Professor Theo Papaioannou

Professor of Politics, Innovation and Development

Theo received a 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 he has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Brighton and has taught at London South Bank University and the University of London. He has also advised research and development policy organisations in the United States, Central and Eastern Europe and South East Asia. Theo joined the Development Policy and Practice (DPP) Group and the Institute for Innovation Generation in the Life Sciences (INNOGEN) in October 2005. He is currently Head of DPP and Deputy Director of the Innovation, Knowledge and Development Centre (IKD) at the Open University. He is also Associate Editor of the Journal of International Development. Theo is an active member of the following professional associations: Political Studies Association (PSA) and Development Studies Association (DSA).

Theo’s work is in the areas of public policy and political theory with a specific focus on innovation and development. His current research interests are both disciplinary and interdisciplinary. They include: innovation and global social justice; science, technology, equality and development; industry associations, innovation and politics of development; contemporary political theory and international development; the relationship between the public and the private in new technologies; innovation systems and intellectual property rights; ethico-political foundations of innovation and development.

Theo is keen to supervise PhD students in these areas.


Theo’s teaching interests are in contemporary political theory, politics of innovation and international development. He is currently teaching two new 60 credits undergraduate modules in Environment, Development and International Studies: DD313 International Relations: Continuity and Change in Global Politics and TD223 International Development Making Sense of Changing World. In the past he chaired TU870 Capacities for Managing Development a postgraduate course in the Masters programme on Development Management and was also part of the production team of the Masters level Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822).

ESRC Bioenergy

Knowledge Production for Sustainable Bioenergy: An analysis of UK decision processes and priorities

Main research question:   In what ways do discourses, practices and interests of technoscientific knowledge influence national research priorities for sustainable bioenergy from a wider range of options?

Objectives include:

1.       To identify the ...

Innovation, Global Justice and Politics of Development

The importance of innovation in human development is undeniable. Since the 1780s, successive scientific and technological revolutions have introduced new products and services with tremendous impact on human well-being and general welfare. Yet innovation has not been available to all individuals and their societies. There are still countries in the developing world (e.g. Latin American and Sub-...

Unpacking the role of industry associations

This project tries to get inside the black box of innovation and politics, researching whether and in what ways biopharmaceutical associations in developing countries promote technological capabilities and effective governance of health innovation. The overarching aim is to produce a theoretically embedded, empirically-grounded, and policy relevant analysis of the role of biopharmaceutical asso...

Biopharmaceutical Industry Associations and Health Innovation

This policy brief considers the role and potential of biopharmaceutical industry associations in building capacities for health innovation in India. Empirical evidence from the project indicates that biopharmaceutical associations and related umbrella organisations play a critical role in informing government on regulation and standards, having forged an uneven yet productive relationship wi...

Building innovative capabilities

Dr. Theo Papaioannou 

This policy brief is based on an ESRC Innogen Centre project that examined the collaborative relationships between public policy, public research and private firms in Cambridge and Scotland. Empirical evidence from this research shows that public-private collaborations in the two regions play an important role in building firm-based and policy-making capabili...

IKD Workshop - Innovating for Local Health: Addressing Local Needs in a Globalised Context

Innovating for Local Health: Addressing Local Needs in a Globalised Context
25th April 2014, 9.30 am – 5.00 pm, Jennie Lee Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA

Local health needs of developing and developed countries are multifaceted and dynamic but can be hard for local actors to define and address within the highly structured context of ‘glob...

Spotlight On: Inclusive Innovation and Development

As part of the OU's Spotlight series, Visiting Professor Smita Srinivas (TCLab, Columbia University, New York) and IKD Deputy Director Theo Papaioannou are interviewed by Julius Mugwagwa about their collaboration on inclusive innovation and development research. An edited version of the interview is also availa...

The Changing Role of South African Bio-pharma Industry Associations and Implications for Development of Healthcare Innovation Capacities

The increased importance of biopharmaceutical industry associations in influencing innovative economic performance in developing countries requires new thinking and policy regarding the institutions which diffuse and govern knowledge in emerging contexts of economic and political pluralism. Based on a Leverhulme Trust funded research project, this policy brief considers the role of biopharmaceu...

Theo Papaioannou & Julius Mugwagwa present at the Bristol International Development Conference 2014

Reflecting on theoretical, policy and practice lessons emerging from various strands of health-related research projects within Innogen, IKD and the DPP Group, Theo Papaioannou and Julius Mugwagwa gave a presentation on ‘Inclusive Innovation for Development: The Case of Health in Low and Middle Income Countries’ at the Bristol International Development Conference on March 8th at ...

Dr Theo Papaioannou

Development Policy and Practice
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1908 858 861
Fax: +44 (0) 1908 654 825
E-mail: Theo Papaioannou