The world’s poorest nations have long pursued industrialisation as a route to economic development. But how ‘green’ can this route be? How important is climate change mitigation for governments like Ethiopia in their economic growth agenda?
Science, Technology & Innovation policy has long been led by the concept ‘smart’. Given the rise of the 2030 Agenda, should ‘sustainable’ be the new guiding theme in this process of creative destruction?
Aided by central government, advanced regions of China have spearheaded the country’s growth in nanotechnology. Has this success deepened regional inequalities — or can knowledge spillovers make up the shortfall?
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in January 2019 — in five journal articles, three working papers and one policy brief, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Open innovation and innovation intermediaries in sub-Saharan Africa‘ explores the innovation intermediaries’ landscape in sub-Saharan Africa, considering Science Granting Councils (SGCs) as the key intermediaries in the system. The study discusses the roles and functions performed by SGCs as intermediators and influences of science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy. The results of the analysis corroborate the need for institutional and systemic changes to enable SGCs to perform their role. The realities, resources, and constraints at the local level cry out for the adaptation of current and future partnerships to the local context. The study concludes that only by tailoring partnerships to the development of capacity at the local level can SGCs perform effectively as influencers of national STI policy and mediators of partnerships with foreign development actors. By Dr. Bertha Vallejo et al.
‘How fast is this novel technology going to be a hit?‘ investigates how (fast) the novel ideas embodied in original inventions are re-used in follow-on inventions. The study empirically mapping and characterising the trajectory of novel technologies’ re-use in follow-on inventions. Specifically, the study considers the factors affecting the time needed for a novel technology to be legitimated as well as to reach its full technological impact. It finds that novel technologies combining for the first time technological components which are similar and which are familiar to the inventors’ community require a short time to be legitimated but show a low technological impact. In contrast, combining for the first time technological components with a science-based nature generates technologies with a long legitimation time but also high technological impact. By Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘Governing green industrialisation in Africa: Assessing key parameters for a sustainable socio-technical transition in the context of Ethiopia‘ explores the conception and implementation of green industrialisation in Ethiopia, one of the world’s poorest nations, where an ambitious Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy has been created, alongside a multi-sectoral Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), to leapfrog environmentally unsustainable development and bring the country to middle-income status by 2025. The article finds a clear articulation of the imperative for climate change mitigation and economic growth; a strong high-level government commitment to a greening agenda within the context of accelerated industrialisation; and a nascent innovation system that is beginning to evolve according to these priorities. However, the analysis also identifies important challenges, including: coordination mechanisms between different stakeholders; framing issues; availability of resources; and ongoing tension between addressing climate change and promoting economic growth. It also highlights the importance of the availability of cross-border resources for purposive sustainability transition within low-income countries. By Dr. Mulu Gebreeyesus et al.
‘Is the education of local children influenced by living near a refugee camp? Evidence from host communities in Rwanda‘ studies the extent to which educational services and schooling outcomes of local children are influenced by the presence of a refugee camp in or near their community. Investigating Congolese refugees in Rwanda and relying on a mixed‐method approach, the study examines schooling rates and access to school‐based feeding programmes in communities closer to and further away from three refugee camps. The results highlight that children residing closer to the camps have better schooling outcomes and that locals residing closer to the camps have mostly positive views regarding the effects of refugees on local education. These results contribute to the literature on the effects of refugees on host communities and inform policy debates on how refugees need not be a “burden” if a long‐term vision shapes educational investments. By Dr. Özge Bilgili, Dr. Craig Loschmann, Dr. Sonja Fransen and Prof. Melissa Siegel.
‘Exploring the spatial dimensions of nanotechnology development in China: the effects of funding and spillovers‘ investigates the factors driving nanotechnology development in Chinese regions. Advanced regions of China have spearheaded the country’s rapid growth in nanotechnology, aided by substantial support from the government. While this head start could potentially perpetuate regional inequalities through agglomeration economies, the study suggests that knowledge spillovers exert a substantially greater impact in peripheral regions compared with the advanced ones, and may thus be compensating for the limited institutional support they receive and their weak technological capabilities. This research contributes to the regional innovation literature by highlighting that a formal scientific network can counteract the forces of agglomeration economies and spur innovation in peripheral regions. By Dr. Lili Wang, Dr. Jojo Jacob et al.
‘Investigating the impact of experiences abroad on perceptions of corruption: A case-study on Greek migrants in Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom’ examines the impact of experiences abroad on perceptions of corruption of Greek migrants in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, countries with significantly lower reported levels of corruption. The study hypothesises that migrants’ exposure to less corrupt environments will alter their previous views on corruption. Subsequently, migrants could contribute to mitigating corruption in Greece, either through remitting these new norms back home, or through acting as actors of change upon repatriation. The findings indicate that Greek migrants’ experiences abroad influenced their perceptions of corruption. The majority of the respondents reported lower tolerance towards corruption, a shift which lends support to our hypothesis but was manifested in various forms. By Dr. Ortrun Merkle.
‘Money matters: The role of funding in migration governance‘ uses a newly created data set of earmarked contributions to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between 2000 and 2016 (n=13,306) to examine thematic and temporal patterns in the contributions of IOM’s main donors. The fragmented nature of migration governance may well be a product of the earmarked nature of its funding, and, without concrete changes in how migration is financed, is likely to remain fragmented. However, this fragmentation can be viewed from two broad perspectives. On the negative side of the ledger, it may be observed that contributions to IOM have largely focused on issues relating to the management of certain aspects of migration that are reflective of the specific interests of its donors lending weight to the argument that the fragmented nature of global migration governance may be a product of the largely earmarked nature of migration financing which has allowed bilateral interests to dominate multilateral responses to migration issues. On the other hand, earmarked funding has arguably also allowed the international community to extend protection to displaced populations not covered by the refugee convention. By Elaine McGregor
‘Do young innovative companies create more jobs? Evidence from Pakistani textile firms‘ uses unique innovation survey data collected among a homogenous sample of firms active in the textiles and apparel sector in Pakistan to analyse the role of innovation for employment growth. In particular, it develops and tests the hypothesis that innovation is conducive to employment creation, and that this is especially the case for smaller and younger firms, supporting the hypothesis that young innovative companies grow faster by engaging in riskier and more radical innovation to catch up with incumbent firms. The study finds empirical evidence for these hypotheses, which is robust to different model specifications and estimation techniques and to different measures of innovation. Young innovative companies also perform well in absolute employment creation making them interesting from a policy perspective. By Dr. Micheline Goedhuys et al.
‘From destructive creation to creative destruction: Rethinking science, technology and innovation in a global context‘ makes the case for ‘sustainable’ to replace ‘smart’ as the key concept in STI policy. The paper suggests four priority directions: radical improvements in eco‐productivity reducing the energy and emissions intensity of production, distribution and consumption; biomimicry as sustainable product innovation guiding principle; the use of AI and big data as ‘sustainable purpose technologies’ assisting and complementing growth in eco‐productivity and green product development and design; and finally regulatory and taxing policies addressing over‐consumption, including advertising. In so far as sustainability and inclusiveness are also in contradiction with each other, there is also need for specific proactive, integrated ‘eco‐social’ STI policies. Global sustainable development will only be successful if it is supported by all classes in society. While for high income classes priority can be given to increased taxation, for low income classes there is a need for a more comprehensive green new deal that should include house retrofitting and social energy tariffs making the energy transition cheap. Finally the research community itself should put full priority to exploit fully the digital substitution advantages of research networking, rather than air travel. By Prof. Luc Soete.
‘Essays on inequality and polarization: Empirical studies in developing Asia’ is an attempt to understand inequality and polarisation among Asian developing countries (China, India, and Indonesia) using individual and household level data. These countries account for more than a quarter of the global economy and comprise 40 percent of the world population with a heterogeneous society. Practically, this dissertation enriches the discussion in reducing inequality (i.e., sustainable development goals). Furthermore, the dissertation has a significant contribution in assessing the potential effect of the informal sector, taxes and subsidy system, and ethnicity to inequality and polarisation. By Dr. Arip Muttaqien.
‘How board networks affect firm performance and innovation incentives in transition economies: The Case of Armenia’ explores board member networks and their influence on firm performance and innovation and presents a conceptual framework for understanding and ultimately predicting the impact of board network features on firms in both established and transitional economies. Board member networks refer to the connectedness between firms in an economy resulting from individual board members who have the membership of more than one firm boards. The study reveals specificities of the Armenian transition context and what type of knowledge production mode was persistent while transitioning from the Soviet system to a new system. The empirical evidence is based on the unique database, which reflects the historical change of large post-soviet firms into private firms. In addition, the first country-wide firm-level innovation survey was conducted in Armenia to obtain information on the firm’s innovation. By Dr. Tatevik Poghosyan.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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