Innovation in Southeast Asia

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The Southeast Asian (SEA) region is one of the most dynamic in the world. It is in a period of transition as its national economies become strongly integrated into global knowledge networks. Science and technology (S&T) offer opportunities for countries to ‘move up the value chain’. A better understanding of existing capabilities helps enhance mutually beneficial S&T and innovation co-operation between SEA and OECD countries.

This review provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of Southeast Asian countries’ capacity in S&T and innovation. A regional synthesis highlights current performance and intra- and extra-regional knowledge circulation, including flows between the Southeast Asian region and the established centres of knowledge production such as the EU, Japan and the United States. The country profiles describe the dynamics of national innovation systems and their relation to international knowledge flows, taking into account the wider framework conditions for innovation.



Public policy for innovation

Governments play a range of important roles in innovation systems. For example, the socalled “framework conditions” for innovation tend to be heavily framed by regulation, taxation, trade policies and physical infrastructure, among other things. Innovation depends to a large extent on workforce skills that are largely determined by public education systems. And public sector research is a critical source of new knowledge upon which innovation can draw. This chapter briefly examines how governments in Southeast Asian countries support innovation. It begins with an account of countries’ economic development strategies and the extent to which they emphasise the role of innovation. It then turns to the framework conditions for innovation, paying particular attention to the regulatory framework and its friendliness to innovative start-ups. The chapter then covers the role of education for innovation and presents various educational statistics. In a final section, a brief overview of public sector research systems is provided.


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