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e c n e i c s g n i Putt eart of h e h t at t n e m p o l e v e d

Annual Review 2007

From the Director The past year has seen many significant achievements in the ‘science for development’ debate. For example, 2007 opened with the African Union member states’ first summit meeting to take science and technology as its major theme. And it ended with countries from Algeria to the Dominican Republic announcing increases in their science budget. But the year also saw evidence that the challenge of integrating science and technology into development strategies is growing increasingly complex. Perhaps the best example is biofuels. Difficult questions were raised over whether the environmental benefits of such fuels will be overshadowed by their use of farmland, taking it from food production and thus increasing food prices. Resolving such dilemmas will require clear scientific input and imaginative technological thinking. SciDev.Net has sought to remain abreast of these and many other debates, both through our news coverage — we

“SciDev.Net provides a very comprehensive and user friendly website and information service . I have found the breadth of information covered to be exceptional . It is not often that researchers and scientists in developing countries have access to a service that is both interesting and relevant for local as well as international issues.” Claire Geoghegan, PhD student, South Africa

2007 Achievements • 39% rise in registered users • 69% of registered users in developing countries • Record number of 1.15 million website visits • 778 news stories published • 86% of news contributed by local freelance journalists • Launch and publication of 5 spotlights • Launch of ‘news in brief’ for Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia • Participation in the 5th World Conference of Science Journalism • Organisation of 7 science communication workshops • Support for 2 developing country internships

SciDev.Net: placing science at the heart of development

published 778 original news items during the year — and our in-depth comment and analysis from experts and stakeholders. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those whose work has contributed to increasing both the popularity and the reputation of our website. At the forefront is a dedicated and enthusiastic team, both in London and the developing world, backed by a growing number of consultants and advisers. Equally important has been the support of our trustees. In particular, I want to express my gratitude to Geoffrey Oldham, who stepped down at the end of the year as chair. He had held this position since SciDev.Net was set up in 2001, and filled it with energy, commitment and wisdom. None of our achievements, of course, would have been possible without the generous backing of our donors. Here I would like to thank the Dutch and Swiss governments for joining Britain, Canada and Sweden. To all, we are grateful. Finally, I am delighted with the strong and positive feedback we continue to receive from the people who use our website. There are significant challenges ahead as SciDev.Net enters the next stage of our development, seeking to build the impact and effectiveness of our activities. Hopefully, we can continue to rely on our users’ guidance and support. David Dickson Director, SciDev.Net

Looking forward: from science to policy Using science to address the problems of the developing world means carrying out relevant research, putting the results into practice through technological innovation and, crucially, using them to inform public policy. A key achievement of 2007 was the adoption of a new five-year strategic plan, covering the period 2008–2012. The plan makes boosting SciDev.Net’s contribution towards this last objective central to the organisation’s next phase of development.

Survey and odi research Two reviews have helped shape this strategic direction. Both drew on the views of a range of stakeholders who are already shaping how science and technology contributes to development policies and projects. The first was an independent evaluation of the SciDev.Net website, carried out in 2006. Based on a survey of users, this concluded that SciDev.Net had enjoyed a successful launch and had rapidly become a trusted source of information that deserved continued support from donors. At the same time, the evaluation pointed out various ways in which SciDev.Net needed to take steps to increase both its readership and impact. The second review was a research project, carried out by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the summer of 2007, which took a broader look at how policymakers get information about science and the role of intermediary organisations such as SciDev.Net in this process1.

Level of satisfaction that policy is based on scientific evidence 60 Policymakers


The ODI research, based on an electronic survey, telephone interviews and focus groups in seven countries, confirmed the crucial role of such intermediary organisations, particularly given the fact that, in many developing countries, “evidence-based policymaking is poorly institutionalised”.




30 20 10

At the same time, the research identified several challenges to filling this role effectively. These range from the difficulty of ensuring that relevant information is provided in a timely and user-friendly form, to the growing demand for public engagement in science-related debates that have previously been the preserve of small groups of decision makers.

0 Satisfied



Political science? Strengthening science­­­–policy dialogue in developing countries. Nicola Jones, Harry Jones and Cora Walsh. ODI Working Paper. July 2008. For more information, please visit: 1

strategic plan SciDev.Net’s new five-year strategic plan, drawn up by the trustees and the director, and approved in November 2007, sets out a path forward that addresses the needs, opportunities and challenges identified in both the independent evaluation and the ODI research project. Our basic mission, namely “to help individuals and organisations make informed decisions on science- and technology-related issues that impact on sustainable development in the developing world”, remains unchanged. And the target audience will continue to be “all those with an active interest in the interaction between science, innovation and sustainable development”. But in an effort to take a more strategic approach to achieving SciDev.Net’s objectives, the trustees have agreed that our priorities during the next five years will be to:

• Increase the regional dimension of our news, feature, opinion and topic coverage; • Expand our readership; • Increase our impact on those engaged in policy debates around science, technology and innovation; • Build local capacity to integrate science and technology into development planning; • Create a more participatory technology platform; • Take steps to ensure that any expansion in activities is in response to user demand; • Increase strategic alliances with national, regional and international organisations that share our goals; • Build a sound financial base for the organisation that provides enhanced sustainability. Full details can be found at:

Overview of activities 2007 News High-quality news coverage remains at the heart of SciDev.Net. In 2007, our news coverage grew thanks to our expanding network of journalists in the developing world. A total of 778 news stories were posted in 2007, an increase on 2006 figures (711 articles), averaging 65 a month, with the proportion of articles contributed by local freelance journalists rising to 86 per cent, from 63 per cent in 2006. Coverage from Sub-Saharan Africa also grew, with the number of articles from African journalists doubling from 112 in 2006 to 217 in 2007. SciDev.Net published 31 original feature articles in 2007, with 29 of those written by developing country journalists. News focuses were also prepared for: The African Union Summit This was the first time the event, held in Addis Ababa in January 2007, focused on the role of science and technology in promoting development. In addition to comprehensive news and opinion coverage of the conference itself, SciDev.Net published a news focus and hosted an accompanying discussion forum. The news focus was widely welcomed as a useful way of providing details about conference preparations and activities for those unable to participate directly. Science in the Himalayas In August, SciDev.Net ran a special collection of articles focusing on science and research in Bhutan and Nepal. T. V. Padma, SciDev.Net’s South Asia coordinator, visited the region and wrote feature articles on community forestry in Nepal, the country’s efforts to tackle climate change and Bhutan’s concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’. Further articles from local journalists looked at bioengineering to prevent landslides and Nepal’s use of cheap, green science.

Dossiers and spotlights SciDev.Net launched a new dossier on technology transfer in January 2007, bringing the total number of dossiers to 13. But in anticipation of the planned restructuring of the website (implemented in March 2008) and following a decision to restructure material into six broad ‘topic gateways’1 in the new website, no further dossiers were added during 2007.

In 2007, SciDev.Net also launched regional ‘news in brief’ round-ups for Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Published on the regional gateways on alternate weeks, these articles highlight news stories that may be of interest to local readers, but which SciDev.Net is unable to cover in full. Special article series were also run for World Tuberculosis Day (March) and World Sight Day (October), further illustrating SciDev.Net’s efforts to provide timely and relevant content to its users.

“I would like to thank SciDev.Net for publishing my story . As a Mongolian journalist, the opportunity to write for such a well-known and respected publication is a dream come true .“ Bulgaa Batjarga, freelance journalist, Mongolia

Instead SciDev.Net decided to produce briefer overviews of specific issues in the form of

‘spotlights’. Consisting of a series of original news, features and opinion articles, spotlights seek to provide insightful information on key aspects of specific issues and initiate debate. The material is coordinated by topic consultants and peer-reviewed by advisory panels, with SciDev.Net’s commissioning editor managing the overall process. SciDev.Net has set out to produce six to eight spotlights a year with financial support from aid agencies, foundations and partner organisations.

A total of five spotlights were launched in 2007: • The threats and challenges of tuberculosis (March 2007); • Agribiotech in Sub-Saharan Africa (June 2007); • Climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa (August 2007); • Science and innovation policy in Islamic states (August 2007); • Biofuels research (December 2007).

The six topic gateways cover Agriculture & Environment, Climate Change & Energy, Health, New Technologies, Science & Innovation Policy and Science Communication.


SciDev.Net: placing science at the heart of development

Overview of activities 2007 Regional Activities In 2007, SciDev.Net continued to enhance regional coverage and organise training workshops to address local needs and challenges, including workshops to bring science communicators together and those building stronger links between the scientific and journalistic communities. China SciDev.Net and the British Council organised China’s first workshop on climate change reporting, which was attended by nearly 100 participants. This initiative was further supported by media awards which sponsored seven winners to visit science and climate organisations in the United Kingdom. SciDev.Net’s regional coordinator, Jia Hepeng, was one of four leading Chinese science journalists who wrote a practical handbook on climate change journalism. Latin America and the Caribbean Under Luisa Massarani’s supervision, SciDev.Net worked closely with key local organisations, including The Network for Science Popularisation in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Organization of American States and the Vice-Ministry of Science in Bolivia, on various joint projects. These partnerships helped SciDev.Net set up five high-impact workshops in Bolivia, Costa Rica and Venezuela, attracting nearly 600 participants from 19 countries.

South Asia In partnership with UNESCO and the University of Hyderabad, SciDev.Net tested the world’s first online training course in science journalism. Developed by SciDev.Net in collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists, the course attracted keen interest from communication departments in local universities, who have an acute need for professional training. A regional advisory panel comprising a mix of the region’s top scientists, science communicators and journalists was also appointed to help guide the activities of the regional coordinator, T. V. Padma. Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa focused on expanding our regional news coverage. SciDev.Net appointed an African news editor, Christina Scott. The director also attended a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in July, organised by the Kenyan Academy of Sciences, on ways to strengthen links between scientists and parliamentarians. SciDev.Net increased its news coverage of issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and compiled a spotlight on science and innovation policy in Islamic states. Informal discussions on establishing networks in MENA and South East Asia continued.

EVENTS AND INTERNSHIPS In April 2007, SciDev.Net staff and journalists took part in the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia, providing news coverage and a blog during the week-long event. SciDev.Net also held a session with four of its consultants addressing the difficulties facing science reporters in developing countries. SciDev.Net was one of the main sponsors of a successful bid to bring the next World Conference to London, which will take place in July 2009. SciDev.Net continued to provide support for developing country science journalists through two internships: • A joint science journalism award was implemented with The International Development Research Centre, under which Talent Ng’andwe, a young journalist from Zambia spent nine months working with SciDev.Net, first in London and then in several developing countries. • At the end of 2007, Laura Garcia Oviedo, a journalist from Argentina, spent three months working with SciDev.Net, initially in Mexico — where she carried out a survey of science journalism practices — and then in the London office.

“The internship at SciDev.Net in London and Mexico City was an excellent opportunity to improve my professional skills in science journalism, work in a great environment and visit various places related to science communication.” Laura Garcia Oviedo, freelance journalist, Argentina

Facts and figures

Registered users profession 1% Aid agency official

2% Industrial manager

21% Researcher

2% Librarian 2% Research administrator

16% Student

3% Science communicator 3% Physician 5% NGO official 6% Journalist

14% Teacher/Lecturer

6% Government official 12% Other 7% Consultant

Regional registrants

Registered users



7000 6000

6798 Latin America 6657 Sub-Saharan Africa


5300 South Asia

31000 29000

4000 3000

27000 2076 China



1193 South East Asia

1000 0



982 Middle East

23000 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Summary balance sheet at 31 December 2007

Income and expenditure 2007




Voluntary income Investment income Total incoming resources

884,566 6,171 890,737

916,859 4,390 921,249

23,593 789,683 39,726 853,002

22,507 761,632 27,046 811,185

Resources expended

Cost of generating funds Charitable activities Governance costs Total resources expended


£ £ Fixed assets Tangible assets

Incoming resource

2006 £




Current assets Debtors 39,008 89,048 Cash at bank and in hand 299,915 193,176 338,923 282,224 Creditors: amounts falling due within one year (156,567) (108,159) Net current assets 182,356 174,065 Net assets 284,879 247,144 Funds Restricted funds 887 16,342 Unrestricted funds: Designated fixed asset funds 102,523 73,079 General funds 181,469 157,723 284,879 247,144

Trustees’ statement These summarised accounts have been extracted from the full annual financial statements (prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 1985), approved by the Board of Trustees on 28 March 2008 and signed on their behalf by the incoming Chair (Andrew Bennett) and Trustee and outgoing Chair (Geoffrey Oldham). Gotham Erskine, Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors, audited the full statements and their opinion was unqualified. The annual report and financial statements of the Charity comply with the current statutory requirements, the requirements of the Charity’s governing document and the provisions of the Statement of Recommended Practice ‘Accounting and Reporting by Charities’ (revised 2005). The full annual report and financial statements have been submitted to the Charity Commission (and Registrar of Companies). These summarised accounts may not allow for a full understanding of the Charity’s affairs. For further information, please consult the full financial statements, the auditors report and the Trustees’ annual report. Copies of these may be obtained from the Secretary at 97-99 Dean Street, London, United Kingdom W1D 3TE.

SciDev.Net: placing science at the heart of development

People staff David Dickson Director

Naomi Anthony* Editorial assistant

Karen Levin Operations manager

Elinor Smallman* Administrative assistant

Jan Evetts Website support technician

Ken Blake** Web production editor

Luisa Massarani Latin America and Caribbean coordinator

Sian Lewis Commissioning editor

Sophie Hebden** News editor

Jia Hepeng China coordinator

Mun-Keat Looi News editor

Jemima Tonks** Marketing manager

Andrew Lee* Web production editor

Claire Haynes** Administrative assistant

Katherine Nightingale* Assistant news editor

Regional Coordinators & Consultants

T.V. Padma South Asia coordinator Christina Scott Africa news editor

Daniela Hirschfeld * Latin America and Caribbean consultant Lisbeth Fog Latin America and Caribbean consultant Liu Zhenhua * China consultant

Paula Leighton Latin America and Caribbean consultant


Topic consultants

Julie Clayton** Science communication workshop coordinator and consultant

Priya Shetty* Health consultant

Dominic Glover** Agribiotech consultant Ehsan Masood** Biodiversity and desert science consultant Johanna Wolf** Climate change consultant

Rob Wilby* Climate change consultant Marina Joubert* Science communication consultant Athar Osama* Science and innovation policy consultant

* Joined 2007 ** Left 2007

Trustees Geoffrey Oldham** Chair, former director, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, United Kingdom Andrew Bennett* Chair, former executive director, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, United Kingdom Hebe Vessuri Head of the Department of Science Studies, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), Venezuela Nalaka Gunawardene Director and chief executive officer, TVE Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka Mohamed Hassan Executive director, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Italy Donald Kennedy Editor-in-chief, Science, United States Luc Soete Director, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (U MERIT), Netherlands

Lidia Brito* Independent international consultant on governance, education, science and technology issues, Mozambique Abdallah Daar* Senior scientist and co-director of the programme on life sciences, ethics and policy at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, University Health Network, Toronto Ji Fusheng* Former director general of the Department of Fundamental Research and High Technology, The People’s Republic of China Anne Whyte** Treasurer, president, Mestor Associates, Canada Fred Binka** Associate professor of epidemiology, University of Ghana Philip Campbell** Editor-in-chief, Nature, United Kingdom Xue Lan** Executive associate dean, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, China Angela Cropper** President, The Cropper Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago * Joined 2007 ** Left 2007

SupPorters Funding SciDev.Net is grateful to the following core donors:

Department for International Development, London, United Kingdom

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm, Sweden

Picture credits Front cover: Chris Stowers, Panos Pictures. Inside pages: Erica Harrison; Heldur Netocny, Panos Pictures.

International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Berne, Switzerland

The Directorate-General for International Cooperation, The Hague, The Netherlands

“SciDev.Net is a very useful resource and I always recommend it to my colleagues. I am convinced that science and technology can shape a brighter future for developing countries.” Patrick Karangwa, Scientist in agricultural research, Rwanda

SciDev.Net, 97/99 Dean Street, London, W1D 3TE, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 7292 9910 | Fax: +44 (0) 20 7292 9929 | Email: SciDev.Net is a not-for-profit company — a company ‘limited by guarantee’ — registered in England and Wales (no. 4218234). Registered charity number 1089590.

Printed on 100% recycled paper with vegetable-based inks.

SciDev.Net Annual Review 2007  
SciDev.Net Annual Review 2007  

SciDev.Net annual review of activities and achievements 2007