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Rising Powers II

Rising Powers

ESRC Rising Powers II

'State strategies of governance in global biomedical innovation: the impact of China and India'

Funder: UK Economic & Social Research Council
Timeline: April 2012-June 2015
Investigators: B Salter and A Faulkner at King's College London

Innovation in biomedicine is a global enterprise with an increasingly important contribution being made by the Rising Powers, especially China and India. The crucial importance accorded to biomedicine amongst the core contemporary concerns of the Rising Power governments as well as that of the UK cannot be doubted. Emerging innovations in biomedicine internationally hold the promise of significant impact on global public health, healthcare systems and economic restructuring. However, the policy directions and institutional configurations for fully exploiting the scientific and innovation efforts on the global stage are currently unclear and unstable. National and international innovation in biomedicine challenges conventional modes of governance, including industry structures, sector organisation, and geographical locations.

As governments search for ways of fostering innovation, so they are obliged to recognise that governance intervention at the level of the individual state is but one component in the political equation that needs to be matched by policies that deal with the international character of biomedical innovation. The complexity of biomedical innovation is a product not only of the global character of the governance domains in question but also of its opaque nature. For novel fields of biomedicine, the knowledge production process from the basic science, through clinical experimentation and trials, to the therapeutic product is long, arduous and uncertain. At all stages in that process, there exists a potential triangle of tensions between science, society and the market: the science may prove to be inadequate, society unsympathetic or the market uninterested. In terms of our understanding of this process, there is at present no single area of social science that can lay exclusive claim to the analysis of the governance problem faced by states concerned with the promotion of biomedical innovation.

Given this context and challenge, the aim of the project is to examine the nature and impact of the China and India strategies on the governance of biomedical innovation at national, regional and global levels and the implications for UK policy. Medical biotechnology is a government priority in the UK which claims a world-leading position in several sectors. Policy priorities and the design of the present research were debated in a high-level workshop with UK policy makers who endorsed the research. Two priority fields of medical biotechnology are investigated, each focused around two case studies of substantive biomedical/economic activity: Regenerative Medicine (Stem cell research; Tissue-engineered wound care); and Stratified/Personalised Medicine (Bioinformatics; Pharmacogenomics). These areas of scientific research and development of products promise to revolutionise healthcare globally and respond to major public health needs. The 'Rising Powers', especially China and India, are becoming increasingly influential in these fields, and national governments, regulators, scientific institutions, industry actors and other stakeholders are moving to develop new strategies to maintain and improve their positions in the global biomedical economy. At the same time, the increasing use of 'bio' science and technology and the development of complex biosocial databases and human cell banks ('biobanks') for therapeutic exploitation raise a host of ethical, social and legal issues which different societies approach in very different ways.

The research draws together concepts from disciplines of political science, innovation studies, and sociology of biomedicine and healthcare to provide a new evidence base of these emerging developments. Building on the platform of our previous ESRC Rising Powers Network project, the research analyses relations between India, China and the UK in the global context of US, EU and South East Asian scientific and economic influence. Focusing on the four case studies, the research will:
1. Describe the primary components and directions of China and India's biomedical innovation policies, strategies and actions;
2. Analyse how these strategies align with or depart from those employed by the developed economies of the UK, EU, North America, and Japan;
3. Assess the extent to which the Rising Powers strategies engage with, challenge or confirm existing cross-cutting regional and global governance institutions and actions in both private and public spheres;
4. Evaluate the implications for UK policy around these priority strands of the biomedical economy and health policy. The research employs a combination of research and policy analysis methods, comprising secondary analysis of quantitative datasets, primary fieldwork data collection (interviews, observation of conferences) in the UK, India and China. Data collected will include: patent/intellectual property trends; standard-setting activity; investment trends; 'private' regulatory initiatives such as via professional associations or scientific networks; formal regulatory initiatives; modes and content of patient and public engagement with governance processes; public policy visions of future healthcare.

The research draws together concepts from disciplines of political science, innovation studies, and sociology of biomedicine and healthcare, to provide a new evidence base of these emerging developments. Building on the platform of an ESRC Rising Powers Network project, the research focuses on relations between India, China and the UK, in the global context of US, EU and South East Asian scientific and economic influence.

Focusing on the four case studies, the research will:

1. Describe the primary components and directions of China and India's innovation policies, strategies and actions;

2. Analyse how these strategies align with or depart from those employed by the developed economies of the UK, EU, North America, and Japan;

3. Assess the extent to which the Rising Powers strategies engage with, challenge or confirm existing cross-cutting regional and global governance institutions and actions in both private and public spheres;

4. Evaluate the implications for UK policy around these priority strands of biomedical economy and health policy.

The research uses a combination of research and policy analysis methods, comprising secondary analysis of quantitative datasets, primary fieldwork data collection (interviews, observation of conferences) in the UK, India and China. Data collected will include: patent/intellectual property trends; standard-setting activity; investment trends; 'private' regulatory initiatives such as via professional associations or scientific networks; formal regulatory initiatives; modes and content of patient and public engagement with governance processes; public policy visions of future healthcare.

Project Team

Core Team

Professor Brian Salter, Principal Investigator, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Alex Faulkner, Co-Investigator, University of Sussex

Dr Stuart Hogarth, Co-Investigator, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London

Dr Yinhua Zhou, Research Associate, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Ms Saheli Datta, Research Coordinator and PhD Researcher, Department of Political Economy and King's India Institute, King’s College London

 

Visiting Fellows

Dr Vincenzo Pavone, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Rakhi Rashmi, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Maki Umemura, Lecturer, Cardiff Business School

 

Visiting PhD Researchers

Ms Maria Sharmila Alina de Sousa, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

 

Overseas Project Partners

Professor Pranav Desai, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Professor M Ramesh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Ms Yun Wu, Renmin University, Beijing, China


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