Chapter 2: The Recent Evolution of the Biotech Local Innovation System of Minas Gerais: University, Local Firms and Transnational Corporations
José Eduardo Cassiolato, Graziela Ferrero Zucoloto, Márcia Siqueira Rapini and Sara Gonçalves Antunes de Souza
2. The recent evolution of the biotech local innovation system of Minas Gerais: university, local firms and transnational corporations José Eduardo Cassiolato, Graziela Ferrero Zucoloto, Márcia Siqueira Rapini and Sara Gonçalves Antunes de Souza INTRODUCTION Biotechnology refers to a broad and complex set of enabling technologies which have in common the use of biological cells or molecules applied in the production of products and services related to life sciences, biology, chemistry, medicine, agriculture and computation sciences (bioinformatics), among others. Biotechnology products have been increasingly used in vital areas such as health, agriculture and food production, environment, new materials and new sources of energy. Brazil has been nurturing the development of biotechnology for more than 20 years. In fact, fostering biotechnology has been one of the central tenets of the Brazilian science and technology policies during this period. One of the main positive results of this policy is a significant increase in scientific and technological capabilities. Building on previous specialization in agricultural research and health and biological sciences, novel biotechnological research has flourished in Brazil. However, these capabilities have not been translated into a more complex productive structure, at least not to a degree comparable to scientific development. This is the more striking since a series of policy mechanisms have been put into practice since the mid-1980s to stimulate spin-off firms from university research, to support venture capital initiatives and to encourage joint university–industry research projects. This chapter aims at discussing these problems using a case study to...
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