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Endorsements from well-wishers

Bengt-Åke Lundvall

More than 20 years ago, I gave a small envelope to Christopher Freeman on his 80th anniversary in Lewes as a birthday gift. Inside, it said, ‘I'm working hard together with colleagues from all parts of the world to establish a global network, which will be called Globelics and we do that in your honour’. At that time, my hope was that this network would mobilize young people from all parts of the world, and, especially, in the developing world in doing research on Innovation, in the spirit of Freeman and with the ultimate aim to create a somewhat better world. That was what Chris was working for all his life. I see the current activities of Globelics and specifically the kind of activity that the Cris-network has organized over the  last year as a materialisation of this hope.

The so-called CRIS-IS.ORG group is not a ‘Chris Freeman group’ but it got a double meaning as it initiated the series of Freeman anniversary related activities (I think originally it was an acronym for Centre for Research on Innovation System). This group includes about 30 young innovation scholars, most of them Globelics Academy alumni coming from the developing world with affiliations either in Latin America, Africa or Asia. What you are doing has been extremely important when Covid closed down a lot of activities with the shutdown of universities and great barriers for travel. This series of seminars, where you have mobilized more than one thousand innovation scholars around the world, especially young people, has helped to keep the Globelics network alive and to keep debates open for young and senior scholars. That is very important in itself but I would say it has a special significance in the current era of global challenges and global disorder.


The Covid crisis has demonstrated that it is necessary to move towards a different world order where we share knowledge, where individuals and organizations from all parts of the world innovate together and use knowledge to counter global challenges. At the same time, we have seen movements in the opposite direction - more nationalism and more intense international conflicts. In this situation, one of the great hopes that I have and I am sure Chris Freeman also had is that the younger generation from all parts of the world will join forces to work for a more sustainable world.
What you have been doing together in the Core Committee of CRIS-IS.ORG over the last year is an important contribution to what I regard as a necessary ‘globalization from below’ - not from above, by intellectual monopolies and  big states -  but by young people from different continents working together and learning from each other in spite of cultural barriers. Therefore, I would like to congratulate the whole Core Committee for the work you have done and I wish you all great success also for the future.

[Opening speech by Bengt Ake Lundvall on 07.01.2022 on the first anniversary of CRIS-IS.ORG]

Richard R. Nelson

I would like to thank the group of young scholars who have joined forces and organized and structured under CRIS-IS-ORG  a terrific series of talks, seminars, and conversations oriented towards improving our understanding of innovation, and the economic progress that innovation drives. Their efforts have enabled  a  significant portion of the international and interdisciplinary community of scholars working on those topics to interact with each other  during the years when Covid has made coming   together very difficult. I encourage and expect this evolving group to continue play this constructive role, hopefully in a context where meeting in person again becomes a regular mode of interaction.

 Virtually all of us in this community have been strongly influenced, directly or indirectly, by Christopher Freeman and the scholarship at SPRU during the many years when he was SPRU’s intellectual leader. There are several features of this orientation, all prominent in the gatherings we have had, that I would like to highlight.

First, research and analysis is strongly empirically oriented, with theorizing being concerned with understanding the empirical reality revealed by  relatively open minded observation, rather than having theory coming first and empirical work oriented to calibrating or testing theory.  Second, while often oriented by the kinds of questions Economics (as a field of study) is concerned with, research generally was not constrained by disciplinary boundaries, but rather aimed to explore and illuminate all aspects that empirical inquiry indicated were of importance. Third, the work was largely motivated by the objective of enhancing  understanding that would enable better policies, at the same time research done under this orientation has enriched greatly our basic understanding of how technological advance occurs and its effects on the economic/social/political systems we have.

The group of young scholars working through CRIS-IS-ORG have played a major role in keeping this kind of scholarship alive. And I am sure they will continue to do so in the coming years.

Franco Malerba

I congratulate CRIS-IS.ORG for the launch and the organization of an impressive activity of seminars, lectures and conversations during the last year. The number of meetings has been striking, the range of topics and issues presented and discussed remarkable and the mobilization of researchers, scholars and policy makers extraordinary. 

These topics indeed represent the core of the intellectual and research interests of the Globelics community.  It is also very evident how much  CRIS-IS.ORG has been inspired by the work of Christopher Freeman, which continue to represent a great stimulus and a deep motivation for the new generations of scholars interested in innovation, economic development, sustainable transformation and public policy. 

What is impressive of the many young scholars that constitute CRIS-IS.ORG is their enthusiasm for what they do, their competence and skills with which they carry on their work and the openness that permeates all their activities.  Their various initiatives have not been of a top-down nature. Rather they have been bottom-up, mobilizing a wide range of young and senior scholars disseminated around the world. 

These initiatives have stimulated a vibrant participation from the broad Globelics community. But they have also extended their reach to other researchers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Indeed the knowledge that has been generated, shared and diffused in these events has been impressive and the interaction has been remarkable, with open and broad discussions and with many ideas circulating among all the participants.

I look forward to the continuation of this splendid initiative.

Raphie Kaplinsky

We owe a great debt to the programme, particularly from the perspectives of the developing world and the promotion of more inclusive trajectories of innovation. The development of Innovation Studies as a special area of research and policy interest owes a great deal to the pioneering roles played by Chris Freeman and colleagues at the Science Policy research Unit and the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University, to Dick Nelson, and to Bengt-Ake Lundvall. At the time of their pioneering studies during the last quarter of the twentieth century, the developing world was a recipient of technologies originating in the capital-abundant, labour-scarce and infrastructure-rich high income countries. It was not surprising therefore that the trajectory of global innovation was inappropriate for the needs of low income countries and that the costs of technology transfer were extremely high.

However since the Sussex Manifesto was published in 1970, technological capabilities have grown significantly in low income countries and in many cases developing economies are pioneering the development and diffusion of efficient, appropriate and more inclusive technologies. Until recently, this historically-important transition has largely been neglected . However, the GLOBELICS programme and the invaluable CRIS-IS initiative have not only brought these developments into sharp focus but has also spurred a connected and globally participative set of discussions amongst researchers. They have also played a valuable role in the training of a new cadre of young researchers, particularly in the developing world.

I believe that the future direction of Innovation Studies lies in the sustained development of inter-disciplinary enquiry. It is vitally important that Innovation Studies is not confined to the economics of innovation and to micro-level studies. The CRIS-IS programme recognises and promotes this and will no doubt play a primary role in sustaining an holistic agenda in the promotion of more inclusive development. Sustainable Development must be the goal, and inclusive innovation has a major role to play in achieving this objective.

Howard Rush

Given the average age of the presenters of the ‘In Conversation’ series as part of the's Freeman Innovation studies programme, it might seem something of an oxymoron to describe the episodes as “a breath of fresh air”.  Nevertheless, these in-depth discussions explore fascinating journeys taken by leading lights in the field.  The episodes show just how far the field has come over the last fifty years and how a lasting community of practice has developed and is now shared globally with wide wide ranging participation with committed scholars and practitioners.  I am sure that Chris Freeman would have been proud to know how far we have all come.

Abdelkader Djeflat

My sincere congratulation to CRIS-ORG for this brilliant initiative of giving eminent scholars mostly from the Globelics community to discuss their work and life trajectory in the spirit of Chris Freeman. I find this as a formidable learning exercise, for everyone and I certainly did quite a lot of learning while preparing my session of CRIS ORG with a great deal of discovery which went on. This exercise constitutes an opportunity to bring in an added value in exploring all possible ways of learning and innovating in an unconventional setting, the North South interactive knowledge sharing. It is also an occasion to update our knowledge by scholars who are at the frontier and discuss them in front of a wider audience from all the continents.  It introduces new forms of learning not only from the work these scholars have done but also through their personal scientific trajectory and  their lives. They, convey valuable lessons particularly for young scholars through another form of learning, learning through “role models”.  


It also enhanced the importance of the grip of reality in formulating the research question and the importance of empirical research in the South even more than in the North and where consulting as a source of building capabilities can play an important role. While breaking the grounds and filling knowledge gaps is important for any researcher, in the South, action research to inform policy spheres is fundamental as unemployment, poverty, inequalities and insecurity of all kinds cannot wait. In addition, SDGs attainment, as well as the challenges of energy transition, industry 4.0 and artificial Intelligence require a major change in the North-South STI paradigm with new attitudes towards knowledge sharing, learning, innovation and capacity building if we were not to enter other divides.

This exercise also offers a golden opportunity to broaden our constituency by bringing in many people outside the traditional Globelics community and from other knowledge circles and as well as from policy-making sphere thanks to a wider and wider diffusion process. 
I wish all the possible success to the CRIS-ORG team and am convinced that they will go very far.


Keun Lee

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CRIS is a badly needed initiative serving many beautiful causes and generating values for our community that have grown owing to the Globelics. It is now almost 20 years ago that I first attended one of the globelics conferences devoted to the theme of innovation and development applying the framework of innovation systems and Schumpeterian economics. I myself have grown academically by attending a series of globelics conferences initiated by B. Ludvall and catch-up projects led by R. Nelson. They have proviced me with valuable opportunities for networking and mutal learning and competence building. Now, it is important to diffuse our ideas and knowledge to a bigger and wider audiences and next generations of scholars. CRIS is serving very well this goal. In particular, the Conversation series help learn from the intellectual journey gone by senior scholars so that younger generations may benefit from it and grow academically

Thank you very  much!

Francisco Louçã

I met Chris Freeman at his Sussex office in the 1980s and I discovered, as many of his students, not only the outstanding scholar but also an intense and charming human being. A friend, a master and a man of immense curiosity, Chris impressed so much the world of open minded economics - and other social sciences - that the evocation of this 100th birthday reunited a large number of his readers and co-thinkers, but also so many other people interested in innovation, macro dynamics, firm behaviour, strategy and coordination in social and economic life. The fact that many of the attendants pursue different, although complementary, agendas of research or other paths, is only a proof of the reach of his life work.

One of the main events in that evocation was the series of talks and, as I believe he would have enjoyed, conversations about our science and the future, promoted by CRIS-IS.ORG, a group of professors and students who, from India to the world, reunited testimonies and thoughts following Chris’s heritage. They proved inventiveness and rigour, creating a splendid environment for meetings, in some way replicating the atmosphere of those golden days of SPRU, its tea room, its seminars and the friendship and cooperation of older colleagues and young researchers. For that, I  am immensely thankful.

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