Building Capacity for STI Policy-making

Capacity building for STI policy-making

Reflecting a renewed awareness of the crucial role of technology and innovation in the development process, in recent years UNCTAD has experienced increased demand from member States and other stakeholders for both strategic advice and training on STI policy.

UNCTAD training activities complement STIP Reviews as means of building capacity in STI policy-making in developing countries.

The unique feature of UNCTAD's training on STI is the treatment of STI as a key element of the integrated treatment of development that includes trade, finance and investment.

STI policies are seen as complementary to other national policies related to trade, finance, investment and others, all coherently integrated into the country's national development strategy.

Components of our training activities


Innovation Policy Learning Programme

Innovation has become the cornerstone for transforming economies. Innovation is crucial for enabling productivity gains, a more diversified productive base and more sustainable production and consumption patterns in developing countries.

Effective policy action requires a good shared understanding among a wide number of stakeholders of what is innovation, how it emerges, and how it contributes to economic growth and sustainable development.

It also requires a precise knowledge among policy experts on how to design innovation policy to achieve specific objectives. As innovation emerges in different contexts, there is no one size fits all solution.

UNCTAD's innovation policy learning programme builds the competencies of policy makers and other key national actors in developing countries to enable them to design, implement and adjust the science, technology and innovation policies and programmes that will help them achieve their specific objectives.

The programme offers two types of courses for mid- to senior-level policy makers and key national stakeholders in academia, industry and civil society.

  • A foundation course: to build awareness and a shared understanding among key national stakeholders (from government, academia, private sector and civil society) on what is innovation, why it is important for economic growth and sustainable development, and what are key elements in the governance and design of innovation policies.
  • Advanced courses: to strengthen competencies to design and implement science, technology and innovation policies and programmes to address specific innovation-related issues, such as: building human resources for innovation, encouraging academia-industry linkages, enabling access to finance for innovation, or promoting technology transfer.

Each course is designed to address specific needs of the participating country/countries. These courses may be delivered at the national level or regional level.




Regional and short courses under the Paragraph 166 Programme

"Paragraph 166" refers to paragraph 166 of the Bangkok Plan of Action, which was adopted at the 10th UNCTAD Conference in Thailand, 2000 and launched this series of training courses.

The course addresses the analytical and policy challenges that policy makers, Geneva-based delegates and other stakeholders from developing and transition economies face in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and development. Managing these challenges helps their countries to integrate into the rapidly globalizing economy in ways that are beneficial for all countries.

As part of this initiative, UNCTAD regularly holds short courses on STI-related topics for Geneva-based diplomats. It also organizes STI training for officials in the five developing regions: Africa; Asia and the Pacific; Economies in transition/Eastern Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; and the Middle East and North Africa.




Training events with UNCTAD's Virtual Institute

The Virtual Institute (Vi) is UNCTAD’s programme of support to academia. Launched in June 2004 with universities representing five countries, by August 2016 the Vi had grown into a true global network of 131 universities and research centres in 64 countries.

The ultimate objective of the Vi is to help developing countries design evidence-based policies that result in inclusive and sustainable development. To this end, the Vi enables academic institutions to prepare qualified decision-makers and provide analyses to underpin the formulation of economic policies in their countries.

Recognizing the central role of STI in achieving truly sustainable development, UNCTAD offers courses as part of this initiative on the nexus of technology, innovation and policy.

Some examples of past courses include:




Customized training for developing countries

To improve STI capabilities for the achievement of SDGs, a capacity-building initiative was launched by the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in collaboration with the Government of China during the 20th session of the CSTD in May 2017.

This initiative offers the opportunity for developing country member States to participate in customized training related to STI policies. In this context, physical workshops were jointly organized by UNCTAD and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST) in 2018 and 2019 in China.