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PROJECT: Fostering low-carbon technology innovation and transfer: an in-depth study

Project Reference: AAGL-0009J

This project aimed to broaden and refocus national and international policy agendas in order to improve prospects for enhancing technology development, diffusion and transfer. It was designed to translate the latest academic insights into policy, explore national and international instruments for advancing technology (including the emerging UNFCCC Technology Mechanism and bilateral initiatives), and examine technology value chains as case studies of where action could be taken.

To mitigate climate change, developed countries need to shift from current technologies towards those that result in lower carbon emissions. Emerging economies and developing countries require strategies to ensure, first, that technologies that enable low-carbon industrialisation are available, and second, that their emerging middle class populations embrace low-carbon options both at home and in transportation.

Although many technologies exist to address climate change, there is a lack research on their development and use. Much of existing research has been based on poor conceptualisations of technology, technology innovation and technology transfer processes, as well as restrictive notions of relevant policy issues. For instance, the diverse and varying internal drivers that shape technology policy in most countries are rarely taken into account. National and international firms compete for finance and market share; however, it remains a challenge to successfully integrate private sector actors and interests into government-led initiatives to advance the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies.

At the national level, technology policy is a complex matter; internationally, there is also a need to improve prospects for enhancing technology development, transfer and collaboration through the analytic and policy agendas. Advancing these agendas will help refocus national and international instruments for climate mitigation technology – including the recently established UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Technology Mechanism and its Climate Technology Centre and Network. In addition to the UN process, the growing network of World Bank sponsored Climate Innovation Centres and regional and national policies form part of the global infrastructure to better address the technology challenge.

Project outputs and resources:


Lead: Heleen de Coninck (Energy research Centre of the Netherlands) 

Project Partners: Prof. Ambuj Sagar (Indian Institute for Technology Delhi), Dr Jim Watson (Sussex University Energy Group), Prof. Gabriel Blanco (Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires), Prof. Kelly Gallagher (The Fletcher School, Tufts University). Graham Sinden (Climate Strategies).

CDKN Funding: £180,000 

Regions/Countries: Global 

Type: Research project, CDKN Innovation Fund (Stage 2)

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Project Highlights

POLICY BRIEF: Innovation for Climate Compatible Development for the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’

This briefing paper, Innovation for Climate-Compatible Development for the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, will discuss how to organize and advance technological innovation – and key aspects of innovation policies – to contribute to climate-compatible development for the ‘bottom of the pyramid,’ drawing on lessons and experiences from the literature as well as two specific application areas, household energy and rural electricity.

POLICY BRIEF: Low carbon technology for the rising middle class

This briefing paper, Low carbon technology for the rising middle class, will discuss the role of local and international technology and innovation policies for low-carbon development of the rising middle class in developing countries. Although a large segment of the population of most developing countries remains severely deprived, most developing countries also have a significant and growing part of the population that could be a feasible target for low-carbon policies.

POLICY BRIEF: The Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC: Ways Forward

This paper, The Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC: Ways Forward, highlights the main opportunities that the Technology Mechanism established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) may bring to the development and transfer of technologies and recommends ways forward for the success of the mechanism.