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India: Starts-Ups Poised to Drive Economic Growth
In India’s annual budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, scientific departments have received marginal increases in their expenditures. The budget signalled a key departure from earlier government policies, aiming to create more market demand for high-quality science. The budget has created a demand pull for research, which is expected to force scientific institutions to become relevant. This pull is from applications in medicine, agriculture, defence, information technology (IT), space engineering, affordable housing and water. Indian science may be turning a corner, and is likely to be a major contributing factor to the country's economy over the next decade.

There are signs that Indian economy is about to become research-based, and innovation is being institutionalized. In the last three years, 31 states and union territories and 26 central ministries and other departments have created innovation councils, some of which are very active. Innovation is a key element of enterprise policies, and a large number of companies have leading scientists and technologies driving their innovation strategies. Private sector companies like Reliance Industries and Thermax have focused on innovation in the last three years. India is recognizing the need to convert knowledge into wealth. This recognition is driving academic-enterprise partnerships, creating start-ups that are bringing in risk capital. A large number of new start-ups are by academic faculty, which use their research as input. The government funding pattern is also undergoing a subtle change, and it is looking to develop clusters instead of institutions. Meanwhile, over a decade of scientific infrastructure creation has resulted in a strong foundation to create new technologies, which can increase economic growth over the next decade.

Singapore: Integrated laboratories for Semi-Conductor R&D
In Singapore, a joint venture is being established between Institute of Microelectronics (IME), which is a research institute within the Singapore government's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and ten industries to launch four new laboratories. Through this joint venture innovative technologies and products would be developed to address challenges in the semiconductor industry and is envisaged to provide solutions for a rapid evolving global electronics market. The four laboratories are expected to come at a cost of around S$200 million.

The four joint laboratories will provide an integrated platform for semiconductor R&D. This cost-effective technology will play a key role to make both innovation and the global ecosystem.

Investments in human capital is critical for Innovation
Singapore is leading Asia in overall innovation performance, according to 2014’s Global Innovation Index (GII), published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Moving from 8th position in 2013 to 7th in 2014, Singapore has climbed the top regional rankings because of its well-linked innovation ecosystem, strong innovation infrastructure and investments in human capital. The theme of GII 2014 is “The Human Factor in Innovation”. GII toppers have created well-linked innovation ecosystems, where investments in human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity. In particular, the top 25 countries in the GII consistently score high in most indicators and have strengths in areas such as: innovation infrastructure, including information and communication technologies; business sophistication such as knowledge workers, innovation linkages and knowledge absorption; and innovation outputs such as creative goods and services and online creativity.

Economies that perform at least 10% better than their peers in their gross domestic product levels are called “Innovation Learners”. These innovation learners demonstrate rising levels of innovation results because of improvements made to institutional frameworks, a skilled labour force with expanded tertiary education, better innovation infrastructure, a deeper integration with global credit investment and trade markets, and a sophisticated business community.

The human factor plays a critical role in driving innovation. In terms of education as a subset of human capital formation, the top performers within the high income group are the Republic of Korea, Finland and the United Kingdom. China, Argentina and Hungary take the top positions among the middle-income countries. All of these countries have made visible efforts to maintain or enhance the quality of their human resources through education and life-long learning. The GII shows that better educated citizens are more successful in higher-income economies for driving innovation.

Korea to inject 222 billion won to fuel technology development
The Korean government said Thursday (July 12) that it plans to invest 222.8 billion won ($241.9 million) over the next seven years to boost the country's technological knowledge in luxury cruise ships, flexible displays and micro robots

The money, provided to 21 projects, will be distributed to companies, universities and research centers, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.

"The projects were picked from 432 submissions late last year.

They were chosen because of their impact on national competitiveness and beneficial effect on everyday life," said a ministry official.

Of the 21 projects, 13 will receive 2 billion won for the next five years, while eight will receive support until 2014.

The 13 projects include cruise ships, flexible displays, high-tech medical fiber, high intensity ultrasound and excavators, while the eight next-generation technologies make use of micro robots to cure patients and advanced stem cell research.

The injection of money is to build up the country's future growth engines so that the country's businesses can stay ahead of the pack and contribute to economic growth in the coming year.

Korea is a global leader in areas such as shipbuilding and displays, but competition from countries like China is making it necessary to move into more tech-oriented, value-added product areas.

State support of technology research does not conflict with World Trade Organization rules.

New intellectual property measures launched in Viet Nam
The Department of Intellectual Properties on July 26 rolled out six new initiatives to encourage intellectual property promotion and protection within the country.

The new mechanisms have been designed to clamp down on violators of trademark protection laws and raise public awareness on the benefits and negative impacts of the misuse of intellectual protection.

The Truong Thanh Technological Investment and Development Company has been charged with implementing the “Trademark promotion” programme, the Trade University the “To establish and promote product brands” scheme, the Vietnam Fund in Support of Technological Innovations with a public awareness campaign entitled “Information campaigns on industrial property” and the Ministry of Science and Technology’s southern representative office has been handed the “To create a model of managing intellectual property operations” project.

The two remaining initiatives revolve around two of the country's most well known agricultural products. The Bac Giang lychee and Phu Tho's pomelo are set to benefit from trademark building as Science and Technology embark on an ambitious project to build and protect the fruit's unique brand.

The new schemes are part of a wider government effort to support intellectual property rights and enforcement for the 2005-2010 period.

Chinese Government Supports Software Innovation
China will enhance government support for software innovations, with concerted efforts on developingChina’s proprietary generic, core and supportive software, said WANG Bingke, Deputy Director of Economic System Reform and Performance Department, part of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), at a software outsourcing forum held on April 25, 2007. MII will provide more guidance for software innovations, and facilitate technology cooperation and innovation alliances in different forms, along with the implementation of key software projects, in an attempt to establish a proprietary technological innovation system headed by industry. Meanwhile, it will initiate a range of information security software related innovations and R&D.

According to predictions, China’s domestic software and information service marketplace will expect a sale volume exceeding RMB 1 trillion in 2010. Chinese made software and information service will take up a domestic share of 65% or above. Home made key generic software products and core technologies will see major breakthroughs, with a raised industrial value and scale.