Book - Harvard University Press

The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions: Rethinking the Nature and Nurture of Research

Research powers innovation and technoscientific advance, but it is due for a rethink, one consistent with its deeply holistic nature, requiring deeply human nurturing.

Featured in the Fall 2021 Newsletter »


Research is a deeply human endeavor that must be nurtured to achieve its full potential. As with tending a garden, care must be taken to organize, plant, feed, and weed—and the manner in which this nurturing is done must be consistent with the nature of what is being nurtured.

In The Genesis of Technoscientific RevolutionsVenkatesh Narayanamurti and Jeffrey Tsao propose a new and holistic system, a rethinking of the nature and nurturing of research. They share lessons from their vast research experience in the physical sciences and engineering, as well as from perspectives drawn from the history and philosophy of science and technology, research policy and management, and the evolutionary biological, complexity, physical, and economic sciences.

Narayanamurti and Tsao argue that research is a recursive, reciprocal process at many levels: between science and technology; between questions and answer finding; and between the consolidation and challenging of conventional wisdom. These fundamental aspects of the nature of research should be reflected in how it is nurtured. To that end, Narayanamurti and Tsao propose aligning organization, funding, and governance with research; embracing a culture of holistic technoscientific exploration; and instructing people with care and accountability.

Front Cover of The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions


"Essential reading. By integrating the previous work of leading science and technology scholars, creating new terminology, concepts, and logical structures, and including concrete examples, these two eminent leaders make a compelling case for rethinking how we understand and nurture research to advance the public good."Laura Diaz Anadon, Chaired Professor of Climate Change Policy, University of Cambridge

"Enlightening and important. Narayanamurti and Tsao demolish long-accepted tenets of science and technology research by exposing flaws, misconceptions, and anachronisms, then propose a visionary new framework. Invaluable for anyone leading a research enterprise, recruiting talent, or devising new funding mechanisms."Nancy Andrews, former Dean of the Duke University School of Medicine

"A thought-provoking journey. By transcending widespread but limiting beliefs, The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions explores how to better understand research and unleash its potential. Highly recommended for all policy makers and leaders interested in improving the effectiveness of research and developing high-performing research institutions."Qi-Kun Xue, Director of the Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences

"Highly accomplished researchers Narayanamurti and Tsao synthesize new and old ideas about how science and technology work together, sharing audacious insights that can improve research outcomes. This book will be a rewarding read for all who want to understand innovation and accelerate it."John P. Holdren, former Science Advisor to President Obama and Senate-confirmed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

About This Book

Front Cover Crop of The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions

The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions: Rethinking the Nature and Nurture of Research
For more information on this publication: Please contact Science, Technology, and Public Policy
For Academic Citation:

Narayanamurti, Venkatesh and Jeffrey Y. Tsao. The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions: Rethinking the Nature and Nurture of Research. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, November 2021.

The Authors