which was established with visions of openness, inclusivity and universal access to education, back in 1826.
How does your research feed into your teaching (and vice versa)?
My research is on understanding and enabling societal change through innovation and public policy. I work with theories of transition, transformation and innovation policy. Empirically I am interested in urban regions as well as policy at different levels and scales in the Global South. At STEaPP, I taught on the module “Development, Technology and Innovation Policy”, where I had the opportunity to introduce stories of innovation, transformation and policymaking in development context as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The design of the two workshops were also based on my research on innovation, experimentation, sustainability and futures. I brought to the class and these workshops the latest research on these topics, yet, I gained further knowledge from my students, who brought amazing practical, professional and personal experiences to the teaching and learning environment.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by positive actions in society, both large and small scale, for wellbeing of people and nature. Amidst all challenges of climate crisis, economic crisis and social injustices, the stories of kindness, enthusiastic and bold actions towards sustainable and just world, is what keeps me going. I am deeply inspired by the creative thinking and problem-solving skills and attitudes of scientists and engineers at UCL and globally; as well as the impactful work done by civil society, policy organisations, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and impact investors. In spite of all concerns and frustrations, innovative experiments at the grassroots level, mutual care and collective intelligence are what I believe will make all the difference in the world.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I still remember the day I received my doctorate. A PhD in Science and Technology Policy from a world class innovation research institute such as SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) is one of the best achievements one can hope for. It may be a minimum qualification in academia, but it is an achievement to be proud of, as it demands many sacrifices. That journey gave me confidence to embark on many further new journeys.
I also proud of the networks I built throughout my professional life so far. Research with real world impact isn’t possible without collaborations, teamwork and mutual trust. I am proud of the work towards finding allies in our collective fight against the global crisis; creating and maintaining partnerships with colleagues and organisations internationally.
Who influenced you?
This will be long list of teachers, mentors, supervisors and colleagues who taught me not only what to think, but how to think. Several of them inspired me to zoom out to think big and others showed me how zoom in to think deep. They gave me time and honest, often critical advice throughout my career trajectory. I won’t name anyone, except my parents – the two most influential people in my life, who taught me to be curious, creative and kind.
If you could give one piece of advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
I would say a few things that I learnt over the years. I would say - when one door closes, another opens. Don’t get disheartened by failures, they are part of life. I would say - fail faster and learn.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Make friends. Some of them will be the closest people you will have for the rest of your life. Be kind to your friends and to yourself.
What three words would you use to describe STEaPP?
Impactful, inclusive, vibrant.