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"My research career owes a lot to Charles Cooper. As I often told him, I seemed to have spent most of my time following in his footsteps as he moved from one research organization to the next.

I met Charles Cooper for the first time in 1973, when I was a young graduate student from the University of Ghent on a study visit to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, Brighton. Charles was a Fellow there and my group had an opportunity to interview and talk extensively to him and another of his colleagues, Raphie Kaplinsky.

This first encounter with Charles, who was extremely witty and entertaining, left quite an impression, at least on me. As a result of these discussions, I became convinced that the issue of the transfer of technology to developing countries and technology adaptation in these countries would be the focus of my Masters research thesis. And indeed I proceeded to do so. This was the beginning of a close research relationship that was to span 30 years.

Thereafter I successfully applied for a British Council fellowship and became a PhD student at Sussex University with Charles as my promoter. Upon completion of my PhD training, I applied to join the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the same university as a research fellow. But once I got there, Charles had moved to the Science Policy Research Unit (now SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research ), also at Sussex. It was May 1979 and IDS had just been declared a so-called "quango" (a quasi autonomous non-governmental organization) by the newly elected Mrs Thatcher. As a result most of the government resources on which IDS had been dependent - including my salary were suddenly frozen. So, I followed Charles to SPRU and quickly learned to survive on research contracts. The time spent here with Charles and Chris Freeman on the so-called TEMPO (Technology and Employment) was to be my most productive research period.

But Charles was on the move again. The Netherlands was calling and he became a professorial fellow at the Institute of Social Studies. I moved to Stanford and we lost contact for a few years. But then extraordinarily when I applied for a professorship at the University of Maastricht in 1985, Charles called and told me about the feasibility study he had been asked to carry out in Maastricht on what was to become UNU-INTECH. So I came to Maastricht and again had the chance to collaborate on the feasibility study with Charles and other colleagues, including Martin Fransman and Jeffrey James. Getting funding for the new institute was no easy task and at one stage when the probability of getting the funds together seemed low, Charles suggested that I should explore other options. I took his advice and proceeded to set up MERIT in 1988. But with the creation of MERIT the opportunities for funding a UNU institute suddenly increased. Why and how, is something I will probably write in my own memoirs - suffice to say that Charles persevered and wrote the final draft of the UNU proposal the night of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster."

Luc Soete , Director, UNU-MERIT

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