Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Knowledge adaptation key to local innovation, finds review

Rachel Mundy in The adaptation of scientific findings to local needs is key to improving the economic impact of research funding in developing countries, according to an independent evaluation of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency's (SIDA) innovation programmes.

The bulk of innovations in poor countries are not immediately based on new research findings, but on local or small-scale innovations through activities such as reverse engineering or translating available knowledge to home-grown needs, says the report released last month.

The message for research funding agencies is that new research findings do not automatically lead to innovation and economic growth. Instead, what is required is a better understanding of — and support for — the linkages between the supply of new ideas from research, and the demand for those ideas by local economies.

"Inclusive development through innovation that improves quality of life in developing countries is of great importance," says Ana Gren, research advisor at SIDA, who is leading a working group that is writing a SIDA position paper in response to the review.

Gren says that other international aid agencies might note the benefits of supporting high-quality scientific research geared towards promoting economic growth, and suggests they should be open to backing it.

The report highlights the importance of supporting innovation initiatives that link government, universities and business to yield incremental innovations that increase economic productivity and build trust among people in developing countries....

Geometric model of the top division of disciplines, created by Zouxiaohui, public domain

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