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From research to innovation university research chairs


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The importance of research chairs in the changing context in STI: A presentation delivered by Dr. Maurice Bolo Director, the Scinnovent Centre and Dr. Ellie Osir, senior program officer, IDRC Nairobi Office

Published in: Science, Technology, Business
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From research to innovation university research chairs

  1. 1. FROM RESEARCH TO INNOVATION: THE NACOSTI/IDRC UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CHAIRS PROGRAMME Maurice Bolo ( Ellie Osir ( 3rd Kenya National Science, Technology and Innovation Week, 19 – 23 May 2014
  2. 2. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION IN AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT •STI is key to inclusive growth, industrial competitiveness, wealth creation, and poverty reduction • “No country on earth has developed without deploying, harnessing and utilizing STI, whether through technology transfer or homegrown solutions (Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Science in Africa Summit, 2008). • “We in Africa must either begin to build our scientific and technological training capabilities or remain an impoverished appendage to the global economy” (Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame)
  3. 3. 3 KNOWLEDGE AS THE NEW MOTOR IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Money Knowledge Linkageswith privatesector Capacity to create/absorb knowledge Capacity to share, apply and exploit knowledge Policies and institutions that foster entrepreneurship Intellectual property rights Commercialization infrastructure
  4. 4. THE CONTEXT FOR STI IS CHANGING.... ….From the traditional S&T policy focus: •mainly concerned with creation of new knowledge •input indicators: R&D budget; output indicators: publications & patents …..To an emergent ST & Innovation policy focus: •more emphasis on application and exploitation of knowledge for economic and social development •promoting STI for development requires a highly skilled labour force ......The emphasis has shifted from merely creating knowledge (research) to applying the knowledge for economic and social development (innovation) ...
  5. 5. WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT INNOVATION • A Complex process... • Outcomes are unpredictable; powerful effect of interaction and feedback; dependent on institutional environment • An adaptive process... • Challenges shift and change over time due to changes in knowledge, tastes, preferences, regulations, investment decisions etc • A systemic process... • Interconnectedness of various actors; evolutionary, emergent, indeterminate, open-ended and path-dependent • Innovation is a social art.... Linkages, partnerships and networks are key; Learning is interactive, requiring more tacit than explicit knowledge • Innovation is key to competitiveness...... Market penetration and retention is dependent on it; Failure to innovate leads to stagnation and eventual decline
  6. 6. Drivers of Global Competitiveness Global Competitiveness Government forces Market forces Institutions Infrastructure Higher Education and Training Innovation Technological readiness Labor market efficiency Business sophistication Financial market development Legal and regulatory systems Macro-economic environment
  7. 7. ENHANCING KENYA’S COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CHAIRS • Improving the institutional environment to foster creativity, collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship • Improving the research infrastructure through investment in laboratory equipment and machines • Fostering innovation for development
  8. 8. ENHANCING KENYA’S COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CHAIRS • Providing skilled and highly trained manpower into the labour market through postgraduate training • Leveraging financial support to research from private sector and other financial institutions • Policy recommendations to improve the macro- economic environment
  9. 9. BUT, WE NEED NEW THINKING… We have to re-think our approach to STI: From linear ‘mode 1’ science … systemic ‘mode 2’ science
  10. 10. Linear, Mode 1 Science •Reach outcomes through a series of organized steps •Processes are stable and outcomes are predictable •Change in inputs leads to a corresponding change in outputs •Scientific excellence based on recognition of merit and originality by peers •Have significant feedback loops •Outcomes are sensitive to changes in driving factors and initial conditions •Changes in inputs do not necessarily lead to corresponding changes in outputs •Non-additive interaction makes it impossible to determine performance by studying isolated parts Systemic, Mode 2 Science LINEAR VERSUS SYSTEMIC APPROACHES
  11. 11. DIMENSIONS OF A SYSTEM OF INNOVATION Market / Demand Set price, volume, quality Enterprises Produce products/services for the market Diffusion Information / knowledge transmitters Research & Training: Produce knowledge Infrastructure policy, legislation, resources etc Source: modified from Arnold and Bell, 2001
  12. 12. SITUATING RESEARCH WITHIN THE NATIONAL INNOVATION SYSTEM Basic Research Applied Research Business R&D Business Development Commercialization PublicPrivate Universities Private Sector Public Research Institutions Incubators Technology Parks Research Chairs Other actors? Technology transfer offices Financial institutions
  14. 14. RE-POSITIONING STI TO RESPOND TO THE CHANGING CONTEXT Methodological Change -Participatory problem identification and priority setting -Participatory research -Collective Action Planning -Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
  15. 15. RE-POSITIONING STI TO RESPOND TO THE CHANGING CONTEXT Organizational change From bureaucratic, non-learning organization to flexible, learning organizations -Different outlook, methods, priorities -Different incentives and rewards -Different attitudes, habits and practices - Different organizations structures
  16. 16. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE RESEARCH CHAIRS • The complexity of the problems and the wider variety of competence bases required are impossible to satisfy within a single discipline. »This makes multi-disciplinary teams/networks imperative. • Research and commercialization of the products are expensive; requires sustained investment over a long period of time. »Each Chair is allocated about US$ 1 million over 5 years
  17. 17. IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH CHAIRS • Coordination among groups of divergent knowledge types, habits and belief systems requires careful networking management. »Research Chair must demonstrate prior existing network management skills • This requires the scientists to develop other sets of soft skills – beyond their technical expertise e.g. leadership, management, networking, negotiation skills » Prior experience in leadership, supervision and mentorship are fundamental criteria for the Research Chair