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Mon, 22 May




The 'IN CONVERSATION' series portray prominent innovation scholars of the day in the form of intellectual-biographical interviews. The 12th episode features MAMMO MUCHIE in a deep conversation with MARGRETHE HOLM ANDERSEN on 22 MAY 2023

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Time & Location

22 May 2023, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm UTC



About the Event

About the Event

The IN CONVERSATION series portrays prominent innovation scholars of the day in the form of intellectual-biographical interviews.

In the TWELTH event MAMMO MUCHIE will be interviewed by MRGRETHE HOLM ANDERSEN 

On 22 MAY, 2023 

At 12 PM GMT | 1 pm - London | 8 am - New York | 9 am – Brazil | 1 pm - London | 2 pm - Denmark, France, Italy & South Africa | 3 pm - EAT | 5.30 pm - India | 8 pm China & Malaysia | 9 pm - Tokyo | 10 PM Canberra

The event will be moderated by ANAMIKA . R

Penel of discussants: Bengt Ake Lundvall, Geci Karuri Sebina & Diran Soumonni 

Structure of the program (2 hours split up as follows)

Brief intro to the program and introducing MARGRETHE by ANAMIKA. R (5 minutes)

i. Introductory remarks by MARGRETHE and MAMMO is introduced (10 minutes) followed by a conversation between them as follows

ii. Formative years and major influences - (10 minutes)

iii. Contributions, Critique and weakness, Current work & future course - (35 minutes): starting from the important contributions of MAMMO, evolving towards a critical evaluation of his work. Then moving on to discussions on what next given the changing circumstances, how the theoretical contributions are relevant in current circumstances etc. It is a platform to convey what they want future generations to take from MAMMO and how they can further develop standing on the strong base that was created.

iv. Comment on Status of Innovation Economics and what next? - (10 minutes)

Some of the possible questions could be the following. However the speakers can shape it the way they want it to be!·   How did you end up doing research on innovation?·  What were your most important contributions to the field?·  To what degree have you engaged in teamwork and collective research?·  How do you see the relationship between economics and innovation studies?·  How do you see the role of innovation policy and innovation politics in development strategies?·  How do you see the future for innovation studies?·  At what level should we study innovation – micro, meso and macro?·  What kind of methods should we use to study innovation and economic development?·  What kind of advice would you like to give to young innovation scholars?·  What role can innovation play in meeting global challenges?


v. Discussion (1 hour): For the 1 hour discussion a panel of scholars [BENGT AKE LUNDVALL, GECI KARURI SEBINA, and DIRAN SOUMONNI] will ask questions or make comments on MAMMO's work. After MAMMO's response to them the forum will be open for questions from the general audience.

vi. Finally MARGRETHE winds up the session with a vote of thanks.


An autobiographical note 

Mammo Muchie

Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, in 1950. My father Muchie Getahun was a regional governor and mother Dessalu Asmeche was a home-maker. I lived with my elder sister, until I left high school in Gondar to study in America.

My earliest memory is from the church school I attended, which was walking distance from my paternal aunt’s house. She was an expert in traditional medicine and I spent many an afternoon observing her curing people and foraging in the surrounding areas.

This was shortly before joining Tsadiku Yohannes (Saint John) Elementary School, where the principal director, Mr. Joseph, who hailed from Kerala, India, always encouraged the potential he saw in me as a young student.

As a top student, I managed to graduate early from elementary school and entered high school before most of my peers. I continued to excel in High School and was selected by my teachers to teach fellow students’ mathematics and physics. I had no idea then how much life was about to change, it was not long into my high school education that I was awarded the opportunity to study in the United states, having won an award from the World Youth Forum in 1968, which secured me a place at Dwight Morrow High School, New Jersey, USA. Arriving in the US, I was blessed to be hosted by the Kaslow family, Dr. Murray Kaslow and Shirley Kaslow were my host parents, and their children, Dr Andrew Kaslow and Lisa Kaslow, both future Ivy League graduates, were my dear host siblings. The Kaslow family were a kind and generous family, and I am grateful that all these years later we still consider each other family. It was a curious time in my life, an African in America, during the height of the civil rights movement. The complexity was punctuated by my arrival in the US coinciding with the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, in 1968. I was devastated by the premature and tragic passing and remember vividly mourning the loss, surrounded by the love and support of the Kaslow’s, who were equally disturbed by the loss of this great leader.

America was a period of many firsts, it was here that I had my first TV experience, in New York. The topic was: ‘One World, Many Problems’ with presenters from all over the world representing the World Youth Forum. One of the questions was on apartheid in South Africa. The panellist from South Africa said ‘apartheid is good, it gives independence for all ethnic groups in South Africa. The King of Zulu has freedom’, the panellist declared. I vehemently opposed this, stood up and said to the panellist your support of apartheid is outrageous. Over 16 million people must have witnessed it. It was here I realised that my passion to fight injustice could not be quelled.

My time at Dwight Morrow High School was fruitful, and the teachers encouraged me to apply to Princeton or Columbia, two neighbouring Ivy League colleges. My host mother, Ms Shirley Kaslow was supportive and took me to visit both institutions. Much to her delight, I was offered a full scholarship to Columbia University, to complete my undergraduate degree. During my undergraduate studies, I was struck by the segregation and inequity in the US education system. This propelled me to find the time to teach high school students in predominantly black high schools in Harlem. Motivated by my experience teaching in America, and noting that I was the only African student in my undergraduate class, I asked the Dean of the Science Faculty if I could attract African-Americans to the college. Fortunately, the Dean allocated a grant which allowed me to travel to the Deep South; Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama, where the majority of Black colleges were located, to motivate students to join Ivy League universities.

We created a forum called SOBU: Student Organisation for Black Unity and encouraged many black students to join in the Ivy League universities. I was also on media promoting why there must be education justice in America. Vietnam War was on and amid many problems, I as part of a student organisation called ESUNA (Ethiopian Student Union in North America) produced periodicals such as Challenge, Spark, Combat etc. I was chief editor of some of these journals and opposed any kind of injustice. During a protest in Washington DC I was arrested and briefly detained.

The dean of Columbia University used to take me to his house in New Haven, Connecticut every weekend. Dean Coleman has always deeply touched me with his graceful kindness, care and love. On graduation, I received a special gift from Wayne Behelendorf, my former Peace Corps teacher who drove me all over the USA for over two months; an amazing graduation gift that is forever memorable.

After my graduation I returned to Ethiopia and joined the Ethiopian Standard Institute and did many innovative works that made the management to send me to Russia to study measurement science. Unfortunately, after finishing the course on measurement science, I was not able to return to Ethiopia. I went to Germany first, and after few months to Amsterdam and ended up as a refugee in the Netherlands.

Two years later I went to Sussex University to do my MPhil and DPhil winning full scholarship from Britain I did my MPhil with a triple first and my supervisor Robin Murray, and the mayor of London Ken Goulding used findings from my thesis ‘Capitalist Money and Socialist Development’ to undertake services in the London municipality without monetary resources. That was when I got acquainted with Chris Freeman who agreed to become my principal supervisor. Raphael Kaplinsky was also my very supportive co-supervisor. I had very inspirational support from Luc Soete, Giovanni Dosi, Gordon White and Robin Murray in Sussex University. I also founded the Committee to help Ethiopian Exiles and Refugees (CHEER) that supported so many Ethiopians during the 1977 and 1978 Red terror in Ethiopia. I was also the co-founder of the Ethiopian Community in Britain (ECB) that still supports all Ethiopians.

Chris became very close to me, was extremely kind, caring and loving. My PhD thesis was on Capitalist Technology and Socialist Development running to nearly 700 pages and during the last three months of writing I was too involved and was not eating properly. Chris used to come from Lewes to East London and used to treat me with such kindness that is unforgettable. While in Sussex as a master’s student I was invited to give lectures to the post-graduate students in IDS, a deeply humbling experience to me with support of Raphie Kaplinsky, Gordon White and Robin Murray.

I started teaching in Middlesex University in 1984 before finishing my DPhil in 1986.

After finishing my DPhil, I became a full-time lecturer in Middlesex University and have been to many universities across the globe teaching ever since. At Middlesex University I taught Science, Technology and Society in the Engineering Faculty. I also taught in Amsterdam University for three years where I was taken care of by Prof Gerd Junee. Luc Soete also helped me a lot to join UNU-MEIT in Maastricht when I had issues with work permit in U.K. I also became part time lecturer in Cambridge University after returning from Amsterdam University and Maastricht before joining Middlesex University. At Middlesex University I used to teach ideas of Science and one of the novel contributions I made was to develop after two years of struggle a course on Non-Western Science and it was very innovative. The BBC national TV invited me a number of times and I included my students to present publicly on the new course. In 1994 I presented a paper in a conference held in Durham critiquing the book ‘Unnatural Nature of Science ‘by Lewis Wolpert. My presentation received also media coverage.

I was invited to a conference in Aalborg, Denmark and subsequently received an invitation to join the university. That is when I met Bengt Ake Lundvall and learned much about innovation system. The support from Chris and Bal on my ideas on linking Innovation System to the African development has been an enduring gift. I selected an African innovation system for integrated and sustainable carbon free green development and urban habitats to address the colonially imposed unending underdevelopment Africa continues to suffer burdened with a raw material resource trap and failure of integrating Africa continuing with endless suffering from so many conflicts and unable still to use indigenous knowledge through reverse innovation.

In the African context a rethinking of the whole innovation systems approach and the existing development economics is critically necessary. A new synthesis that combines development economics and the system of innovation is much needed to address the complex unending underdevelopment challenges in Africa. The book Putting Africa First: The Making of African Innovation Systems, 2003, dedicated to Chris and co-edited by Bengt Ake and Peter Gammeltoft along with me was the starter to do the re-thinking of both innovation system and development economics in the Pan African unity context.

The Globelics innovation scholarly network was initiated in 2001 at the conference on Putting Africa First and the Globelics intellectual distinction is very much related to acknowledging innovation and development by including not only the developed world but also the developing world with the Africa context in it.  I have been the founder of the AfricaLics network. AfricaLics has contributed substantially by creating scholarly achievements in all parts of Africa. It has been funded for many years by SIDA and I am looking to make sure the Africa Union should collaborate and make it the hub for the Pan—African Education Commission. It was with great pleasure that I appreciate Franco Malerba and Roberto Mavilia for collaborating on the EU-Horizon 2020 which is still going on.

I consider the founding of the journal African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID) as an important landmark in my academic career. The journal has been the direct response to a pressing need of a large number of early career African scholars who were finding it difficult to publish their research papers. I appreciate prof. Angathevar Baskaran for his consistent support as co-chief editor of the journal. I am also chief editor of the open access electronic journal The Ethiopian Electronic Journal for Research & Innovation Foresight (Ee-JRIF) (; and co-founding editor with the dedicated scholar Professor Zeleke Worku of the journal of creativity, innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (JCISE).

One of the most significant contributions to promote the emerging field on innovation studies in Africa was the South African research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The first chair on innovation studies supported by the DST/NRF in South Africa was awarded to me to promote doctoral and post-doctoral research in Africa. I am also a founding scientific advisor to ´the African Solar Network (, and chairman of the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (

I have founded the Africa Post-Graduate Academy (AGPA) that has been training masters and doctoral students drawn from different disciplinary backgrounds applying the ‘unity of knowledge’ approach to upgrade high quality supervision. I serve as the chairman of the advisory board of African Talent Hub of the Community Interest Company to raise funds for making Africa the talent, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and knowledge hub of the world. I have been appointed as special distinguished advisor to the Africa Union’s Student Council and a mentor for the African Entrepreneurship award to support with funding African innovators. I have initiated the African Unity for Renaissance and Knowledge Exchange series of conferences and the Global Knowledge Exchange Network that has produced several books. I have received a number of awards acknowledging academic excellence.

The unique advanced course I started at TUT on Innovation, Creativity for Technology Venture creation has produced employment opportunities for a number of post graduates. Of late I have co-founded the Association for South-South Cooperation in Innovation Systems Transformation (ASSIST, UK) along with Rajesh and Harish.

It is a pleasure to be part of the ’In Conversation‘series of CRIS-IS.ORG and engage in a deep conversation with Dr. Margrethe Holm Andersen, Bengt Ake Lundvall, Diran Soumonni, Geci Karuri Sebina and Anamika.


Dr. Margrethe Holm Andersen is the Academic coordinator of the AfricaLics Visiting Fellowship Programme (VFP) targeting PhD students ( She has more than 30 years of experience from research and planning, implementation, and evaluation of development cooperation. She holds a

master’s in public administration (1988) and a Ph.D. in Social Science (1992) from Aalborg University. She has worked for many years as short- and long-term adviser to Danida/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as Deputy Head in the Technical Advisory Services (2000-2002); at the Danish Embassy in Nicaragua (2004-2006) and in the Evaluation Department (2007-2013).

Between 2013 and 2022, she was based at Aalborg University and worked with the Globelics and the AfricaLics networks. Here is helped facilitate major research conferences, supported the development of the AfricaLics network and the AfricaLics Visiting Fellowship Programme in particular. In 2016, she co-published the Globelics Thematic Review on the role of innovation in health systems strengthening ( together with Rebecca Hanlin. Her most recent research focusses on development of innovative capabilities in renewable electrification and sustainable industrialization ( and on mentoring as a tool in research capacity development. In 2022, she co-edited the book ‘Building Innovation Capabilities for Sustainable Industrialization. Renewable Electrification in Developing Economies’ with Dr. Rasmus Lema, Prof. Rebecca Hanlin and Dr. Charles Nzila ( She

has also published on innovation and health systems strengthening, gender relations and evaluation of development cooperation. She is currently and independent consultant and serves as external examiner at the Centre for African Studies at Copenhagen University (

Andersen lived and worked for several years in Tanzania, Kenya and Nicaragua, but also worked on short term basis in many other countries, including e.g. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Ghana, Niger and Malawi. Today she lives in Copenhagen with her husband, son and a nephew.


Professor Lundvall is professor emeritus in economics at Department of Business and Management at Aalborg University. His research is organized around a broad set of issues related to innovation systems, and learning economies. Lundvall was Deputy Director for the Directorate of Science, Technology and Industry 1992-95 and he joined Tsinghua University, Beijing 2003-2006 as Special Term Professor. He has been engaged as advisor for international organisations including Unctad and The World Bank as well as for national governments in all parts of the world. He founded Globelics 2001 and he served as its coordinator until 2018. Since 1988, he has published more than 200 publications in the form of books, journal articles, and book chapters (see His two most cited works are:

Lundvall, B.-Å., (ed.) (2010), National Systems of Innovation: Towards a Theory of Innovation and Interactive Learning. London, Anthem.

Lundvall, B.-Å. and Johnson, B. (1994), 'The Learning Economy', Journal of Industry Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 23-42.

More about B-Å Lundvall :  


Prof Geci Karuri-Sebina, PhD, is an African scholar-practitioner working in the intersection between people, place and technological change. She is an Associate Professor at the Wits School of Governance where she is hosting the African Civic Tech Innovation Network and establishing a Centre of Excellence in Digital Governance. She is also associated with the School of International Futures (Principal), UCT African Centre for Cities (Adjunct Prof), South African Cities Network (Associate), Singularity University (global faculty member on the future of cities and governance), the Southern African Node of the Millennium Project (founding Director), and ICESCO (incumbent Africa Chair on Innovation & Futures). Geci is currently Vice-Chairperson of Africalics.


Diran Soumonni is an Associate Professor of Innovation Policy and Management at the Wits Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa. His teaching and research interests include comparative innovation systems, energy innovation, technopreneurship, nanotechnology innovation, and philosophical paradigms in scientific research. Inspired by Global South and Global African thinkers on sustainable industrialisation, his current research advances a more holistic and historically-grounded perspective on ‘endogenous innovation’. He earned a PhD in Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, where he focused on both innovation studies and energy policy.

Prior to embarking on his doctoral studies, Diran worked as a materials engineer in the research commercialisation of energy-efficient display and lighting technologies. He also holds a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering (Georgia Institute of Technology), and undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mathematics (Tuskegee University, USA). He currently serves on scientific board of the African Network for the Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (AFRICALICS). In addition, he has long been active in the Global Network for the Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (GLOBELICS), and is a scientific committee member of the International Network on Appropriate Technology (INAT).

More information about Dr. Diran Soumonni can be accessed through the link below


Anamika is a master's student pursuing Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Her specialisation track is in global health and development. Prior to her Master's she graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for women, University of Delhi, with honours in sociology and economics.

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