British Academy and CIFAR announce partnership on New Frontiers in Technology

13 Sep 2023

The British Academy and CIFAR have announced a new collaboration building on their longstanding work together.

The partnership, on “New Frontiers in Technology” will run for five years from 2023 and will support two research programmes on Innovation, Equity & the Future of Prosperity and Future Flourishing.

The Academy will provide £1 million in funding to advance work in the two programmes, which seek to explore new technologies and systems which show promise for society, while examining their potential implications. The Academy’s support is provided under the UK Government’s International Science Partnerships Fund, which is designed to enable potential and foster prosperity. The Fund puts research and innovation at the heart of the UK’s international relationships, supporting UK researchers and innovators to work with peers around the world on the major themes of our time. It is managed by the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology.

The research supported by this new partnership will examine the potential of new and emerging technologies to mediate between progress and opportunity, as well as furthering stagnation and stratification. It will also explore the cultural contexts in which the technologies of tomorrow emerge, drawing on lessons from the past to better understand the social, economic, and political constraints that determine future adoption.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said:

“Emerging technologies hold enormous promise in mitigating the effects of society’s greatest challenges. Because all technologies must respond to and are constrained by social, cultural and political contexts, they have an inextricable but often underacknowledged relationship with the humanities and social sciences. Responsible innovation requires understanding and assessment of how new technologies impact and shape our world and our new collaboration with CIFAR will deepen that. We are delighted to partner with them to underpin research in this crucial area, which will have a lasting positive impact on people and the planet.”

Stephen Toope, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIFAR, said:

“Our partnership with the British Academy further enables CIFAR to convene brilliant minds, across disciplines and borders, to answer some of the thorniest questions of our time. This generous funding is a testament not only to the strength of our partnership, but to the calibre of CIFAR’s programming in social science and humanities research across two very different programs. Both Innovation, Equity & the Future of Prosperity and Future Flourishing are asking novel questions about the societal implications of emerging technologies and trying to conceptualize new governance structures for a more equitable future. This is critically important work.”

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