2012 Tech4Dev International Conference

Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?

29-31 May, 2012 | EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Themes | Overview | Objectives | Expected Outcomes | Who Should Attend?



As a UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development, the Cooperation & Development Center (CODEV) has the pleasure to announce that an international conference concerning Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?, (Tech4Dev 2012) will take place at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland on 29-31 May, 2012.

Conference Guiding Themes

  • “Appropriate Technology”? Needs and Participation
  • Towards a Sustainable Integrated Development? Partnerships and Systems
  • Technology: Transfer or Co-Creation? Knowledge Sharing and Empowerment


Whilst scientific research can be crucial in guiding innovation and development throughout the world it remains often too detached from reality, particularly in developing and emerging countries. Thus, the challenge is to link scientific research and development practices in order to develop a win-win situation in which science and technologies can assist practitioners as well as reply to social needs.

The conference will look at how science and technologies can support both sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing and emerging countries. It aims to bring researchers and practitioners together to bridge the gap between the two communities, focusing on collaboration, methodologies, instruments and policies that could be used and/or encouraged. The possibility of a universal tool and policies for science, technology and innovation that could be of assistance in future collaborations will also be introduced.

The conference will offer unique opportunities for the acquisition of skills, information-sharing and networking and will be conducive to:

    – Improving research adapted to the beneficiaries;    
    – Enhancing research practices;    
    – Developing better integrated and interdisciplinary research;    
    – Involving professional and practitioners in these efforts.


  • To allow new multidisciplinary and international partnerships among researchers and knowledge users (including NGOs, private sector, public collectivities, international organizations, etc.).
  • To drive new research projects and training programs with a focus on improving the appropriation of technologies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
  • To increase the awareness of knowledge exchange and participatory approaches by bringing researchers and knowledge users together at the initial stages of the definitions of research questions.
  • To set new directions for research, knowledge and capacity development needs related to sustainable technologies.

Expected Outcomes

  • Identification of 10 gaps and needs for field applications to allow more effective exchange of knowledge. A statement will be finalized in the last session and published on the webpage of the UNESCO Chair.
  • Identification/valorization of flagship research projects – as best practices /examples to show how both the advancement of development and science can indeed be inclusive – (best practices in terms of their added value regarding methods, multidisciplinary approach, development impact, innovation, establishment of partnerships in a transdiciplinary way – i.e., involvement of stakeholders from diverse sectors such as civil societies, international organizations, decision makers, private sector, etc.)
  • A selection of the best papers presented at the conference will be subject to a further peer-review with a view to publication in an edited volume by Springer-Verlag.
  • Propose at least two new projects in collaboration with EPFL, NGOs, developing countries and beneficiaries.

Who Should Attend?

  • Innovative, talented researchers (doctorates, post-doctorates, students, etc.) and practitioners (private sector, public collectivities, representatives from NGO or international organizations) eager to share their research and project outcomes in order to bridge the gap between the two communities for realistic solutions to the real world challenges.
  • In order for the conference to be as inclusive and as diverse as possible, participants from developing or emerging countries are strongly encouraged to attend. To alleviate cost constraints, the Chair may award some financial assistance to support attendance and travel needs of candidates whose abstracts have been selected and who are scheduled to present their work at the conference >> See section on Financial Support (closed).