Asia-Pacific National Innovation Systems
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Asia-Pacific Forum - Diagnosis of NIS

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The Forum started with a welcome address by Mr. Somchai Chatratana, National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Royal Thai Government. This was followed by welcome remarks made by Mr. Michael Williamson, Head of APCTT-ESCAP, and Mr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India. The key note address was given by Mr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of Thailand, on “NIS and Development of STI Strategies in the Open Innovation Framework”. He opined that Thailand had been stuck in the middle income group and uneven economic structure leading to social disparity. He noted that STI was for the first time introduced in Thailand in April 2012 and its vision and strategies for 2012-2021 stand on the pillar of green innovation for sustainable economic growth. Mr. N. Srinivasan, Coordinator, Science, Technology and Innovation, APCTT-ESCAP, provided the background of the NIS Forum and offered the vote of thanks.

The first technical session focused on “NIS Diagnosis and STI Strategy Development – Current Methodologies and Emerging Approaches”. The session was moderated by Mr. Chinawut Chinaprayoon, STI Office, MOST, Thailand. Mr. N. Srinivasan of APCTT-ESCAP gave an overview of current and emerging approaches on measuring STI indicators. He noted
that measuring of STI indicators was essential for evidence-based STI policymaking and its governance, as well as for the balanced STI-based development of three pillars of sustainable development (Economy-Society- Environment). The major components of NIS framework and strategies were STI infrastructure, skilled human resources, international and national linkages and partnerships among academia, R&D institutions and industries, technology and innovation financing, SMEs, major manufacturing industrial sectors, technology intermediaries, etc. He further analysed the critical challenges being faced by the developing countries, mainly institutional capacity, inadequate national STI data, lack of knowledge about scattered data across national ministries, institutions and others.

Mr. Ravi Srinivas, Consultant, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India spoke on Open Innovation Framework as an STI Strategy wherein he differentiated between open and closed innovations. He mentioned that there were two facets of open innovation: sourcing of technology and knowledge from outside partners such as
universities, suppliers, customers and collaborators; and aiming for revenue from knowledge developed in-house that was not commercialized. Open innovation’s objective was to build alliances/partnerships across different actors with different capacities so that they complemented each other’s capabilities and worked together. A key feature of the open innovation framework was that it built up synergy through collaboration. Another feature was that it enhanced the network effort. According to Metcalfe, the value of the network was proportional to the square of the number of connected users which meant more the number of users more was the value. In case of open innovation, a similar logic could be applied to collaborators and networks within an open innovation framework. While open innovation was externally focused and collaborative, innovation networks brought in cross- organizational innovation.

Ms. Sarala Balachandran, Chief Scientist and Project Director, Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) Unit, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, spoke on OSDD model and its attributions. She pointed out that drug discovery process was risky, prone to failure, expensive and long drawn. Furthermore, drug discovery and development were driven by the pharmaceutical industry, patents and market economics. Such an approach was not feasible In the case of neglected diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, where there was no economic benefit in drug discovery/development. She described OSDD as an alternative model of drug discovery and development. The OSDD strategy rested on being a porous-walled funnel that facilitated free flow of ideas/projects. It brought in more eyeballs to look at the inside and enabled redundancies and parallelization. She listed OSDD's notable features as: open access of data, resources and results to foster collaboration to accelerate drug discovery; real-time data sharing; click-wrap license agreement; patent only to ensure quality assurance in downstream processes; subsequent innovations that would remain in open source; and affordability. OSDD pioneered by the Government of India was now an internationally reputed drug discovery initiative, she remarked.

Dr. Bojan Radej of Slovenian Evaluation Society, through an online video presentation, discussed the impact evaluation of Slovenian innovation policy using the “Four Capital Model” (human, financial, natural and manufactured capitals). The evaluation confirmed that direct impacts of innovation policy in Slovenia were more favourable than indirect, pointing to weak inter-sectoral (horizontal) achievements and lower-than- achievable synergies. Comparisons also indicated that synergy in impacts was larger than coherence between planned goals. While implementation was surpassing expectations, innovation policy in Slovenia was not enhanced in very innovative way, he declared.

In the second technical session, a panel discussion deliberated on the key issues in NIS diagnosis and STI strategy development in the Asia-Pacific region. While the panelists were of unanimous view that open innovation was both challenging and rewarding, it was suggested that national governments needed to provide adequate security to technology innovators for participating in open innovation activities. It was further suggested that promotion and sustenance of open innovation would depend mainly on private sector funding as in the case of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in India and elsewhere. The discussions highlighted important sectors for open innovation in the region such as food processing, traditional medicine, renewable energy and agriculture.

In the third technical session, country presentations were made by experts from key national institutions of Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The country representatives shared best practices and methodologies of NIS diagnosis and STI strategy development in their respective countries. In addition, the UNESCO representative also discussed about the GO SPIN tools and methodologies for STI policy analysis and monitoring in developing countries.

The delegate from Bangladesh, Mr. Mustafa K. Mujeri, mentioned that the country’s innovation capacity was low, despite economic growth. Bangladesh still needed to identify the tool and strategies, especially for the small firms. Digital economy and ICT were the key sectors for the countries to deliver desired services at the citizens’ doorsteps. Mr. Mujeri informed that market-promotion factors needed to be enhanced and barriers removed to improve trade. Bangladesh’s Vision 2021 plan focused on STI for gender equality. He outlined the country’s issues related to NIS and STI, and explained the policies and strategies that Bangladesh adopted to address those issues. Mr. Mujeri pointed out that effective effort was required in the field of innovation and strong linkages needed to be built up. The future policy framework should react to globalization and enhance property rights and other market factors. Firms and SMEs could improve linkages to cooperate with partners to drive the cost down. It was mentioned that the technology transfer process should be focused in the country and oligopoly or monopoly needed to be avoided. Bangladesh innovation largely depended on multi-national companies to bring product, knowledge and personnel, and therefore the trade barriers for FDI must be removed.

Mr. Zhu Xinghua, the representative from the People’s Republic of China, informed that there were different agencies to perform R&D in the country (e.g. over more than 40 agencies managing 100 STI programmes) but there was lack of coordination between them, which led to reduced efficiency. The share of scientific research in the gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) at 17.3 per cent was lower than that in the developed countries, where the average GERD level was above 35 per cent. In 2013, GERD accounted for 2.08 per cent of GDP. However, almost 83 per cent of it was spent on development, with basic and applied research taking a backseat. The share of government research institutes’ R&D expenditure in the national total R&D expenditure declined from 28.8 per cent in 2000 to 17.2 per cent in 2009. R&D intensity was still low and the investment in basic research insufficient. Innovation capacities of enterprises were very weak, with only 25 per cent of large/medium-sized enterprises having their own R&D centres and R&D input accounting for a mere 0.71 per cent of their total sales revenue. The general feature of regional distribution on S&T resources in China was very unbalanced, particularly in terms of the personnel, expenditure and papers published in R&D.

There had been a huge policy change in the country and medium and long-term programmes were established in 2006 with a push towards “indigenous innovation”. In 2013, the government put forward an innovation-driven development strategy, which consolidated into a focused vision to make the People’s Republic of China “innovation-driven country” by 2020. The country’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) launched “Guidance for STI Reform” earlier in 2015 under which government funding would be managed by the private sector. The country reorganized the S&T programme into five categories and taps more regional government funding and PPP to address the unbalanced economic development. It was envisioned that the revision of law for transformation of S&T achievement could bring more creativity.

The delegate from India, Mr. Praveen Arora, spoke on the national innovation survey that outlined on centrality of innovation, growth and competitiveness of economies. The recognition of importance of innovation in enhancing the competitiveness of an economy had shifted the focus to innovation policies and hence innovation surveys. Innovation being defined as the transformation of new ideas/knowledge into commercial applications or process of development of knowledge of economic relevance, R&D was only one of the several inputs along the innovation chain, which also included various elements such as demonstration, commercialization and diffusion.

Mr. Arora said that the innovation survey contained a total of 9,001 samples out of which 3,184 were innovative firms. The survey revealed that 86 per cent firms with innovation potential had workforce less than 100 and only 2.2 per cent firms had workforce more than 500. This revealed the significance of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which dominated all types of innovation. About 70 per cent of firms had innovations in the form of introducing new machines, followed by quality and standards related activities by 40 per cent of the firms. About 53 per cent of innovative firms didn’t employ any scientist or engineer. Larger firms were more active than their smaller counterparts in R&D activities, technology in-licensing, employing qualified labour force, and organisational and marketing practices. Product innovations by the small firms were mainly minor innovations and of ‘new-to-the-firm’ type. As such, large firms engaged in product innovation had gained increased market share. Innovations by the small firms were mostly by using their own sources. Out of the total innovative firms, 36.90 per cent had formal R&D setup and were thus ahead in product and process innovation. The focus of firms that didn’t have formal R&D setup (i.e. non-R&D firms) was on new machines. R&D firms did more of organisational and marketing innovations and than non-R&D firms. Among innovative firms, 59.89 per cent were involved with non-technological innovations, out of which 46.48 per cent of the innovative firms were into marketing innovations and 43.09 per cent were into organizational innovations. There were no clear relationships between size, age and ownership of the firms with the occurrence of non-technological innovations. Innovative firms inclined towards non-technological innovations were slightly ahead of their peers in gains from innovations, in comparison to the innovative firms that were not into non-technological innovations. Mr. Arora opined that internal source appeared as the widely prevalent source of innovation by the firms while external sources were important for innovations in introduction of new machines. On average, half the firms provided training to the employees and of these, more than 80 per cent firms relied on internal arrangements for training of their employees.

Some of the barriers to innovation were identified as access to knowledge/information, availability of skilled labour force, access to market information and availability of information technology. Other barriers such as infrastructure and government regulatory requirements scored highest as market barrier, followed by established players in the market. Internal resources or finance remained a strong cost barrier for all types of innovations. Innovation cost for ‘product’, ‘process’ and ‘alternative material’ was another cost barrier expressed by more than 70 per cent of the innovators. Access to national institutional facilities (such as NIS) for technological support to innovation, institutional sources of finance, institutional training programme for human resource development were generally very rare or low, indicative of the disconnect between innovation infrastructure and the production system. Regional Innovation System (RIS), on the other hand, had high positive correlation with innovation potentiality of the states. States ranked lower in RIS also had poor innovation potentiality. Weak RIS led to ineffective innovation eco-system. Sectoral Innovation System (SIS) can provide a short-cut route to trigger innovation by initiating high-tech, high-innovation led industries in the states. Sustainability would depend on the corresponding responses from RIS and NIS. In innovation-related activities, India was far behind the developed countries in intra-mural R&D, but compared well with countries like Poland. India also compared poorly for extra-mural R&D and acquisition of external knowledge. Indian firms, compared with innovative firms in other countries, widely used external sources for information and knowledge and had experienced similar level of outcome/gains from innovation. The national innovation survey report was the first of its kind that bench-marked innovation potential of Indian firms, largely MSMEs, while corroborating the findings of the pilot innovation study. The survey highlighted small firms acquiring new machines, and striving for quality and standards. Disconnect between the innovation support system and the production system needed to be bridged. Linkage across lead actors or players of the NIS required strengthening. Sectoral strengths could be leveraged to attain high innovation potentiality, but systems required to be more inclusive of small firms. Barriers of innovation needed to be addressed for strengthening of innovation for the global competitiveness.

Ms. Trina Fizzanty, the representative from Indonesia, informed that according to the National Long-Term Development Planning 2005-2025, the country would be self-reliant and advanced by 2025 focusing on the three dimensions to development namely human development, sector development and equalization in development. She spoke on the Indonesian innovation survey that was initiated in 2000 and started with survey/census in R&D, but had evolved with time and was currently focusing on survey in the business sector. National institutional mechanisms were in place for STI strategy development, policy-making and governance in the country involving ministries, R&D institutions, universities, etc. The country still had some challenges in mainstreaming gender in STI despite the presence of many laws on gender mainstreaming. Role of women in S&T was relatively low, especially in rural areas, in consonance with the higher percentage of women illiterates in the rural areas. She flagged the low participation and representation of women in S&T as one of the main challenges of gender mainstreaming in Indonesia and cited a variety of reasons for it.

The country faced critical issues and challenges in planning and carrying out NIS diagnosis, STI policy-making and strategy development due to lack of policy capacity, administrative capacity and data availability. Major issues in NIS were: the Low percentage of national research findings and developed technologies adopted by domestic users; the insufficient trust by industry (and government) on domestic R&D institutions for developing reliable technologies; existing regulations and policies that had not contributed to creation of an innovation-friendly ecosystem; and inadequate funding for R&D activities. Significant contributions in strengthening NIS had come in the recent past from government, private sector, industries, research institutions and universities. Specific national capacity building needs and technical cooperation proposals related to NIS diagnosis, STI policy-making, strategy development and governance had been taken up in the country. She cited the potential areas for regional cooperation in STI in Asia-Pacific region mainly by diagnosis and developing sectoral innovation systems, diagnosing and developing regional innovation system and research collaboration.

The delegate from Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Hojat Hajihoseini, spoke on several STI challenges in the country. The expenditure on R&D was merely 0.7 per cent of GDP and the government controlled 80 per cent of the economy. Most of the technology and knowledge on NIS came from other countries, although the linkages were still weak. The country’s industrial sector lacked effective competition as the key driving force for innovation and technological change. While the presence of business support organizations/business associations and consumer groups was insignificant, the government R&D institutions carried out notable research work. Characterising STI activity in the Islamic Republic of Iran as supply-driven, Mr. Hajihoseini noted that most large enterprises in the country did not have in-house R&D capacity and therefore tended to rely on research institutes for product development and problem innovation. Consequently, the country’s research institutes/universities had built up impressive capabilities ranging from basic research to product and process development.

A unique feature of the nation’s innovation system was the marginal role played by foreign companies, with the exception of the oil and gas industry. Mr. Hajihoseini noted that the country established a Supreme Council), chaired by the President, on for Science, Research and Technology (SCSRT – one of the only two such councils in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It also established a coordinating secretariat within the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology to provide a basis for overall goal and priority setting within an integrated innovation-based framework. The country’s 5th development plan focused on designing innovation strategies, strengthening user-producer links, expanding R&D fund to cover the private sector, especially SME, and human resources development in R&D. He opined that the policy approach of the nation should focus on both supply side (education and health) and demand side (economic actor in specific sectors). It also needed to, among others: design an innovation strategy; implement sectoral innovation strategies; foster research and technological capacity through joint ventures and licensing agreements; and develop performance- and future-oriented prioritization and selection criteria for R&D.

Mr. Manothong Vonglokham representing Lao People’s Democratic Republic spoke on the 7th National Plan (2011) of the country. The country had certain STI legislations in place to promote and apply technology across areas such as intellectual property rights, standards and metrology, science and technology, bio-safety, etc. Some legislations being drafted cover e-commerce, technology transfer, STI fund management and high technology. The STI strategy had six Action Plans targeting: dissemination of and create awareness on STI; improvement of STI framework and systematization of STI activities management; human resources development in STI; R&D application in priority areas and sectors (IT, biotech, renewable and new materials, machinery and automation); providing ST services for society and people in remote areas; and cooperation with international agencies. Lao People’s Democratic Republic received a lot of assistance from abroad for reviewing the policies to come up with a future oriented action plan. With the assistance from the Republic of Korea, the diagnosis of the country’s NIS was being done using 3C/3A model, which had identified four major issues: poverty trap; natural resources trap (i.e. being a landlocked country, the export was of inferior quality); structural bottlenecks of ISR; and policy gaps between jobs, market and education. Solutions suggested to addressing these issues included: need to identify target industrial product; need to support strategic R&D, HR or skilled workers; and STI infrastructure for the targeted products. While the government was the key actor since it had the highest capacity, the action plan also provided responsibilities to other key stakeholders.

Ms. Mareena Mahpudz from Malaysia stated that STI policies in the country were basically of two types: macro national policies and micro sectoral policies. The National Policy on Science, Technology & Innovation (NPSTI) was a national macro policy that governed various STI elements – such as R&D, ST infrastructure and STI governance – in Malaysia. NSPTI had been formulated in the context of various national transformation programmes, such as the Government Transformation Plan, the Economic Transformation Programme, the National Social Transformation Programme and the Political Transformation Programme. It aimed to advance and mainstream STI at all levels and in all sectors. The country supported open innovation, as it could solve societal challenges that Malaysia faced. According to the National Survey of Innovation 2012, number of companies that adopt open innovation was relatively low, and the few examples from the country are: traditional and grassroots innovation technologies that are being successfully commercialized; introduction of plant mutation breeding award that targets farmers to receive benefit from this; fishing site identification system (FSI), etc. There were few challenges in the implementation of open innovation, such as inadequate measures to promote it and poor realization of value from the innovation ecosystem (as most were SMEs reluctant to change over to new innovations).

Mr. Ram Chandra Dhakal, the representative from Nepal, gave a brief overview of the country’s economic growth in the last decade and compared the position of the country with various global indicators. He cited the seven Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and described Nepal’s status in terms of each MDG. He noted that as per the poverty status report from Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS), the poverty level had declined in Nepal to 23.8 per cent, but the poverty intensity was higher and the gap between rich and poor remained wide. Poverty alleviation remained a very important aim for the country, and the Poverty Alleviation Fund had been used to facilitate demand-led programmes in line with five guiding principles – antondaya targeting the poor, social inclusion, transparency, community demand and the mechanism of direct fund flow to the communities. The programmes were being implemented through formation of community organizations and their institutional development with the objective of ensuring full representation of the poor communities for implementing the community-owned programmes. Nepal was planning to upgrade its status from that of a Least Developed Country to that of a Developing Country by 2022. However, that would require a double-digit economic growth rate, while the average annual growth rate for the past 10 years had been just 4.1 per cent.

Mr. Dhakal said that the national government provided support to develop decentralized working and funding modalities based on self-governance, building strong ownership, and ensuring accountability and transparency. The introduction of appropriate technologies in different sectors, for example for rainwater harvesting and arsenic mitigation, was well adjusted for local conditions. Nepal achieved important progress in the past few years, with increased political stability and substantial gains made in reducing poverty and expanding access to services. However, economic growth had been modest compared to the neighboring countries. Mr. Dhakal opined that Nepal needed a new economic model to achieve faster and sustained growth as well as further improvements in human development and poverty eradication. Investment, the bedrock of a sustainable growth model, was inadequate in the country. Alleviating the regulatory burden on companies might help in expanding operations in Nepal and making the country attractive to foreign investors. A minimum reform agenda could include unlocking Nepal’s hydro-potential, expanding connectivity within Nepal and with its neighbors, improving the supply of water and sanitation services, inclusive public policies for poverty alleviation and for providing economic cushion to the people, boosting agricultural productivity and diversity, enhancing the poverty impact of social protection programs, and preparing for decentralization. He concluded by saying that with the commitment of major political parties and the government a competitive and globally integrated economy could be developed in the country by promoting export-oriented and import-substituting industries, ensuring good industrial relations, improving human resources development, increasing employment opportunities, raising Human Development Index (HDI) score to 0.781 from the current 0.462 and ensuring two-thirds investments from private sector by attracting domestic and foreign investors.
Mr. Anwar-ul-Hassan Gilani from Pakistan spoke on key national development goals, and on the national institutional mechanisms for STI policymaking and governance. He said that the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST), headed by the Prime Minister, was Pakistan's apex body on all S&T matters. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) were responsible for providing inputs to NCST on STI policies. PCST was involved in diagnosing the national innovation system comprising R&D institutions, industry and universities. The diagnosis of NIS was carried out through periodic peer review of R&D organizations by PCST, special expert committees/commissions constituted by MoST/government for reviewing organizations, and STI indicators (quantitative). Mr. Gilani said that PCST was the agency responsible for biennial STI data collection and analysis. He briefed about the process of development of STI indicators by PCST. Funding for STI mainly came from the government.

Mr. Gilani pointed out the major STI-related challenges in the country such as: strengthening STI capacity, harmonizing sectoral policies (e.g., commerce & trade, industrial, education, environment, energy, etc.) with the STI policy, gaining of political will for STI policy implementation, building trust between industrialists and researchers, involving the private sector in R&D, building STI policy expertise and ensuring funding for baseline studies needed for formulating appropriate STI policies. He cited some specific capacity building needs in the country, mainly capacity building of MoST and PCST for STI policy making and strategy development, capacity building of PCST as an STI policy think tank, joint STI policy research projects, assistance in conducting industrial innovation surveys, baseline/benchmarking studies for developing STI policy, joint workshops and conferences on STI policy issues of mutual interest, and exchange of STI policy professionals. He proposed a study on NIS diagnosis in Asia-Pacific countries with the formation of a joint expert group consisting of professionals from relevant organizations of the countries who wished to be part of that activity. The expert group could jointly develop the methodology and evaluation parameters for NIS diagnosis and use it for NIS studies in the countries and a consolidated report produced and disseminated among all Asia-Pacific countries for their benefit. He suggested that APCTT-ESCAP fund or arrange funding from donors for the purpose. He also suggested some potential areas of regional collaboration in STI, such as energy/alternative energy, climate change, agriculture/food security, water, ICTs, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and traditional medicine – drug discovery/development.

The expert from UNESCO, Mr. Ahmed Fahmi, spoke on UNESCO’s Global Observatory for STI Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN), a global observatory on science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) policies, policy instruments and indicators that provides new and revolutionary tools for decision-makers and SETI policy experts. The GO-SPIN platform was based on a recently designed methodology for the standardization and systematization of information on STI policies, policy instruments and indicators, and consisted of a cluster of databases coupled with innovative graphic and analytic tools. The prototype was in operation for the Latin American Countries (LAC). GO-SPIN had four goals, namely: capacity building – training high-rank national officials to design, implement and evaluate a variety of STI policy instruments at national and regional level; standard setter – through the Paris Manual provides a normalization for the STI policy instruments surveys; data collection – worldwide distribution of GO-SPIN surveys, prioritizing Africa, Arab States, Asia-Pacific and LAC; and finally GO-SPIN platform – implement an open-access, on-line platform for decision-makers, knowledge-brokers, specialists and general public with STI policies.

Mr. Fami described policy instruments as the means employed by those who exercise power and authority to influence the decisions made by other agents. They induced and motivated individuals, groups, firms, organizations and institutions to behave in accordance with the guidelines and criteria established by the policies. They were the connecting link between the purpose expressed in a policy statement and its implementation in practice. GO-SPIN worked through a national inventory of STI systems. The inventory was entered in an open access database managed by UNESCO, and also published in the UNESCO’s series of GO-SPIN country profiles. Most importantly, the inventory served as a monitoring tool and could be used to improve the STI governance as well as for training and research purposes, he said. The golden rule for the implementation of STI policies was to focus on a four-tier structure: policy or national multi-annual plan; legal devices (for different sectors); organizational structures (different national ministries); and operational policy instruments (organized in a coherent way to generate synergies in order to obtain a particular long-term effect). In Africa, through GO-SPIN capacity building activities, national inventories were being carried out since 2012 in cooperation with the African Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation (AOSTI). Mr. Fami also mentioned that STI had a great importance in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs), as promoting an enabling policy environment for STI would be a driver for sustainable development at national and regional levels.

Mr. Adoracion Navarro, representing the Philippines, gave an outline of NIS in the country. The National Science and Technology Plan envisioned the Philippines as a producer of globally competitive high technology products and services by 2020, achieved through: a well developed S&T-based small and medium enterprises (SME) sector; world class S&T universities; and internationally recognized scientists and engineers. As the national S&T agency, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was: mandated to provide central direction, leadership and coordination of scientific and technological efforts in the country; and tasked to formulate S&T policies and programmes geared to and utilized in areas of maximum economic and social benefits for the people. It was also primarily responsible for the collection, management and dissemination of STI statistics in the country, Mr. Navarro said. The Technical Working Committee of DOST studied the NIS in 2007 and some of the issues and challenges that came up in STI strategy and development were identified as: weak public-private collaboration in R&D; weak technology transfer system, issues on technology ownership and information sharing; weak support to science and technology, inadequate funding of R&D; lack of resources for technology transfer; weak intellectual property culture among technology generators; declining human capital in R&D and policy setbacks.

The Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016) highlighted STI strategy and development as vital in driving SME development; however, SME productivity remained low due to lack of access to new technology, weak technological capabilities, failure to engage in innovation and R&D activities, low productivity, lack of awareness for science and technology (S&T), and scarcity of S&T human resources. The Philippine National Innovation Strategy called “Filipinnovation” aimed to foster a culture of innovation to make the country globally competitive. In accordance with the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, Filipinnovation focused on strengthening human capital investments for STI, stimulating STI, enhancing management of STI system and upgrading the Filipino mindset in S&T. Several initiatives for SMEs were encouraging and assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to adopt technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations and increase their productivity and competitiveness through provision of technology, product standards and testing, packaging and labelling, database management and information system, and encouraging linkages and networking. Technology Incubation for Commercialization (TECHNICOM) aimed to fast-track the transfer and commercialization of research results developed by both government institutes and the private sector. Other initiatives included signing of memorandum of agreement between DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) and Association of PAQE Professionals, Inc. (APP), continuing capacity building programmes, and continuing coordination with international institutions such as the APCTT-ESCAP.

Ms. Sirimali Fernando from Sri Lanka listed economic development, social justice and environmental quality as the three pillars of the countries as National Innovation Programmes (NIP) aimed at harnessing STI for national development. The National Science and Technology Commission (NASTEC) and the Coordinating Secretariat for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI) were involved in national strategy development, policy making and governance in the country. NASTEC helped in policy development, while COSTI facilitated evidence-based strategic STI interventions. More open innovation happened in the public sector while closed innovation predominated in the private sector. Mainstreaming of gender in STI policies, programmes and support mechanisms were happening in the country. Ms. Fernando mentioned that there were certain critical issues and challenges in planning and strategy development in the country, such as lack of coordination among ministries and institutes engaged in STI activities leading to duplication of activities. Capacity building efforts were not matched with the needs and demands. Another issue was difficulty in timely data collection due to poor compliance for physical data collection and the associated high cost. Harmonizing and managing data were also difficult because of paucity of skilled human resources and/or expensive infrastructure and support mechanisms.

Ms. Fernando noted that Sri Lanka had specific national capacity building needs, inviting technical cooperation proposals mainly focused on conducting national STI skills audit and STI workforce planning; development of techno-entrepreneurship capabilities; identification and assessing resources for a national STI monitoring framework and a set of key indicators for NIS; a national quality assurance framework for STI activities; development of a framework for sustainability assessment of projects; development of a legal framework for sustainable innovation; and strengthening STI coordinating efforts and ICT support systems. She suggested some potential areas for Asia-Pacific regional cooperation in STI, mainly in the areas of: harmonization of STI indicators, STI jobs classifications, definitions, etc; populating and managing big data like the Asia-Pacific Innovation Dashboard in COSTI; sharing of best practices, STI resources and skills; encouraging regional innovation projects in areas of mutual interest; and encouraging networking and facilitation of mobility of skilled personnel within the region.
The delegate from Thailand, Mr. Nathasit Gerdsri, stated that NIS was a systematic approach in analysing the system and structure of interconnected institutions that jointly and individually contributed to the development and diffusion of new technologies. NIS also provided the framework within which government could form and implement policies to influence the innovation process. He said that the NIS analysis framework had three layers – functional layer, organization layer and linkage layer – and discussed those in detail. The approach to NIS analysis was a two-step approach: data collection, which represented the different types of linkage between the two organizations and also captured the challenges and difficulties; and data analysis, which represented the collective information of linkages between the different types of players.

Mr. Gerdsri went on to speak on the current condition of NIS supporting the development of material technologies in Thailand. He mentioned that the NIS support was strengthening players who acted as gatekeepers connecting and bridging between R&D performers (research institutes, universities) and firms. NIS was strengthening players who were responsible for disseminating and diffusing knowledge and technology including technology licensing to users (firms). NIS was also fortifying players who were responsible to prepare producers to be ready for the future technology development, particularly for base technologies. Linkages for knowledge development between R&D performers and other players tended to be established and maintained at the individual level rather than an organization level. In Thailand, existing linkages between R&D performers and other players at an organization level were mainly focused on the infrastructure sharing. Most linkages between research performers (research institutes, universities, etc.) and goods & services producers were established through “one-on-one” connection. Under that circumstance, they tended to end up with small research projects. However, personal mobility linking scholars from research institutes and universities to goods & services producers was limited. Linkage for sharing information between industrial associations and funding agencies was also limited, causing the mismatch between the direction of funding and the needs of industry in the country, he remarked.

A panel discussion held in the fourth technical session discussed mainstreaming of gender in national STI policy and programmes. Some of the critical issues highlighted by the panelists included: stiff competition at the top being disadvantageous women; constraints for women in working environment; lower representation of women at the STI decision-making levels; limited participation of women in entrepreneurship; etc. Effective interventions to address these issues could be made through incentives, awards and scholarships for women, training and skill development, gender budgeting, gender statistics, and women-friendly working environment.

In the fifth technical session, a panel discussion was held on regional and South-South cooperation in STI capacity building and open innovation as STI strategy for the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The panel suggested that national STI priorities and global agenda be merged to achieve sustainable development in critical areas. While at national level, there was need to balance government STI policies with private sector requirements, at the regional level, South-South cooperation in STI could offer immense potential for achieving SDGs, particularly in the area of renewable energy. While there were common problems and challenges in STI in the region, financing regional cooperation programmes in STI always remained a problem. The panel suggested countries to make efforts in building resilient STI infrastructure including centres of excellence in harnessing STI for sustainable development. Public-private partnership (PPP) was recommended as a viable model for strengthening open innovation in the Asia-Pacific region countries. The Forum concluded with a brief review and summary of key elements stemming from discussions and closing remarks by Mr. Michael Williamson, Head of APCTT-ESCAP, Mr. Chinawut Chinaprayoon, STI Office, MOST, Thailand, and Mr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, RIS.