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Session Overview
PS-2.06: Science, technology, innovation and the sustainable development goals 1
Thursday, 13/Oct/2016:
8:30am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Smita Srinivas, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Discussant: Margrethe Holm Andersen, Aalborg University, Globelics Secretariat
Location: Caesar Room (Homann)

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Innovations for reaching the sustainable development goals –will they come from the North or South?

Rainer Walz

Fraunhofer ISI, Germany

Reaching the sustainable development needs innovations. At the same time, economic and inclusive development requires that countries of the South increasingly develop their own capabilities. The paper addresses the extent to which countries of the South have accomplished this already in the field of environmental sustainability. Indicators on general and sustainability technology specific capabilities reveal that some countries of the South are catching up, but that the North is still leading. However, these indicators are biased towards high-tech solutions and are not able to account for strategies which target specifically the South, such as e.g. frugal innovations. A detailed analysis of trade data indeed reveals a more differentiated picture: South-South trade in sustainability technologies is the fastest growing market segment. Countries of the South are pursuing a differentiated strategy: Mexico is highly integrated into the US economy. Singapore and South Korea have been catching up and provide technologies especially for China. China itself is following a double strategy, with absorbing technology from the North in order to compete on markets of the North on the one hand, but increasingly specializing on becoming lead supplier for countries of the South on the other. The other technology providers from the South are mainly specializing on supplying other countries from the South. Thus, a segmentation of the market is likely, with sustainability innovations in the South more likely originating in the South as well, and China being an important country of adapting knowledge from the North to the needs of the South.

A Prospective Approach To LICS-based development

Rodrigo Arocena

University of the Republic, Uruguay, Uruguay

The normative notion of Human Sustainable Development can be fruitfully combined with the Innovation Systems conceptual approach. It is argued that such combination needs to be complemented by a prospective approach, of which a few elements are presented. Some possible outcomes of trends concerning knowledge, production, the environment and inequality are discussed; probable scenarios, main risks and better alternatives are considered. Inclusive and frugal innovation emerge as a fundamental challenge. The success of related policies appears to be highly dependent on solving the difficult political problem of connecting advanced knowledge and popular actors.

The Role of Technological Trajectories in Catching-up-based Development: An Application to Energy Efficiency Technologies

Sheng Zhong, Bart Verspagen

United Nations University-MERIT, Netherlands, The

We argue that the analysis level of a technological trajectory is very suitable to analyze the decisions of firms in latecomer countries with regard to the technological area that they should focus on. Technological trajectories are the main focal points along which technological innovation develops, and they are more detailed than the common sectors, like electronics of pharmaceuticals, that are used in the analysis of catching-up based growth. We present a collection of methods that has been proposed in the literature to identify technological trajectories. These methods use patent citation networks, and are applied to three separate fields in energy efficiency technologies. We identify the relevant technological trajectories, and analyze how the main countries active in these fields can be classified as either latecomer or incumbent countries. We then present a measure for how much patents from a particular country contribute to the main technological trajectories in the field, and to what extent they are derived from these trajectories. We use an explorative regression model to establish that latecomer countries tend to contribute to a lesser extent than incumbents to the main technological trajectories in the fields we investigate.

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