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 3: Features of interactions between public research organizations and industry in Latin America: the perspective of researchers and firms

Gabriela Dutrénit and Valeria Arza

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


The National Systems of Innovation (NSIs) of Latin American countries have been shaped by a set of factors. First, institutional building emerged from the intertwining of old institutions generated during the import substitution period and new institutions that emerged after the liberalization process since the 1980s, which sometimes implies lack of consistency in policy guidelines. Second, persistent macro instability and dramatic crises episodes (in the 1980s, 1990s, and currently) affected the long-term behaviour and performance of firms in the region. Third, levels of poverty reflect social needs that have not been satisfied, and income inequality creates power asymmetries, which undermine the possibility of building durable consensus and divert the design of public policy from the needs of the majority. Partly as a consequence of these factors, the NSIs of Latin American countries have not followed the path of learning societies (Arocena and Sutz 2000a): innovative capabilities are rather poor (e.g., low investment in private research and development [R & D]); the proportion of human resources in science and technology (S & T) is low; and there is a general perception that the interactions between universities and public research organizations (PROs), and industry are weak (Cimoli 2000; Cassiolato et al. 2003; López 2007; Dutrénit et al. 2010a). PROs play a key role in upgrading the NSI because they create and disseminate knowledge.

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