Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Theo Papaioannou

Professor Theo Papaioannou

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a political scientist and theorist with interdisciplinary focus on politics of innovation and development. I received my BA in Politics and International Studies from the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens, followed by an MA and DPhil in Social and Political Thought from the University of Sussex. Since the year 2000 I have worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Brighton and have taught at Birkbeck, University of London and the London South Bank University. I have also advised research and development policy organisations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Central and Eastern Europe and South East Asia. I joined the Department of Development Policy and Practice (DPP) and the Institute for Innovation Generation (INNOGEN) in October 2005. Since then I have served in various leadership positions, including those of Head of Department from July 2014 until July 2016 and Deputy Director of the Strategic Research Area in International Development and Includive Innovation (SRA IDII) from June 2015 until October 2019. I have also served as REF 2021 Strategy Chair for the International Development UoA at the Open University. I am currently Director of INNOGEN and Research Lead of DPP. I am an active member of the following professional associations: Political Studies Association (PSA); Association for Studies in Innovation, Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK) and Development Studies Association (DSA).

Research interests

My work is in the areas of public policy and political theory with a specific focus on innovation and development. My current research interests include: the role of the state in innovation; innovation and global social justice; inclusive innovation systems and international development; ethics and politics of science and technology; governance of emerging innovations; intellectual property rights; industrial associations; the application of contemporary political theory in innovation and development studies; public policy benchmarking. My work has appeared in top academic journals such as Research Policy, World Development, Progress in Development Studies, Innovation and Development, Science and Public Policy, Critical Policy Studies and International Political Science ReviewI am keen to supervise PhD students in my main areas of expertise. I welcome both theoretical and empirical projects. 

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are in both politics and public policy with focus on technological innovation and international development. I am currently working on a new MSc in Global Development, producing teaching materials for DD870 Understanding Global Development (60 credits), DD871 Key Challenges in Global Development (60 credits) and DD872 Researching Global Development (60 credits). I am also chairing the production of D229, a new undergraduate module on Introducing Development Studies (60 credits) and the presentation of TD223, International Development, Making Sense of a Changing World (60 credits). In the past, I produced teaching materials for DD213 Environment and Society and taught DD313 International Relations, Continuity and Change in Global Politics. I also chaired the production of TD223 and the presentation of TU870, Capacities for Managing Development. I was also part of the production team of the Masters level Business, Human Rights Law and Corporate Social Responsibility (W822).

Impact and engagement

I have contributed a number of reports and public policy briefs to research and innovation policy organisations in developing and developed countries, including South Africa, India, Canada and USA. I am currently external advisor to several policy-making organizations, including the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and NESTA-UK. I am also a member of the ESRC and Innovate UK Innovation Caucus.

External collaborations

I hold visiting academic positions at the Universities of Brighton and Edinburgh. I also sit on the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development and I served as Associate Editor of the Journal of International Development from 2013 to 2021. I act as a referee for a number of top academic journals, including Political Studies, World Development  and Research Policy. I also serve as an Academic Reviewer of the American College of Thessaloniki and I am External Examiner for  the University of Manchester, the University of Edinburgh and the University College London. I am also reviewer of funding applications for research councils and other institutions, including: Wellcome Trust (WT); Genome Canada (GC); National Science Foundation (NSF); and the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Development Policy and Practice Research GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
OpenSpace Research CentreCentreFaculty of Social Sciences