University–Industry Interactions in the Global South
Edited by Eduardo Albuquerque, Wilson Suzigan, Glenda Kruss and Keun Lee
Chapter 3: Features of interactions between public research organizations and industry in Latin America: the perspective of researchers and firms
The National Systems of Innovation (NSIs) of Latin American countries have been shaped by a set of factors. First, institutional building emerged from the intertwining of old institutions generated during the import substitution period and new institutions that emerged after the liberalization process since the 1980s, which sometimes implies lack of consistency in policy guidelines. Second, persistent macro instability and dramatic crises episodes (in the 1980s, 1990s, and currently) affected the long-term behaviour and performance of firms in the region. Third, levels of poverty reflect social needs that have not been satisfied, and income inequality creates power asymmetries, which undermine the possibility of building durable consensus and divert the design of public policy from the needs of the majority. Partly as a consequence of these factors, the NSIs of Latin American countries have not followed the path of learning societies (Arocena and Sutz 2000a): innovative capabilities are rather poor (e.g., low investment in private research and development [R & D]); the proportion of human resources in science and technology (S & T) is low; and there is a general perception that the interactions between universities and public research organizations (PROs), and industry are weak (Cimoli 2000; Cassiolato et al. 2003; López 2007; Dutrénit et al. 2010a). PROs play a key role in upgrading the NSI because they create and disseminate knowledge.
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