21 June 2012
UNCTAD review recommends that the Dominican Republic expand efforts to encourage innovation activity in domestic businesses, as that is where the greatest payoff in jobs and economic growth can be realized.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review of the Dominican Republic, published today by UNCTAD, was carried out in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The findings are being presented at an event in Santo Domingo chaired by the Dominican Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona.
STIP reviews are produced by UNCTAD, often in collaboration with other agencies, at the request of developing country governments.
To date, reviews have been carried out for Angola, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Lesotho, Mauritania and Peru.
The Dominican Republic is developing a strong institutional framework to enable businesses - and such related institutions as universities and research centres - to use science, technology and new ideas to improve existing products and create new ones, generating jobs and economic growth, the STIP Review says. Key legislative and regulatory measures have been put in place to encourage this process, and human and financial resources have been dedicated to it.
As a result, a national innovation system is emerging in the country. To build on that, the report suggests three areas for action:
- Greater promotion of innovation activities in enterprises. Although various government steps have been taken, more can be done to enable domestic businesses to become more innovative. Research in universities is not sufficient to ensure economic benefits from science and technology, the Review notes. The greater economic payoff comes when enterprises adopt and develop new products and processes. Extended benefits also could be reaped from increased interaction and collaboration among enterprises.
- Efforts and resources should be concentrated in priority economic and social areas such as energy sustainability, health care, agriculture and agro-industry. Successful innovation in these sectors, which are important for development in the Dominican Republic, also would improve social conditions, the Review says.
- More should be invested in developing skills, especially among researchers at the postgraduate level, in the priority economic and social sectors. Scholarships for postgraduate education, international collaboration and the repatriation of talented nationals working abroad could to lead to much-needed advanced knowledge and know-how for the country, the Review says.
The Dominican Republic can rely on a number of programmes in the sphere of science, technology and innovation as the basis for progress and successful results, the report notes. For example, the Government could build upon the innovation fund FONDOCYT (National Fund for Innovation and Scientific and Technological Development) and, with some adjustments, encourage business investment in innovation activities.
Enhancement of the national innovation system will also require additional administrative capacities. These are needed to design and monitor innovation policies and programmes, particularly as their development involves increasing levels of complexity, the Review says.
The STIP Review of the Dominican Republic was prepared at the request of the Government. It examines the country's national innovation system from a general perspective and discusses the potential for innovation in the three strategic sectors of agriculture and agro-industry, health and energy.
The STIP reviews are part of a wider UNCTAD programme for promoting policymaking capacities in the field of science, technology and innovation.