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Farida Mortada

Farida Mortada

S.J.D. 2018

fmortada at


“Governing Innovation: The ‘Co-Production’ of Law, Innovation and Society in the Case of Germany’s Energy Transition”

My dissertation studies the social and political dynamics that constitute processes of innovation – understood as “creative destruction” – and how they relate to broader processes of socio-technical change, through the lens of law and in the context of a case study of Germany’s transition to renewable energy technologies. The dissertation seeks to shed light on the constant interaction between – or “co-production” of – law, innovation and society to make the case for considering the constitutive role of law in shaping technological paths, beyond the assumption that technological change is a natural application of objective scientific advancement and in contradistinction to the mainstream contemporary innovation policy discourse that is imbued with narrow and instrumental conceptions of law. I argue that to understand how innovation occurs and how it is and ought to be governed, we must expand our views of both law and of technology and how they interact with society, by asking how law shapes and is in turn (re)shaped by social and political contestations that constitute the visions and values underlying choices of technological trajectories. Rather than playing a peripheral, instrumental role, it is my contention that law lies at the heart of innovation processes and conditions the choices, speed, direction and outcomes of the development and deployment of technologies. This reveals new avenues for thinking creatively about alternative modes of innovation governance and policy potentials that recognize how law can accelerate or decelerate the speed and determine the direction of technological change and how it can open up the space for public participation in shaping technological paths.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • The Role of Law in Economic Thought with Professor Emeritus Duncan Kennedy, Principal Faculty Supervisor (2013-2015); Professor Christine Desan (2015-Present, following Prof. Kennedy’s retirement), Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship with Professor Holger Spamann, Harvard Law School
  • International Economic Law: Theories & Critiques of Development Approaches with Professor Mark Wu, Harvard Law School

Additional Research Interests

  • Legal Theory: Science and Innovation Law and Policy
  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Energy Law and Policy: Policies and Technologies for Renewable Energy Transitions
  • Law and Economics: Comparative Institutional Design
  • Venture Capital Finance and Corporate Governance of Cleantech Companies
  • Comparative Law
  • Law and Development


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. 2018
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program, 2011-2012 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Cairo University, Egypt, LL.B., 2009
  • American University in Cairo, Egypt, B.A. in Economics, 2009

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, 2018-2019, Research Assistant to Prof. Christine Desan
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis Teaching Fellow, Fall 2015
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, Visiting Scholars and Visiting Researchers Colloquium Series Coordinator, 2015- 2016
  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Writing Workshop Teaching Fellow, 2014- 2015

Additional Information

Languages: English (fluent), German (fluent), French (basic), Arabic (native)

Member of the Egyptian Bar Association since 2009

Last Updated: October 5, 2018