Developing National Systems of Innovation

Developing National Systems of Innovation

University–Industry Interactions in the Global South

Edited by Eduardo Albuquerque, Wilson Suzigan, Glenda Kruss and Keun Lee

Interactions between firms and universities are key building blocks of innovation systems. This book focuses on those interactions in developing countries, presenting studies based on fresh empirical material prepared by research teams in 12 countries from three continents. The result is a more universal and dynamic view of the shaping and reshaping of interactions between firms and universities throughout different countries and phases of development. There are dimensions of those interactions that cannot be seen in the US, Europe or Japan. There are aspects and features of interactions that cannot be seen when we investigate Uganda, China or Mexico alone. In a time of increasing internationalization, interactions between firms and universities must be investigated tracking their international linkages. Professor Richard Nelson (Columbia University) writes in his preface: "The studies reported in this book are among the first to be directed to what is going on in developing countries".


Glenda Kruss, Keun Lee, Wilson Suzigan and Eduardo Albuquerque

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, economics of innovation, evolutionary economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


In 2006, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada opened a competition on “searching for paths to support the changing role of universities in the South.” This competition provided an opportunity for collaboration between research teams from 12 different countries from three continents. The objective was to fill the gap in knowledge about interactions between firms, universities, and research institutes at the periphery. Universities, research institutes, and firms are key parts of a National System of Innovation (NSI). The interactions between these key components of the NSI are starting points for a dynamic interpretation of the importance, role, and nature of science and technology. The comparative study published by Nelson (1993) is a product of previous work by Christopher Freeman, Bengt-åke Lundvall, and Richard Nelson (see Dosi et al. 1988, Part V). Nelson and Rosenberg (1993) summarized the concept of an NSI and set the framework of the comparative study. They stressed that the “intertwining of science and technology” (p. 5) was a complex feedback process that resulted in mutual positive feedback between science and technology – “science as leader and follower” (p. 6). Nelson and Rosenberg (1993, pp. 9–13) also present “the major institutional actors,” which are “firms and industrial research laboratories” and “other institutional actors” – universities and public laboratories. Those lessons shaped our initial views: investigations of interactions between firms, universities, and public laboratories were now seen as investigations of NSIs – zooming in on specific but important components.