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OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Chile 2007

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The OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy offer a comprehensive assessment of the innovation system of individual OECD member and non-member countries, focusing on the role of government.  A growing political awareness of the importance of innovation for the Chile’s future has recently translated into two bold decisions: the creation of an Innovation Council for Competitiveness entrusted with the mission of proposing guidelines for a long-term national innovation strategy; and the introduction of a specific mining tax to increase resources available to implement this strategy. This report assesses the current status of Chile’s innovation system and policies, and identifies where improvements are most needed in order to make the most efficient use of this additional public investment.

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The Role of Government

For a long time, Chile’s innovation system was rudimentary, having developed through a series of ad hoc decisions in the absence of a strategic vision for the role of innovation in economic development and for the role of government in its promotion. It consisted mainly of a funding agency which supported mostly academic research and financed scholarships and a set of publicly owned or funded technological institutes that performed public missions and provided some technological services to the industrial and agricultural sectors. A turning point occurred in the early 1990s, following the reestablishment of democracy, when policies explicitly aimed at strengthening capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation in the various sectors of production were first introduced. Chile is currently going through a new, probably more fundamental, transition. A growing political awareness of the importance of innovation for the country’s further catching-up has motivated three bold decisions: the creation of an Innovation Council for Competitiveness entrusted with the mission of proposing guidelines for a long-term national innovation strategy; the introduction of a specific mining tax to increase resources available to implement this strategy; and the introduction of an R&D tax incentive to motivate private-sector participation.

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