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Science in the service of the developing world

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Few of the problems of the developing world have been solved or will be solved without the use of science from multiple disciplines, often in ways that are not recognised. Economic development in Asia depended on advances such as the Green Revolution in agricultural production. Prevention and treatment of diseases of poverty depends on a combination of economic development and scientific advance. Identifying the impact of climate change and finding ways to minimise it’s impact on the poorest requires basic as well as applied research. In many areas such as dealing with emerging drug or insecticide resistance we need scientific advances simply to stand still. It is not however solely in identifying developing and testing new products such as drugs, vaccines or plant varietals that success in reducing poverty and the effects of poverty will rest. Scientific investigation of methods of delivery and social and behavioural research will be at least as important; many of the problems of the poorest in the developing world can be tackled with existing technologies which simply are not getting to the right people. The social sciences in areas such as governance are still being developed. Only by using, and sometimes integrating, the outputs from multiple disciplines will those involved in scientific work have the impact that is needed to reduce poverty and the effects of poverty.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange (CUSPE) series.

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