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".

Chapter 1: Bracing for change: making universities and firms partners for innovation in sub-Saharan Africa

Glenda Kruss, John O. Adeoti and Dani Nabudere

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


Universities are traditionally known as centres of research and higher education. Globally, universities have undergone re-invention and renewal in tandem with societal change. In recent years, community development, and in particular the stimulation and spin-off of knowledge-intensive industries, has been proposed as a major contribution of universities to society. Etzkowitz and Chunyan (2008) observed that, while universities played a secondary role in early industrial society by providing trained personnel and basic research, universities now play an increasingly prominent role in the modern knowledge-based society, contributing the basis on which new industries and firms are built. Although this phenomenon has been pronounced in developed and newly industrializing economies, many developing countries are yet to realize significant change in the traditional view of universities as ivory towers of knowledge. Universities in such contexts largely remain institutions where knowledge is generated, transmitted, and preserved, with neither cognizance of its economic usefulness nor the aim of solving problems that would result in economic and social advancement. Developing countries that lag behind in the transformation of their knowledge institutions in response to the dynamics of intensely competitive industrial systems are characterized by relatively low capacity for the generation and use of economically relevant knowledge. Theory and empirical studies show that technological innovation is the engine of growth, and the instrument of structural change in competitive economies (Solow 1957; Nelson and Winter 1982; Perez and Soete 1988; Romer 1990; Barro and Sala-i-Martin 1995; Kim 1997; Lall 2001).