Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Science and technology policies in developing and transitions countries: Reform and technological co-operation with Europe

The policy implications of the findings of the project include:
- It is important for EU programmes to take a more positive and flexible stand on promoting domestic S&T. It would be helpful to launch programmes that specifically target such institutions and linkages.

- Bureaucratic impediments to technology collaboration, especially at the enterprise level, need to be minimised, and the net must be cast wider so as to capture a larger range of potential technology actors. The EU should encourage countries to set up databases on technologically active firms and relevant institutions. It should promote its programmes more widely, explaining the procedures and benefits to potential participants.

- One of the most valuable contributions that EU can make is to strengthen the MSTQ systems in the peripheral countries. This is already being done by means of direct contacts between institutions; however, a more systematic Community-wide programme of technical and financial assistance would be extremely useful. The objective should be to bring the relevant institutions to minimum levels of ‘best practice’ in terms of certification, testing, measuring and calibrating capabilities.

- The EU should mount an initiative specifically to promote ISO 9000 in peripheral countries. There is a great deal to be learnt from measures undertaken in countries like the UK to encourage the spread of ISO 9000: the government subsidised up to half the cost of consultancy, with the result that the UK now has the largest number of ISO 9000 certified firms in the world. Each government is already aware of the importance of spreading the ISO systems through industry, but promotional efforts are not yet coherent and effective, and tend to neglect smaller enterprises.

- The EU should help countries to launch and manage effective Foresight exercises to define their technological needs and establish spending priorities.

- The most effective channel of technology transfer from the EU is direct investment by its companies. While this is a purely market-driven phenomenon in which European governments should not intervene, the EU can encourage the process of local technology diffusion by promoting subcontracting to host country firms and institutions, undertaking more research locally, and financing the training of manpower in advanced technological functions in their European operations. One possible model may by Singapore’s Local Industries Upgrading Programme (LIUP), where a lead MNC contributes a senior procurement executive to the programme, with the salary fully paid by the government, to help potential suppliers upgrade their capabilities to meet its input requirements. The EU could fund such a programme and send experienced company procurement personnel to work with SME suppliers.

- At the more general levels, the EU can help technology development by promoting the technical and managerial education systems of peripheral countries. Finally, there is a wealth of experience and skills in domestic industrial technology promotion in Europe that can be extremely valuable for peripheral countries if a programme could be devised for transferring them at low cost to the host developing or transition country.

Reported by

University of Oxford
St Giles 21
OX1 3LA Oxford
United Kingdom
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Evaluation - Policies