Technology transfer and the restructuring of science and technology in central and eastern Europe

Chataway, Joanna (1999) Technology transfer and the restructuring of science and technology in central and eastern Europe. Technovation, 19 (6-7). pp. 355-364. ISSN 0166-4972

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Profound changes which have occurred in central and eastern Europe (CEE) have left science and technology systems in those countries in a dilapidated state. Reform efforts have focused on restructuring and privatizing research institutes and promoting technology transfer between domestic institutions and between domestic and foreign institutions. Both of these reform initiatives are aimed at increasing levels of innovation. Emphasis has been put on introducing the market mechanism. This paper looks at these reforms in CEE, particularly in Poland. The following broad points emerge: First, the track record of efforts to promote technology transfer need to be understood and interpreted in conjunction with a fuller understanding of institutional change, innovation and learning. Technology transfer is meant to encourage innovation, but a range of things need to happen if technology transfer initiatives are to work. Gibbons observed, for example, that effective innovation requires new configurations of knowledge (and skills). The coordination activities required to effect these new configurations within and between organizations and institutions impose their own demands on actors engaged in technology transfer, which rapid privatization or liberalization policies in CEE do not begin to address. Reform policies which have focused on introducing new economic incentives need to address change at micro and meso levels. Creating new institutional practice depends not only on creating economic incentives but on wider reform processes, such as creating new organizational practices and encouraging the emergence of new sorts of institutions which can facilitate links. Second, the reform process is a social and political one. Changing the emphasis of policy towards technological development requires a change in power relations so that technological development and innovation, rather than success in science, are prioritized. These political battles greatly influence the pace and nature of change, and in CEE the promotion of technology and innovation is taking place in a context of social upheaval. Social consequences of reform in general and in science and technology in particular are difficult and uncomfortable, and change in this area is perhaps not yet a political priority in some CEE countries.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Economic and social effects, Privatization, Process engineering, Public policy, Research and development management, Innovations, Reform policies, Technology transfer
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Stacey Goldup
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2016 11:55
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2016 11:55
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