Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Overview
AbstractThis paper presents and analyses a series of indicators of the state of S&T in Latin America and the Caribbean. In doing so it compares LAC countries among themselves as well as with the industrialised countries in order to identify trends concerning the closing or widening of gaps in the capacity to produce and utilise knowledge. The findings suggest that some LAC countries have created significant capacity in research but they have not been able to build virtuous links among the various relevant social actors involved in knowledge production and use. There are problems at both the supply and demand sides. Concerning the former, universities and public research institutes, which together perform almost 70% of R&D, have not created mechanisms to identify user needs and instead base their research agenda on scientific criteria dictated by international mainstream science. On the latter, there has not much demand on local R&D given that TNCs innovate on the basis of R&D conducted in the advanced countries and local private firms, in a bid to be competitive, also prefer to import foreign technology. Government initiated schemes to correct this imbalance - including provisions for public-private collaboration, science parks and firm level research training - have been largely unsuccessful. This state of affairs is largely due to the enactment of macroeconomic policies aimed at opening up the country to foreign competition and privatising state enterprises, without putting in place the necessary measures and incentives to guarantee the investment and to diminish the risks involved in R&D. Firm and focused government intervention is necessary if such trends are to be reversed. The most obvious sphere for intervention is creating a more just society in the region, and thus granting opportunity to education to social groups currently excluded. Other policies have more direct bearing on R&D and include incentives for private sector investment in R&D and hiring of researchers. Most of all, measures must be implemented by all relevant S&T actors in terms of strengthening links among themselves
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies in its series Discussion Papers with number 04.
Date of creation: 2004
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Latin America; Caribbean; Science and Technology Indicators; Science and Technology Policy; Science and Technology;
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