The Mexican NIS: Institutions, policies and performance. To what extent are the innovation policy models of the OECD useful?

Dr. Gabriela Dutrenit, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico City / UNU-MERIT

The Mexican NIS lags behind the rest of the OECD countries and some of the more dynamic emerging economies. According to international standards, the system features a limited capacity to produce knowledge, a dearth of demand for knowledge by domestic agents, and the disconnection between these two variables. Notwithstanding the remarkable increase in the participation of the business sector in the GERD in recent years, its involvement in STI activities remains considerably weak. The government persists with its limited financial commitment to STI activities. However, recent institutional reforms and the –albeit limited- changes in some key indicators suggest that the current environment may be potentially more conducive to the development of STI activities. In addition there is a growing awareness and willingness of specific sectors of the Mexican society to tap on STI activities in order to achieve some of their long-term socioeconomic development goals. The emergence of new actors has contributed to the reconfiguration of the NIS.

Last year the OCDE elaborated the Review of Mexico’s National System of Innovation. Based on the Background report elaborated for this review by a Mexican team coordinated by myself and on other evaluations of the innovation policy carried out by the same team, this presentation aims to discuss the challenges of the innovation policy to improve the NIS performance and contribute to elevate productivity and rate of grow, and to mitigate the poverty and inequity. Some of the challenges to be discussed are related to: “modern” policy mix vs lack of a critical mass of financial resources; changes in the incentives structure to promote problems oriented-research and interactions vs agents that look for keeping old behaviours; Governance of the system under a new institutional design, new agents, new leaderships but resources scarcity; STI community’s goals vs treasury ministry’s goals; and Innovation policy design according to STI capability accumulation and local needs vs following International institutions suggestions.

About the speaker
Gabriela Dutrenit is an economist with a PhD in Science and Technology Research Studies from SPRU, University of Sussex. Since 1985 she is professor at the Metropolitan Autonomous University, Campus Xochimilco, in Mexico City. Since 1991 she is professor of the Master and PhD programs in Economics and Management of Innovation; she was coordinator of studies of this program during 1991-1994. She is member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico; regular member of the Mexican Academy of Science; member of the Social Science Committee of the Mexican Science and Technology Consultant Forum; referee of the National Prize of Technology; and member of the GLOBELICS (Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems) Scientific Committee. Her research focuses on a broad set of issues related to innovation and development, particularly the process of building up of strategic capabilities by firms that approach the frontier in developing countries, innovation systems, university-industry linkages, spillovers of MNCs and absorptive capacities of SME, and innovation policy. She has published several articles, book chapters and books related to these issues in the latinamerican context. She has led several recent science and technology policy evaluations in Mexico, the last one was the Background Report for the Innovation Report of Mexico, elaborated by the OECD. She is leading the Mexican chapter of an international comparative research project called Interactions between universities and firms: searching for paths to support the changing role of universities in the South, which look at explanations on how and why the relationships between universities/research institutes and firms differ across countries and regions at different stages of development, and across sectors. This project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and involves researchers from Brazil, Argentina, Korea, India, Thailand, South Africa and others.

Venue: Conference Room, Keizer Karelplein 19

Date: 03 June 2009

Time: 12:30 - 13:30  CEST