Innovation System and Development
The projects listed can either be doctoral thesis, projects or research projects. In some cases the projects belong to more than one of the four main profile areas of the research division of TechnoScience Studies.
Business Incubation Systems as an integral development strategy
for industrialization of Uganda
Joshua Mutambi, PhD, postdoc.
The main objective of the postdoctoral study is to investigate the level of collaboration and incubation practices of institutions, agencies and university programs to promote technology transfer, business start-ups and influencing sustainable business models. All this is in the context of emerging innovation systems and improving competitiveness. This is envisaged to inform the respective incubation institutions and policy processes and help in particular formulating relevant strategies and prospects of advancement (in terms of upgrading incubation environment and increased productivity regarding business development and competitiveness in Uganda) and growth of sustainable businesses.
Unlocking the Binding Constraints in Ugandas Innovation System
Julius Ecuru, PhD, postdoc
The post-doctoral work will continue exploring innovation systems in the development context in Uganda and east Africa. Many policy makers and politicians recognize how the potential role of science, technology and innovation could play in the economic development and wellbeing of their societies. However, the rhetoric is not adequately matched with allocation of resources to STI, and development of enabling policies. Uganda, for example does not have a clear policy for financing innovation, and struggles to find ways of promoting innovations and competitiveness in the country. The post-doctoral work, therefore, aims at assisting policy makers understand the dynamics of innovation systems, and hence assist them develop innovation policies that are responsive to the demands of growth and competitiveness.
Formation of clusters focusing generation of a co-evolution context of university and industry in Cochabamba region, Bolivia
Carlos Acevedo, PhD project
Main objective is to develop knowledge about Innovation Systems and clustering processes focusing on the generation of a co-evolution based context between the university-industry-government .
Specific objectives are to:
- analyse national policies created to strengthen the National Innovation System
- analyse the SME cluster development taken place in the region of Cochabamba, Bolivia
- determine success mechanisms to make the innovation processes more dynamic in the co-evolution context between the university, firms and government.
Understanding energy systems as innovation systems.
Understanding the role of the university in the national innovation system.
Tomas Kjellqvist, R&D&I project
Inspired by work done in the project Solar power to the people I started research with the aim to understand energy systems as innovation systems. The main finding from the previous project was that implementation of solar technology in the productive sector in African countries was due to the absence of an innovation system in the energy sector. The project had also identified that the innovation system on renewable energy sources was only emerging in Sweden. Thus it had been very difficult to identify possible partnerships for collaboration between Swedish companies and companies in East Africa.
I set out to design a research program on how energy systems could be understood with the concepts derived from theories on innovation. To make the connection I realized that I had to go to the roots of Systems theory and to understand the evolution of energy systems I needed to get a better grip on theories on evolutionary economics. As the transition to renewable energy requires solutions for a decentralized energy production in distributed systems I also needed to integrate methods dating back to the quantitative revolution in economic geography back in the 1960´s. The work on tying these different perspectives together is ongoing, and I find it intriguing. It will allow me to do an overview on transitions in the Swedish energy system since the 1980s and also to integrate a wider definition of the energy system actors. This theoretical and epistemological framework has already proved to be valuable in participatory action research conducted with the Netport Energy Cluster. To get a better understanding of how my approach could be used within a framework of development and environment I initiated a collaboration with researchers at the Södertörn University.
Another work done during the year is a Study on Human Resource Development for Science, Technology and Innovation in Ethiopia, which was a consultancy for the German Aid organization GZ. In this I developed a framework for the possible integration of knowledges from research higher education and vocational training with learning by doing and using technology. This work has also contributed to my understanding on possible ways of handling knowledge challenges within the energy cluster. I also foresee that I will be able to use that framework in the forthcoming project on understanding the role of the University of Rwanda in the National Innovation System, which was approved and granted in the last quarter of 2014.
As a part of my activities with the Swedish National Commission for Unesco, I wrote a small paper on the international dimension of Integrated Science. This paper was based on findings from my thesis work in 2012.
Innovative clusters closing the gap between University and Society in East Africa. A living proof of Mode 2 excellence?
Birgitta Rydhagen, project manager, Lena Trojer
Universities in East Africa collaborate in innovative cluster initiatives in diverse locations in knowledge production in the context of application. This means that scientific researchers participate in socio-economic development and poverty reduction by developing knowledge in close collaboration with actors in local communities, with business and Government. The umbrella organization PACF (Pan African Competitiveness Forum) provides a supportive structure and facilitates collaboration between cluster groups in different African countries.
The study focuses on two cases where cluster initiatives develop innovative solutions to address changing situations - climate change, increasing global market competition, deteriorating natural resources and an increasing need for diversified income generation among women and men. One case is the Tanzanian Zanzibar cluster for seaweed production. The other case is salt production cluster in lake Katwe, Uganda. Both clusters aim towards increasing product quality and product diversity to increase the income, and at the same time improve social conditions for workers and their families. Many of the participants are women.
The main aim is to study how innovative clusters can foster timely implementation of knowledge products with socioeconomic relevance. Focus is on the research component, since socioeconomic development is part of the strategic policies of universities in Uganda and Tanzania. The project includes focus group discussions and participatory exercises with PACF key persons and cluster members.
Early 2014, an anthology with invited chapters by PACF key persons and cluster members was published. Final report was submitted to Sida.