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National Workshop on Linkages and Partnerships among Enterprises, R&D Institutions and Academia/Universities to Foster Innovation and Transfer of Technology

17-18 July 2012
Kathmandu, Nepal

Organized by
Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), New Delhi, India, and Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Seoul, Republic of Korea

in cooperation with and hosted by
Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST), Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Supported by
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Government of Republic of Korea United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Brief Report
Co-organizers

Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST), Tribhuvan University; and Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Seoul, Republic of Korea

Background

R&D institutions, academia and enterprises (industry) are considered as key actors of national innovation system (NIS). Interaction, linkages and partnerships among these key actors are crucial not only for transforming new ideas in to commercial products/services, but also for advancing the domain of science and technology in general and in their national innovation ecosystem in particular. This would provide new opportunities for businesses to compete based on exploiting knowledge, skills and creativities to produce more valuable goods and services. Dynamic linkages between government-supported research institutions, academia and industry increase knowledge flow, transforming new ideas and knowledge into businesses and strengthening national innovation capabilities.

However, linkages and partnerships among the NIS key actors have to be catalysed and promoted through specific government policy measures and support programmes in countries where the market is yet become a driving force, such as Nepal. The policy-driven approach would provide an opportunity for Nepal to not only address the immediate developmental goals through application of science, technology and innovation (STI) but also catch-up with the other leading developing countries through cross-border STI linkages and partnerships.

APCTT-ESCAP and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Republic of Korea, carried out a joint study in April 2012 to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Nepal technology innovation system. During this study-visit, meetings were held with the Minister of Science & Technology and the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology and 14 other national R&D institutions, industries, academic institutions and senior policy makers in the Government of Nepal. This provided an opportunity to understand their current activities, strengths and challenges and views on possible approaches and their role in strengthening the NIS. The study-visit was followed up with a questionnaire survey, facilitated by the Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST), Nepal. Presentation and deliberations of the findings of the study-visit and the questionnaire survey were among of the key aspects of the Nepal workshop on “Enterprises, R&D Institutions and Academia/Universities to Foster Innovation and Transfer of Technology”.

Objectives

  • Introduce the salient features of the key components and their relevance in NIS;
  • Present the various policy-driven approaches to promote and facilitate linkages and partnerships among academia, industries and R&D institutions; and
  • Share the key findings of the joint study-visit by APCTT-ESCAP and STEPI, and deliberate on the way forward in strengthening technology innovation system in Nepal.

Major Outputs The inaugural session of the workshop was attended by Mr. Keshav Man Shakya, the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Government of Nepal, and nine other high-level officials that included: Prof. Hira Bahadur Mahajan, Vice Chancellor, Tribhuvan University; Prof. Shiva Kumar, Member, National Planning Commission; Prof. Surendra Raj Kalla, Vice Chancellor, National Academy of Science and Technology; Prof. B. Pokhral, Member Secretary, University Grants Commission; Prof. Gunanidhi Nyaupane, Rector, Tribhuvan University; and Prof. I.C. Dutta, Tribhuvan University Service Commission. During the inaugural session all the speakers underlined the importance of the workshop theme and referred to the National Planning Commission 2011 document that emphasized on technology innovation and transfer of technology. They also expressed their keen interest to know the findings of the study report based on the field visit and questionnaire survey. APCTT-ESCAP and STEPI stressed that economic development and growth based on science, technology and innovation (STI) requires local expertise to carry forward the NIS strategy. The first session of the workshop focused on the key components of NIS, including structuring of an NIS to foster linkages and partnerships among key actors and national policies and programmes of Nepal. The main objectives with respect to technology innovation in the industrial policy 2010 include:

  • Strengthening the industrial sector with the deployment of new and environment-friendly technologies;
  • Supporting R&D in new and emerging technologies;
  • Creating a technology development fund in collaboration with private and cooperative sector; and
  • Establishing business incubation centres to nurture agriculture and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and product development centres in cooperation with industry associations.

Policy- and market-driven linkages and partnerships among key actors NIS formed the theme of the second session. At this session, the expert from the Republic of Korea presented the case and experiences in that country in linking science with industry during its STI-based economic development. Key challenges faced by the R&D institutions in linking up with industries and R&D institutions were shared by RECAST. The representative of the Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry narrated the challenges of and opportunities for industries to forge partnerships with R&D institutions. A private national carpet company of Nepal elaborated on the decelerated growth of carpet industry over a period of time, and hoped that the R&D and academia could play a role to revive the industry in Nepal. The following third and fourth sessions were devoted to STI diagnosis and strategy development of Nepal. Experiences of the Republic of Korea was deliberated to highlight the point that the prevailing national framework conditions and the emerging global markets have to be considered to develop STI-based approach to address the national developmental challenges. Key findings of the field study and the questionnaire survey were presented and current salient aspects of framework conditions deliberated for Nepal’s STI strategy development. The last session was a brainstorming session among the participants to come out with their ideas of the way forward in promoting linkages and partnerships among NIS key actors in Nepal. Three composite groups of participants were formed, representing academia, enterprises and policymakers to formulate recommendations from each group. See Annex I for the programme and presentations. Conclusions and Recommendations

  • In order to make national policies more effective, incorporate monitoring and evaluation as an integral part of the national policies so that desired policy goals are achieved within reasonable time.
  • Institutionalize coordination of S&T programmes of various ministries and departments of the government to leverage limited resources and avoid overlapping of programmes with similar objectives.
  • Promote and facilitate coordination between industries and academia through sharing and disseminating information and provide funds for collaborative R&D.
  • Encourage industries to carry out their own R&D through a set of policy guidelines that incentivize R&D based on the amount spent and value addition to the existing technologies.
  • Establish and provide access to innovation financing mechanisms to promote technology innovation in the country.
  • Set up a voluntary task force to take forward the recommendations of the workshop.

Participants

    Eleven national and international resource persons from APCTT, Australia, Hungary, Indonesia and Malaysia shared their knowledge and experiences, while six TBI managers from Bangladesh, Maldives, Malaysia and Pakistan presented their experiences and 37 managers and stakeholders of TBI in Indonesia actively participated in the workshop.

See Annex II for the list of participants.