There’s a lot of discussion right now in the econ policy circles about how to strengthen the innovation eco-system in Sri Lanka to boost export competitiveness. In this, a particular focus is on better research-industry, or science-industry, linkages with the right mix of incentives. A new World Bank paper that studied the effect of government subsidies on spurring science-industry collaboration found that government support did help and that it did spur new discovery and did not “just pay firms and researchers to do what they would have done anyway”, an important principle called additionality.
As a blog article on the paper notes,
Efforts to foster collaboration between science and industry have long been a part of innovation policy in many countries. Firms stand to benefit from accessing the specialized infrastructure and expertise available in universities. Researchers gain access to practical problems that can provide greater relevance for their research, and to industrial capabilities for manufacture and assistance in commercializing their ideas to take them to market. Yet, there are barriers that inhibit collaboration, including financing constraints, information asymmetries, and transaction costs in negotiating collaboration agreements. Government subsidies may foster increased interaction between firms and scientific units.
A new World Bank project, funded by the Australian government, aims to strengthen the innovation eco-system to improve trade and competitiveness of the country’s private sector. More info about it here.
I have studied the university-industry interaction system of University of Moratuwa and found some remarkable best practices that can, and should, be replicated across the public university system in Sri Lanka. In a previous post on this blog, I highlighted three ways in which we can do this.