Building Domestic Capabilities in a Global Setting
Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, K. J. Joseph, Cristina Chaminade and Jan Vang
Chapter 11: The Role of Universities in Innovation Systems in Developing Countries: Developmental University Systems – Empirical, Analytical and Normative Perspectives
Claes Brundenius, Bengt-Åke Lundvall and Judith Sutz 11.1 Introduction It has become almost trivial to assert that in the knowledge society universities are important institutions. This consensus notwithstanding, questions such as in what sense and for whom those institutions are important, are far from receiving unanimous answers. Should the major function be to promote higher education in order to serve all sectors of society or should the emphasis be to engage in research, and what are the relationships between the two types of activities? And what should a ‘third mission’ encompass: a broad interaction with society or just an interaction with the business sector aiming at promoting technical innovation in high technology? Debates are particularly entangled in developing countries, partly due to a strong presence of international advice alongside the positions held by local actors, and partly due to the level of the challenges that such countries and their universities are facing. Both in the developed and the developing countries the main emphasis is now on how universities may serve industry through direct flows of information from ongoing research. To illustrate, in a recent book with the title How Universities Promote Economic Growth edited by World Bank economists Yusuf and Nabeshima (2007) the only dimension covered is the formation of university–industry links related to research. But it is obvious that universities contribute to economic growth and development through other mechanisms, not least through the flow of graduates into the labour market. It is also important to see how...
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