Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 12: The Dynamism of Singapore’s Science and Technology Policy and its Quest for Technopreneurship
12. The dynamism of Singapore’s science and technology policy and its quest for technopreneurship Poh Kam Wong INTRODUCTION Economists have often associated technological progress with a country’s long-term economic growth. Aghion and Howitt (1997, p. 11), in particular, have argued that ‘in order to sustain a positive growth rate of output per capita in the long run, there must be continual advances in technological knowledge’. Studies have also found that the presence of technology based firms contributes positively to a nation’s economic growth and prosperity (Rothwell and Zegveld, 1981). Technological innovation activities are major drivers of economic growth, and thus a country’s national innovation system (NIS) plays a critical role in determining its long-run economic growth and development. The development and growth of Singapore’s NIS has been strongly influenced by the country’s overall economic development path. Since becoming an independent nation in 1965, Singapore has grown at an average rate of about 7.5 per cent1 and its foreign exchange reserves, at more than US$170 billion in 2008, rank among the highest in the world. Wong (2003) explained that since the attainment of political independence in 1965, the evolution of Singapore’s NIS can be classified into four stages. The first stage represents the ‘industrial take-off’ phase from 1965 to the mid-1970s, when the focus was to maximize employment creation and thus little priority was given to foster an innovative culture in the workforce. This phase was followed by the ‘local technological deepening’ stage from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s,...
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