Knowledge transfer: Comparing strengths, tracking trends

A new study, co-authored by UNU-MERIT, says that Europe outperforms the USA for new start-ups and licence agreements. However, Europe trails the USA for patent applications, licence income and invention disclosures. The European Knowledge Transfer Report 2013 draws on the most geographically diverse survey of knowledge transfer activities in Europe, covering more than 700 organizations in over 30 countries. Researcher Nordine Es-Sadki explains the approach, data and details below.

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Innovation and development: a cross-country comparison

In October 2013, Jun Hou successfully defended his PhD thesis on ‘Complementarity in Innovation and Development: A Cross-country Comparison’. Focusing on several thousand firms in more than 30 developing countries, he provides a range of recommendations linked to commonly found obstacles: competition, finance, skilled labour and tax regimes. In answering the questions below, Hou explains his research and how he made use of massive datasets from the World Bank.

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‘Teach a man to fish’: capability building in developing countries

A new book co-edited by Prof. Luc Soete is dedicated to Jorge Katz, a renowned scholar on the economics of innovation and technological change, particularly in Latin America. Katz is also a close friend of UNU-MERIT, and until recently served on our board of governors.

Entitled  Learning, Capability Building and Innovation for Development, the book is based on Katz’s main areas of work: processes of learning; technological capability building; the connection between innovation, productivity and competitiveness; macro-micro interactions; catching up processes including technological regimes; natural resources and the role of ‘under-the-radar’ innovation.

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Measuring innovation: the use of indicators in developing policy

The recently published ‘Handbook Of Innovation Indicators And Measurement examines indicators and statistical measurement in the context of innovation.  The book’s success, according to editor Fred Gault, is driven by the fact that the contributors are practitioners in this area; they know from first-hand experience what works and what doesn’t.  In addition, this collection also presents an agenda for the development of the subject and is expected to inform discussions at the next OECD Blue Sky Indicators conference.  

In answering the questions that follow, Fred provides further details about his area of research and explains the significance of innovation indicators in developing policy.

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AlumniWatch: From UN Research to EU Policy

For our latest blog, we asked Dr. Daniel Vertesy to share his thoughts on our PhD programme and how it shaped his career. Daniel speaks of his new life working for an EU research centre, the challenges of changing systems, and the importance of staying dynamic.

For many, it is just as surprising to hear that the UN has a University as finding out that the EU has an in-house scientific research centre. Just like the UNU’s research and training institutes located around the world, the various institutes of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) are spread across Europe and deal with a broad range of topics, from nuclear safety to photovoltaics, from deforestation to innovation. At arm’s length from the Brussels machinery, the JRC can be an exciting place for post-docs to get first-hand experience of the interaction between science and policy making at international level.

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‘Catching Up’ in the Caribbean: DEIP 2013

Mention the Caribbean and few people think of innovation. But the capacity to innovate is crucial to growth here, just as in many other developing regions around the world. Decision makers in Caribbean countries are now realizing that an effective Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy can galvanize large parts of their economies. Whether in agriculture, music or tourism, so much can be done: from helping entrepreneurs to clustering to upgrading value chains.

The creativity, desire and will are all there. What remains is to build capacity, first by sharing knowledge, then by applying new approaches to real-world needs. This was the mission background to UNU-MERIT’s latest ‘Design and Evaluation of Innovation Policies’ (DEIP) course. The June 2013 edition was an intensive one-week training course for more than 35 participants, co-organized by UNU-MERIT and the University of the West Indies (see below for an AV slideshow and six brief interviews with speakers and participants).

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Press Review May 2013: First Impressions

Welcome to our monthly internal press review, featuring the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance: from working papers to policy reports to entire books.

Our May output includes four working papers, four journal articles, two policy briefs, one book, a report chapter, and a comparison paper. These cover much of the globe: from Brazil and Ecuador, through South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania, to Afghanistan and Bangladesh — on topics such as managing technological change, responding to economic crises, building resilience to natural disasters, and upgrading social protection schemes.

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Winds of Economic Change: Blowing Up an Innovation Storm?

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) flagship Trade and Development Report (TDR2013) will deal with the ‘Winds of Change in the World Economy: Rethinking Development’. The premise of the report is that the 2008 global economic crisis amounted to a structural economic break in the world economy, and that the consequent ‘winds of change’ blowing through the world economy are changing the economic landscape in a dramatic fashion.

This has both positive as well as negative implications for developing countries. For instance, on the positive side the share of developing countries is growing rapidly; many are converging fast with the more stagnant advanced economies. Arvind Subramanian remarkably describes present times as a ‘golden age of global growth’.

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The BRICS Summit: Innovative China and the Others

Another year, another month, another big summit: with the Doha-Round of the World Trade Organization a failure, and many Western economies stumbling from one financial crisis to another, the multi-polarization of the globe is gathering pace. One case in point is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the BRICS.

The 5th BRICS Summit recently took place in Durban, South Africa. Commentary on the BRICS and their summit often took contrarian positions. Some cheered the group’s existence and plan for a development bank, arguing it is high time for the emerging world to create its own institutions to replace the Western-dominated World Bank and IMF. Others reiterated their doubts whether the BRICS can be a coherent group at all. Some also tried to explain why and how the summit’s hosts, South Africa, a small and sluggishly performing economy compared to the others, came to be a member and how the country may end up being the 35th province of China.


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First Impressions: Press Review February 2013

Welcome to our internal press review, featuring the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance: from working papers to policy reports to entire books. Expect more from ‘First Impressions’ at the end of every month.

February 2013 brings five new working papers, on issues ranging from IQ performance to innovation capacity to fixing the global climate. Geographically, the focus spreads from the Netherlands to Brazil and across 24 developing countries.

Pakistanis affected by their country's widespread, torrential floods receive wheat flour and other provisions from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Alipur, in the Muzaffargarh district of Punjab Province. Continue reading