World Water: Case Studies in Research as a Redistributive Force in the Knowledge Society

Project Investigator: 
Susan Cozzens
Sponsor: 
NSF Award No. 0551777
Focal Technologies: 
Core Competencies: 

This project, funded by the Science and Society Program, seeks to address the question of how science and technology policies play a role in improving the quality or reducing the cost for a basic service. If such research for development is successful, it can lower costs and increase quality of life and can build technical capacity in developing countries, leaving them better prepared for endogenous innovation in the future. To explore how research for development lives up to these possibilities, this research studies the effect o international research efforts on an important development-related area, water supply and sanitation. The study examines case studies in Africa and Latin America. With help from an interdisciplinary advisory panel, the project examines case studies of water supply and sanitation projects that are using research results to help solve the problems of water supply and sanitation in developing countries. It will compare those projects with a preliminary model of effective international problem-oriented research programs, on dimensions of participation, effects, capacity, and public-private relationships. Potential users for the research results will be involved at the beginning, middle, and end of the project, to increase the impact of its results on international development practice. In order to build capacity in developing countries for innovation studies, several graduate students in Public Policy from developing countries will be employed in gathering case study data and the project will involve policy researchers from the case study regions. This award is co-funded by the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering, and by the NSF Environmental Engineering and Technology Program in the Bioengineering and Environmental Systems Division.