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Building an innovation-driven economy the case of BRIC and GCC countries

Steffen Gackstatter Maxim Kotzemir Dirk Meissner
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Building an innovation-driven economy
the case of BRIC and GCC countries
Steffen Gackstatter, Maxim Kotzemir and Dirk Meissner

Steffen Gackstatter is Abstract

based at Monitor Purpose The purpose of this paper is to undertake an analysis of the attempts of Gulf Cooperation
Company GmbH, Munich, Council (GCC) and Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries to catch up in their national
Germany. development to build an innovation-driven economy on which to base future growth and wealth. We
Maxim Kotzemir is based conducted an analysis of GCC and BRIC countries to show the different strategies leaders have taken
to try and achieve this aspiration. This paper analyses the various aspects of national innovation
at National Research
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systems of BRIC and GCC countries, highlights similar and different approaches and attempts to
University Higher
quantify their success. For example, GCC countries spend extensively on research and development
School of Economics, (R&D), but have so far achieved less than meaningful results. Brazil, China and India are catching up to
Moscow, Russian the acknowledged world leaders in innovation, but Russia is lagging.
Federation. Dirk Meissner Design/methodology/approach Our comparison was based mostly on secondary data from
is based at Higher sources and institutions that use statistical data to build country rankings, such as the Global
School of Economics, Competitiveness Index (GCI) produced by the World Economic Forum. BRIC and GCC countries were
Moscow, Russian analyzed over 1996-2011 because most of the indicators data are only available from 1996. Data related
Federation. to intellectual property rights have been collected since 1999 or 2000. The data available for the number
of researchers proved problematic for both BRIC and GCC countries. For instance, some data for the
GCC countries was missing. To not leave a gap, we extrapolated in line with the overall trend; using the
least squares method to approximate a straight line for the missing data based on what had already
been reported.
Findings Counter-intuitively, we will argue that the push toward an innovation-based economy is
actually not dependent on total expenditure on R&D, but rather relies on the efficient allocation of
investments and the rigorous implementation of innovation strategy. And, we will demonstrate this by
showing our ideas in relation to both BRIC and GCC countries. This analysis raises fascinating points of
discussion for those looking to build an innovation economy in other countries and has practical
implications for policy-makers and policy implementers in all countries.
Originality/value First analysis of the correlation of gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) with gross
domestic product (GDP) growth and Straits Times Index (STI) policy measures.
Keywords Innovation, Globalization, Knowledge economy, Technology-led strategy,
Economic growth, International politics
Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction
Increasingly, economists recognize that knowledge-based innovation is a major driver of
competitiveness. That requires a powerful knowledge base, often centered on technology
and innovation, as an important precondition for building and developing a genuine
innovation economy.
Received 9 July 2012
Revised 13 September 2012 For a long time, economists have also believed that countries in transition would be well
Accepted 26 September 2012
able to adapt the knowledge and competences generated in developed countries (Cohen,
The study was implemented in
the framework of the Basic
Levinthal, 1990; Zahra, George, 2002). That is, by building a robust research and education
Research Program at the infrastructure, they would be able to absorb new knowledge and innovation developed
National Research University
Higher School of Economics
elsewhere. And so in the main, that is where countries from Brazil, Russia, India and China
(HSE) in 2012. (BRIC) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have invested.

DOI 10.1108/FS-09-2012-0063 VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014, pp. 293-308, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1463-6689 foresight PAGE 293
However, building and maintaining a knowledge economy is a complex and difficult
undertaking, itself only one step toward building a genuine innovation ecosystem (Brinkley
et al., 2012; Liu and Chen, 2003; Hui, 2007). And within that system, there are important
layers of emphasis. At the foundation lies publicly supported research, which functions as
the driver of original innovation in the long-term. A second layer of innovation usually comes
from industrial research and spin offs from existing large enterprises. Third, market
development and firm creation are important for the innovation ecosystem to function
effectively (though markets are generally driven through forces of regulation, procurement
or early adoption by risk-taking consumers and so should be seen as part of the interlinked
innovation ecosystem rather than as stand-alone phenomena) (Goedhuys, 2007).
The countries analyzed, namely, BRIC, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
(GCC) have similar aspirations in attempting to transition toward an innovation-driven
economy, yet they all show very different approaches and success. For instance, Research
and Development (R&D) is an obvious function in a continuous chain of innovation that links
scientific research, market research, development design, first production and market
acceptance. Therefore, its perhaps not surprising that the BRIC countries are building and
developing national research and technology infrastructures, investing a significant share
of gross domestic product (GDP) in their science and technology systems. Yet in relative
terms the GCC countries invest significantly less. Therefore, we compared all of the BRIC
and GCC countries to assess their development and achievements, our emphasis lying on
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attempting to tease out the strategy at the heart of the initiatives what impact theyve seen
to date and where useful opportunities for growth might lie.

2. Methodology and approach

BRIC countries are usually considered the upcoming nations in terms of economic power
and so we analyzed each of them. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) in a recent study states that [. . .] Future growth must therefore
increasingly come from innovation-induced productivity growth (OECD, 2010). Hence,
most nations, including GCC countries, which have a completely different base with a much
smaller population and a much larger capital base, are looking to evolve into an
innovation-driven economy. As many other countries, both the BRIC and the GCC countries
recognize the importance of innovation for future economic wealth. Because much has
been written about developed countries, we chose the BRIC and GCC countries for
analysis to add a new perspective to the discussion. Within GCC, we have selected the
three most important economic players, which constitute 92-94 per cent of all those
countries GDP: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Our comparison was based mostly on secondary data from sources and institutions that
use statistical data to build country rankings, such as the Global Competitiveness Index
(GCI) produced by the World Economic Forum. BRIC and GCC countries were analyzed
over 1996-2011 because most of the indicators data are only available from 1996. Data
related to intellectual property rights have been collected since 1999 or 2000.
The data available for the number of researchers proved problematic for both BRIC and
GCC countries. For instance, some data for the GCC countries was missing. To not leave
a gap, we extrapolated in line with the overall trend; using the least squares method to
approximate a straight line for the missing data based on what had already been reported.
For Brazil, Russia and Kuwait, data on the number of researchers are available in full-time
equivalent (FTE) and in headcounts. For the remaining countries, data were only available
or in one or the other. For instance, for Saudi Arabia, only head count is accounted for; for
India and China, only FTE representation numbers were available. For UAE no data exist at
all. Given that the majority of countries reported researcher data in terms of FTE
representation, we use those figures for Russia, Kuwait and Brazil.

PAGE 294 foresight VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

There were other related problems with the data, particularly in regard to GCC countries.
For the UAE, data on gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) and its number of researchers
were missing; for Saudi Arabia, data on the institutional structure of GERD financing and
performance are missing while GERD figures are only available from 2003. GCI estimates
of Saudi Arabia are available only from 2007, while for all other sample countries from 2005.
In our analysis, we used the following databases:
Euromonitor Global Market Information Database (Section Government, Labour and
UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre (Section Science and technology).
SCImago Country and Journal Rank database (powered by Scopus).
GCI 12th pillar Innovation index and its sub-indices (developed by World Economic
Global innovation index developed by Institut Europen dAdministration des Affaires
World Bank (Knowledge economy index portal, KEI and KI indices section).
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
World Bank (Global Economic Monitor [GEM] database) databases.
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We used different statistical approaches for analysis, including normalized histograms,

visualizations, scatter plots and bubble scatter plots. We also used the dynamic scatter
plot, where we plotted the different indicators of each countrys national innovation system
(NIS) over several years on horizontal ad vertical axes. This helped us to understand the
shifting relationships between the different indicators, and allows us to present the dynamic
relationships in visual form. This method also allowed us to estimate the trajectory of the
relationship between two parameters within a NIS for several countries.

3. BRIC and GCC innovation system characteristics

3.1 The innovation aspiration
At a political level, both BRIC and GCC countries have shown relative stability over the past
five years. They have intensified their ambitions to modernize and to develop
knowledge-based economies, undertaking various important initiatives. As shown in
Table I, the GCC countries are looking to become advanced knowledge-based economies
by building a highly competitive innovation ecosystem, empowering the nation,
transforming the economy and inspiring the people. Moreover, these countries have
developed and applied initiatives to gain the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)
leadership position in the region, to solve current economic development and labor
challenges and to establish a long-term foundation for future growth. Major measures to
achieve these ambitions are related to building and developing human capital, establishing
an R&D environment and developing a future-oriented industrial base.
The BRIC countries, meanwhile, have developed long-term strategies at national level, with
the common goal of promoting technological innovation, raising awareness for and
improving science teaching in schools and eventually upgrading innovation capacity
through developing human capital in research- and innovation-related activities (Table II).
Short-term initiatives include investments in strategic science and innovation areas, in
enhancing the interaction of the R&D sector and the economy as well as in promoting new
modes of publicprivate partnerships (PPP) in higher education. They are also focused on
the expansion and commercialization of scientific research results, encouraging
technology and innovation collaboration both within national laboratories and abroad.
Mid-term measures are targeted at broadening the spread of technologies for inclusion and
social development; enhancing the competitiveness of the small- and medium-sized

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014 foresight PAGE 295

Table I Comparison of STI initiatives within key GCC countries
Criterion Saudi Arabia The UAE/Abu Dhabi Kuwait

Lead driver National Industrial Innovation Strategy The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 was A four-year development plan has been
presented in November 2009, but published in August 2007 and is the main law since 2010: STI is a critical element
implementation responsibilities have focus of all public activities. It is likely that of many requested policies
been decentralized with little overview the vision will be revised shortly
on implementation status
Lead institutions King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology Development Council (TDC) Kuwait Institute for Science and
Technology (KACST). Other responsible for STI policy. The Department Research (KISR). A planned STI council
government institutions such as Sagia of Economic Development has recently will oversee and coordinate STI policy
and NICDP are responsible for established a Council of Competitiveness and its implementation
economic development (COAD)
STI Policy STI policy was written in 2005 STI policy was published in 2011; current Two parallel STI policy concepts were
definition activities are underway to implement the developed in 2007; neither of them was
concept with agreement of all involved implemented. A new STI policy has
stakeholders. Process is rather slow been requested by the development
plan and will be developed in 2012
Current Objective is to join the advanced Key objective stated as empowering the Objective is to regain the STI
objectives and knowledge-based economies with a nation, transforming the economy, and leadership position in the region, to
focus of STI highly competitive STI ecosystem by inspiring the people. Five focus areas solve current economic development
Policy 2025. Eight programs and 11 are: Human Capital; R&D environment; and labor challenges and to establish a
technology priorities were defined Enterprise development; Infrastructure and long-term foundation for future growth
Laws and Regulations by fostering the development of STI
activities in Kuwait
Megaprojects KAUST (King Abdullah University of MASDAR: CO2-neutral knowledge city in The Economic Development Plan,
and Investments Science and Technology) opened in the desert. The project was started in published in 2010, has an investment
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(bold moves) September 2010, with a financial 2006 with expected completion by 2025. volume of USD 104 billion until 2014,
endowment of USD 10 billion Estimated cost of USD 16-22 billion mostly for infrastructure projects
Economic Cities: Investment of more
than USD 60 billion to build four new
cities for up to five million residents,
who are expected to contribute USD
150 billion to Saudi GDP
Internal Unclear, no transparent measurement Emirate-wide performance management Performance management system is
measurement of system in place system for all government entities was being implemented and will be active
progress implemented in 2009 from 2012
International 10 by 10 was an internal Saudi Usually, rankings are measured on the Kuwait improved in 2012 in the World
rankings intiative to have the country feature federal UAE level, but Abu Dhabi has now Banks Ease of Doing Business index
as one of the top 10 countries in the proactively started to work together with by four ranks to Number 67, after five
World Banks Ease of Doing WEF and the World Bank to produce consecutive years of going down in the
Business Index. It was number 10 in emirate-level ranking comparisons rankings
2011; from number 67 in 2004
Challenges and Science personal and motivation TK TK
difficulties Follow-up on plans (see

enterprises (SME) innovation-related sector and establishing a competitive and flourishing

R&D sector.

3.2 R&D activities and impact

Perhaps not surprisingly, the larger BRIC countries invest several times more than the
smaller GCC countries in absolute and also in relative terms. What is surprising, however,
is that this gap remains even when comparing GERD as share of GDP. Clearly, the focus
on R&D is much higher in BRIC countries than it is in GCC. However, that does not
necessarily account for the higher growth rates of the BRIC countries (Table III).
3.2.1 Brazil. In terms of funding and performance, Brazil, Russia and China follow a rather
similar structure. Government and business are the two main financers of R&D. Brazil,
however, has one key advantage: its higher education sector makes up a significant share
of GERD, accounting for an average of 40.8 per cent in 1996-2004. In the other countries,
this share did not exceed 12 per cent. The high share of higher education sector in GERD
performance is a distinctive feature of Brazilian structure of R&D financing.

PAGE 296 foresight VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

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Table II Comparison of STI initiatives within key GCC countries

Criteria Brazil China India Russia

Lead driver Innovation Law was published in November The 12th Five-Year Plan for S&T The Report of the Steering Committee on Science & The Long-term Socio-Economic
2004 and is aimed at increasing the Development was published in April Technology for XIth Five Year Plan (2007-2012) was Development of the Russian Federation
competitiveness of firms 2011. It defines a strategy and plan published in February 2006. It aimed to develop an for the Period up to the year 2020 was
In November 2005, Positive Law drastically for future actions for all NIS (national approach on S&T and to suggest new plans and published in November 2011. This lays
simplified the process for investing in R&D innovation system) actors and also programs for the S&T sector. Its main purpose was to out a framework for future policies and
and introduced a slew of fiscal incentives defines priorities in STI policy influence the national planning process measures. In addition, a number of
for firms looking to investIn November complementing documents will be
2005, Positive Law drastically simplified the created to specify mechanisms and
process for investing in R&Dand ways in which the goals of the Concept
introduced a slew of fiscal incentives for will be achieved
firms looking to invest
Lead Government sector: The largest group of Government sector: Chinese Academy Government sector: Council of Scientific and Industrial Government sector: Russian Academy of
institutions Public Research Organizations includes 19 of Sciences (CAS) Research; Department of Atomic Energy; Department Sciences, with branch academies for
organizations such as the CBPF (Brazilian Private sector: PetroChina; ZTE; China of Science and Technology; Department of Medicine, Education, Agriculture,
Centre for Physical Research); CEITEC S.A. Petroleum & Chemical; China Railway Biotechnology; Department of Electronics; Department Architecture and Arts. Russian Federal
(Advanced Electronics Technology Construction; Lenovo; Dongfeng Motor; of Space; Defense Research and Development Space Agency (Roscosmos); Kurchatov
Excellence Centre) and CETEM (Minerals China Coal Energy; China Organization; Indian Council of Agricultural Research; Institute (nuclear and nano research
Technology Centre); CETENE (Northeast Communications Construction; BYD; Indian Council of Medical Research; Department of institution)
Region Strategic Technology Centre) China South Locomotive Non-Conventional Sources of Energy; and Department Private sector: Business and state
Private sector: Companies such as Petrobrs Higher education sector: National of Ocean Development corporations such as Rosatom; United
and its laboratories (COPPE/UFRJ, PUC-Rio, Taiwan University; Peking University; Private sector: 20 Research Associations in different Aircraft Corporation; Gazprom; Lukoil;
Unicamp and USP) Tsinghua University; Chinese University sectors, including Automotive Research Association of Russian Technologies (Rostechnologii);
Higher education sector: nine of Hong Kong India (ARAI); Wool Research Association; Tea Kaspersky Lab; JSC Sitronics; JSFC
government-sponsored universities include: Research Association; Textile Research Associations Sistema; Norilsk-Nickel; Onexim Group;
Universidade Federal (UF) de So Paul; UF based in North India and South India; Jute Research Renova Group; Rosneft
de Cincias da Sade de Porto Alegre; UF Association, among others Higher education sector: Moscow State
de Vios; UF de Minas Gerais; UF do Rio Higher education sector: 24 established Central University; Moscow Physical Technical
Grande do Sul; UF do Tringulo Mineiro; UF Universities. Four Indian Institutes of Technology, six Institute; St. Petersburg State University;
do Rio de Janeiro; UF de So Carlos; Indian Institutes of Management and 14 more Central Novosibirsk State University
Pontifcia Universidade Catlica do Rio de Universities to be set up, according to Government
Janeiro. One private university: UF de Itajub Program in 2008
STI Policy STI policy is defined by INNOVATION LAW Medium-term STI policy goals are STI policy is defined by Five Year Plans. Policy in the Main issues of STI policy are determined
definition AND POSITIVE LAW defined by the 12th Five-Year Plan for biotech sector is defined by National Biotechnology by Long-term Socio-Economic
S&T Development Development Strategy (published in November 2007) Development of the Russian Federation
Long-term STI policy is determined by for the Period up to the year 2020
the Medium- and Long-term National The development path of the Academies
Plan for Science and Technology of Sciences is determined by the
Development 2006-2020, published in Programme of Modernization of the
January 2006 Russian Academies of Sciences,

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

The strategic directions of STI policy are published in November 2005
determined by Technological Revolution
and Chinas Future-Innovation 2050

(published in June 2009)

PAGE 297
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Table II
Criteria Brazil China India Russia

Current Expansion and consolidation of Brazilian The main targets of Science and According to XIth Five Year Plan, the main goals of Main goals of STI policy in Russia can be

PAGE 298 foresight

objectives NIS: expanding, integrating, modernizing Technology in the 12th Five-year Plan STI policy in India are: summarized as follows:
and focus and consolidating NIS elements: for S&T Development are: Strengthening human resource skill base; Establishing a competitive R&D sector and
of STI Promotion of technological innovation within To greatly increase the R&D input Enhancing Indias competitiveness in micro, and SME favorable conditions for its development;
Policy firms; intensity; innovation; Developing the IPR (intellectual property
Investment in strategic areas: reinforcing To remarkably upgrade the original Strengthening Indias intellectual property, particularly rights) regime for use and protection of
research and innovation activities in Brazils innovation capacity; in government and the higher education sector; R&D results;
strategic areas; The closer integration of R&D sector Promotion of new forms of public-private partnerships Fostering mechanisms for commercializing

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

Popularizing and improvement of science and economy; (PPP) in higher education expansion and R&D;
teaching in schools; More benefits for peoples livelihoods; commercializing scientific research results of national Modernizing the economy on the back of
Broadening the spread of technologies for New progress in forging innovation laboratories technological innovation;
inclusion and social development bases; Promotion of international science and technology Creating favorable condition for R&D
More empowered R&D human collaboration personal;
resources; Strengthening international collaboration;
Constantly improved R&D sector and Stimulating innovation and scientific
innovation mechanisms activity within the business sector;
Strengthening the positions of higher
education sector in scientific activity
Megaprojects Alcntara Space Centre; National Medium- and Long-term Chandrayan1 space center; Skolkovo innovation center (main
and Satellite Launch Vehicle; Development Plan for Human Software Technology Parks; innovation cluster);
Investments Earth Observation Satellites based on multi- Resources; Special Economic Zones; Network of national research universities
(bold mission platform; Special Economic Zones; Technology Business Incubators (near 30 leading universities mainly in field
moves) Brazilian Nuclear Industries National Interim Provisions on natural sciences, math and engineering);
Intellectual Property Management of Regional technological clusters
Major Projects
National Basic Research Development
Internal Knowledge and innovation for competitiveness OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: IndiaNational Agricultural Innovation Project (2009, OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy:
measurement in Brazil (2008, World Bank); Competitiveness China 2008 World Bank); Intellectual property rights and Russian Federation 2011
of progress and growth in Brazilian cities: local policies and innovation in developing countries: evidence from
actions for innovation (2009, World Bank); India (2009, World Bank)
Boosting Innovation Performance in Brazil
(2006, OECD)
International Highest position among BRIC countries on Highest position among BRIC countries Highest position among BRIC countries on the quality of Highest level of researchers per 10,000 of
rankings the average level of citation on GCI Innovation index and especially scientific research institutions and availability of employed population among BRIC
on government procurement of scientists and engineers sub-indices of GCI Innovation countries
advanced tech products and index
intellectual property rights protection
Highest R&D intensity among BRIC
Challenges Low level of technological innovations; Low innovation capacity; Inefficient mechanisms of PPP in R&D sector; Low level of integration within national
and Need to foster investments in strategic Scientific and innovation activity is Weak base of IPR laws; innovation system;
difficulties sector; weakly integrated into the economy; Low level of integration of Indian scientists into global Lack of financing of R&D, especially in
Creating a good image of scientific activity More attention needed to motivate scientific community; social sciences and humanities;
among the population; human resources Weak position of Indian SME innovative firms Low wages in R&D sector;
Stimulating the social effects of innovations Low level of international mobility;
Lack of integrating ideas among NIS actors
Table III Basic indicators of investments in R&D in BRIC and GCI countries in 1997-2010
All data as average 1997-2010 Brazil China India Russia Kuwait Saudi Arabia

GERD volume (USD in billions) 15.6 66.5 18.6 17.9 0.1 0.3
Growth rate of GERD volume (%) 8.4 18.9 7.9 7.2 1.7 4.0
GERD as per cent of GDP 1.0 1.1 0.8 1.1 0.1 0.1
Notes: Growth rates are calculated for volume of GERD in national currencies in constant 2010 prices; no data on dynamics of GERD
in the UAE are available for us from the databases listed in Source
Source: Authors calculations based on Euromonitor, IMF, UNESCO database and national statistics

3.2.2 Russia and China. The private sector also plays an important role in funding and in
supporting R&D in both Russia and China, though it is important to note the governments
influence on influential companies in these countries. Both Russia and China own or
part-own many of the companies whose R&D activities are accounted for as business R&D
and as such their industrial R&D activities should be seen as directed by political agendas
rather than as following any one companys individual innovation strategy.
3.3.3 India. Of the BRIC countries, India is lagging behind, sharing distinct similarities with
the GCC countries. While India, in absolute terms, provides significant resources, the
relative share of GERD/GDP shows that the current level is not sufficient to achieve a lasting
momentum based on R&D and innovation. Moreover, the Indian NIS is characterized by
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inefficient mechanisms of PPP in R&D sector; a low level of integration of Indian scientists
into global scientific community and a weak position of Indian SME innovative firms.
3.3.4 Kuwait. Kuwaits R&D is entirely a function of the government and its related
institutions; the business and the higher education sector did not perform R&D at all.
However, Kuwait is currently establishing both a research and higher education
infrastructure. For now, these institutions are still accounted for as government activities in
the national accounts and statistics, while most business enterprises are seen as
government-owned. In addition, the share of business sector-financed R&D fluctuated in
the range from 18 to 20.9 per cent falling to 4.4 per cent in 2004 but not exceeding 7.5 per
cent in subsequent years, eventually decreasing even more to 2.3 per cent in 2008. Thus,
the dynamics of the share of business sector financing of GERD in Kuwait had a stepwise
character. This decline in share of business sector in GERD financing was due to the
increase of the share of GERD financing by government sector. The significance of foreign
funds in financing of GERD in Kuwait was very low. Higher education sector did not
participate in the financing or in the performance of GERD in Kuwait at all. Thus,
investments in R&D were almost entirely under the control of the government. The business
sector has had some impact on investment in GERD in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but
by 2009, the business sector actually left the sector of R&D. This process was stepwise: in
2003 and 2006, there was a sharp decline in the share of the business sector in the
financing of GERD (Huibo and Bingwen, 2010; Tseng, 2009; Osman and Nour, 2011).
3.3.5 Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian National Industrial Innovation Strategy was
presented in November 2009. However, the responsibilities have been decentralized
resulting in little overview on the current implementation status, making it more difficult to
capture evidence for its impact. One remarkable objective of Saudi Arabia is the intention
to join the advanced knowledge-based economies with a highly competitive STI ecosystem
by 2025. In consequence, 8 programs and 11 technology priorities were defined which are
currently being implemented. However, Saudi Arabia is lacking sufficient investment in
R&D and innovation until currently with rather modest 4 per cent GERD growth rate which
mirrors an R&D intensity of 0.1 per cent GERD/GDP). Accordingly, the number of
researchers (head count) grew by 130 per cent in the past 10 years. Compared to other
countries in transition to innovation-driven economies, these figures seem rather low.
However, one needs to take into account the surrounding conditions, e.g. the structure of
the economy which is largely driven by the oil sector.

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014 foresight PAGE 299

The initiative 10 by 10 is an internal Saudi initiative to have the country become one of the
top 10 countries in the World Banks Ease of Doing Business Index. Saudi Arabia jumped
to number 10 in 2011 from number 67 in 2004 thus the measures taken show first results.
Another vehicle for modernization are economic Cities for which more than USD 60bn were
invested to build four new cities for up to five million residents, who are expected to
contribute USD 150bn to Saudi GDP. In addition the King Abdullah University of Science
and Technology (KAUST) was opened in September 2010, with a financial endowment of
USD 10bn.
Even more impressive is the difference of BRIC and GCC when looking at the number of
studies (Table IV). The reason for an even bigger gap is based on relatively higher salaries
for the fewer researchers in the GCC countries. The GCC countries have slightly increased
the number of researchers over time, but China and Brazil have much higher increases,
and even the relatively smaller increase in India means a lot more additional researchers in
absolute terms (Liu and Lundin, 2006; Krishna, Bhattacharay, 2009). Only Russia has
decreased the number of researchers over the past 12 years. It is remarkable that Russia
used to be the country with most researchers of all analyzed countries in 1998 which
reduced to only one-third of the force of China in 2009 (Gokhberg, 2011).
Considering the investment in R&D measured, GERD Kuwait strongly stands against the
other countries. The level of GERD in Kuwait is disparagingly low, as is the index of
innovation; however, per capita GDP in Kuwait is several times higher than GDP per capita
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of the countries near it. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is a statistical outlier with GCI innovation
index is much greater than innovation index in countries with comparable GERD. The level
of GDP per capita in Saudi Arabia was also much higher than in countries, which had
levels of GERD comparable with Saudi Arabias level. Accordingly, in Saudi Arabia, the
high level of NISs was determined not by investments in R&D, but by some other factor.
Consequently, the outputs produced by these researchers have developed in a similar
pattern. The publications in GCC have increased on a very small base (Table V). Russia
has only slightly increased the number, whereas India, Brazil and China have substantially
increased the publications three-, five- and elevenfold, respectively. However, this is not
an indicator for the quality of the publications. There is no consistent difference between
BRIC and GCC countries. Brazil and India have a higher number of citations, whereas
China and Russia have a lower number compared to the GCC countries which are relatively
homogeneous (Tseng, 2009; Liu et al., 2010; Liu and Lundin, 2006; Gokhberg et al., 2011,
Gokhberg, 2003; Dezhina and Zashev, 2007).
One more output factor that we looked at was the share of high-tech exports as an indicator
for success of innovation efforts in each country. China is here even more dominant than
expected from the input data, even when comparing to the huge population

Table IV Number of researchers in 000 in BRIC and GCC countries (1998-2009)

Country 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Change (%)

Brazil 54.9 63.8 73.9 77.9 82.2 90.0 98.3 1,09.4 116.7 124.9 133.3 139.6 254
China 485.5 531.1 695.1 742.7 810.5 862.1 926.3 1,118.7 1,223.8 1,423.4 1,592.4 1,576.9 325
India 117.5 116.7 115.9 125.7 135.4 135.4 145.1 1,54.8 142.5 144.2 145.9 147.7 126
Russia 492.5 497.0 506.4 505.8 491.9 487.5 477.6 4,64.6 464.4 469.1 451.2 442.3 90
Kuwait 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 133
Saudi Arabia 1.0 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.5 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.2 1.3 130
Notes: For Saudi Arabia, data are in head count representation, for all other countries in FTE representation; for all countries, except
Russia and Kuwait, data were restored by method of extrapolation. For Saudi Arabia, data for 2003-2006 are based on extrapolation
by the method of linear approximation. For India, data for 1999, 2001-2004 and 2006-2009 are based on extrapolation by the method
of linear approximation. For India, data only in FTE are available. For China, data for 2009 are based on extrapolation by the method
of linear approximation. For China, data only in FTE representation are available. For Brazil, data for 1998-1999 and 2009 are based
on extrapolation by the method of linear approximation
Source: Authors calculations from UNESCO database

PAGE 300 foresight VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

Table V Estimates of global competiveness index 12th pillar Innovation in BRIC and middle east countries in
Country 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

BRIC countries
Brazil 3.48 3.51 3.5 3.5 3.52 3.55 3.5
China 3.64 3.51 3.6 3.87 3.93 3.92 3.92
India 3.91 4.03 3.9 3.74 3.73 3.62 3.58
Russian Federation 3.43 3.34 3.31 3.41 3.35 3.25 3.14
GCC countries
Kuwait 2.94 2.98 3.16 3.07 2.96 3.03 3
Saudi Arabia 3.44 3.68 3.7 3.92 4.16
The UAE 3.24 3.32 3.37 3.42 3.87 3.91 3.96
Other estimates
Highest level The USA The USA The USA The USA The USA The USA Switzerland
5.93 5.82 5.77 5.84 5.77 5.65 5.77
Lowest level Chad Albania Albania Paraguay Paraguay Kyrgyzstan Yemen
2.09 2.09 2.1 2.06 2.14 2.12 1.77
All countries average 3.41 3.41 3.43 3.4 3.38 3.35 3.36
BRIC countries 3.62 3.59 3.58 3.63 3.63 3.58 3.53
Middle east and North Africa 3.12 3.08 3.24 3.24 3.18 3.19 3.11
Note: The estimations are based on the following criteria 1the worst innovation system, 7the best one
Source: World Economic Forum. Global Competitiveness Reports database
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(Dahlman, 2008). Surprisingly, Kuwaits high-tech exports per capita are relatively high,
especially when compared to India and Russia (Table VI).
From several global existing rankings, the 12th pillar on innovation of the GCI developed by
the World Economic Forum has the broadest acceptance. In result, the GCI shows a broad
picture of the different development stages of the seven analyzed countries over the past
years (Table VII).
It is notable that all countries are close together in the middle of the rating system between
3 and slightly 4. India had a relatively high value GCI innovation index 3.62 points in

Table VI Publication activity of BRIC and GCC countries in 1996-2010 in Scopus database
Country Number of publications Citations per one publication in scientific journals
1996 2010 1996-2010

Brazil 8 533 43 386 8.98

China 27 529 313 846 5.27
India 20 428 68 778 6.76
Russia 30 535 35 352 4.87
Kuwait 580 981 6.61
Saudi Arabia 1 941 5 508 5.98
The UAE 345 1 958 6.55
Note: Authors calculations SCImago Journal and Country Rank database powered by Scopus

Table VII High-tech export in BRIC and GCC countries in 1996-2009

All as average 1996-2009 Brazil China India Russia Kuwait Saudi Arabia The UAE

High-tech export as per cent of GDP 0.69 5.72 0.39 0.82 0.021 0.023 0.021
USD of high-tech export per capita 26.23 31.67 0.19 3.59 26.05 1.11 2.04
Note: High-technology exports are products with high R&D intensity, such as in aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific
instruments and electrical machinery
Source: Authors calculations from Euromonitor, World Bank and United Nations Comtrade, Euromonitor International databases and
national statistics databases

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014 foresight PAGE 301

2010, but the level of GDP per capita in India was several times lower than in other
countries, which had the value of GCI innovation index comparable with Indias level. In
China, the level of GERD and the index value of innovation was the same as in the Czech
Republic, but the level of GDP per capita in China was 3.3 times lower than in Czech
Republic. In Russia and Brazil, the level of GDP per capita, the level of GERD and the value
of GCI innovation index in 2010 were more or less balanced. Brazil and China were the
closest to the line of optimal level of the relationship between GERD level and the value
of GCI innovation index among the countries of the study sample. It should also be noted
that in the BRIC countries mechanisms of transformation of investments in R&D into the NIS
did not work very efficiently which is also expressed in a lower values of innovation index
than countries with comparable levels of GERD (Liu et al., 2010; Liu and Chen, 2003;
Dahlman, 2008).
Summarizing the position of the BRIC countries, it shows that Russia has a strong position
in higher education with a powerful scientific system and particularly dedicated to space
and defense activities (Dezhina and Zashev, 2007; Gokhberg, 2003; Peltola, 2008). In
addition, Russia recently shows growing R&D expenditures. Although Indias high-quality
scientific system is expanding, industrial R&D remains weak. Human resources, in general,
are of high quality and productive capabilities are found, particularly, in information
technology (software) and pharmaceuticals (Kulkarni and Bougias, 2008). The Chinese NIS
shows considerable effort in mobilizing the national education and innovation systems,
especially by accumulating productive, innovative and R&D-related activities.
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Innovation-related capabilities are growing at high ratios with special emphasis on hi-tech
The Brazilian science system becomes, increasingly, a high quality system with global
outreach, while R&D and innovation activities at industry level remain unequal with some
success in airspace, energy, metallurgy and agro-business (Huibo and Bingwen, 2011;
Cassiolato, 2008; Melo and Rapini, 2012; Balbachevsky and Botelho, 2011; de Brito Cruz
and de Mello, 2006; Chandrashekar and Basvarajappa, 2001).

3.3 Findings
There is a clear correlation between R&D investment intensity (GERD/GDP) and GCI
innovation index, as shown in the red line crossing Figure 2 (Figure 1).
This is not a surprising finding because the GCI innovation index composition reflects
GERD only marginally. Furthermore, all BRIC countries and Kuwait are very close to this
optimal line with the exemption of Saudi Arabia which is a complete outlier (Figure 2). That
raises the question, how is it possible to be highly innovative without much R&D
investments? The following detailed data interpretations will consider each of the analyzed
China is a country which is continuously expanding its innovation capacities and
capabilities mirrored in the increasing GCI values which are strongly correlated to the
growth of R&D investments, number of researchers, scientific publications and patent
applications. Consequently, it has the highest high-tech exports of all analyzed countries.
Surprisingly, even faster developments and higher GCI rankings are observed in Saudi
Arabia and the UAE; however, it needs to kept in mind that these countries start from a
lower level of GCI and GERD; moreover, some data are not available for the UAE but R&D
investments, number of researchers and, consequently, high-tech exports are minimal. In
light of the policies developed and applied in these countries, the openness of the STI
regimes toward different types of international collaboration is remarkable. The GCC
countries are aiming at building a research and innovation infrastructure by employing
international science, technology, innovation and industry leaders to design and implement
related initiatives. Thus, the countries direct investment in the first instance toward
education of a new generation of well-trained human resources which is competitive on a
global scale. While China is using this policy approach since the 1980s, Russia is currently

PAGE 302 foresight VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

Figure 1 Impact of GERD on NIS development
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beginning to attract international expertise for laying the foundation of developing a new
generation of innovators at a large scale. However, it needs to be reminded that such
measures have no short-term direct impact.
Brazil and India are ranked in the middle section of GCI without major change or even slight
decline in the case of India. Both countries have comparable innovation input and output
factors only Brazil has significantly increased the number of researchers (Melo and Rapini,
2012; Kulkarni and Bougias, 2008; Joseph et al., 2010).
The least favorable innovation index values are given to Russia and Kuwait which were both
innovation leaders within their peer group some years ago. Turbulences at political and
world economy levels proved to have negative impact on the STI performance of these
countries. Russia can still draw on a very skilled scientific elite as can easily be seen when
looking at the, by far, highest ratio of granted patents by applications. On the other side, it
is remarkable that the increase of researchers is the lowest of all countries and the number
of publications has also decreased. The amount of high-tech exports is about as big as in
Brazil, despite having three times as many researchers. Therefore, an obvious conclusion
is that Russia has a major problem of commercializing its research results (Peltola, 2008;
Gianella and Tompson, 2007).
Kuwait seems to have stagnated in its innovation progress since the occupation 20 years
ago. Its innovation index is the weakest of all analyzed countries, practically without change
in the past years. The country, which was leading technology development in the regions
through institutions like the Kuwait Institute of Science and Research and the Kuwait
University has stagnated in many ways. R&D investments are the lowest which can be
explained by the size of the country, but this does not explain the lowest growth rate of R&D

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014 foresight PAGE 303

Figure 2 Correlation of GDP per capita and R&D investments (GERD) per GDP
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investments within this group. Further evidence is found in the low number of scientific
publications, moreover, in the strong decline of the already low level of scientific
publications in absolute terms. Thus, BRIC and GCC have launched initiatives to develop
the human resources, which require directing the highest number of students and
competent individuals toward the technological and scientific specializations. Besides
human resources, financial resources are required which reinforce the innovation and
renovation and transform the results of scientific research to products, materials or
operations, such as the initiative, primary and supportive capital, particularly by institutional
means such as centers of product improvement, centers of renovation and innovation,
centers of technology improvement, technological incubators and different forms of and
technological parks. Such institutions are meant to aim at cooperative means in the fields
of applied STI. The underlying precondition for achieving these ambitions is awareness and
media means in the technological and scientific fields (Al- Awahdi, Al-Sultan 2,207; Esteves
et al., 2008; Hedner et al., 2013; Wiseman and Anderson, 2012; McGlennon, 2006).

3.4 Limitations of the study

The study argues that there is a clear correlation between investment in R&D expressed as
GERD and economic development of countries. The analysis is based on the
Schumpeterian hypothesis that technological progress and renewal are among the driving
forces of the economy. However, GERD, as used in the analysis, is an input indicator which
is not necessarily capable of explaining technological progress fully. First, GERD explains
technological progress only from the perspective of financial resources invested; the
framework conditions of NISs are not included in this indicator but are assumed to be

PAGE 304 foresight VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014

equally important for the generation and adaption of technology, hence, technological
progress. Second, there is no evidence so far of the time lag between investment in R&D
(GERD) and economic performance of a country. Third, GERD does not necessarily have
a national economic impact, but rather there are international spillovers resulting from
technology-related activities nationally. Especially in the light of global information
exchange among the scientific community, the overall amount of these spillovers is likely to
be significant occurring to and from a country. This limits the expressive power of GERD in
addition. Fourth, the output indicators used (bibliometric and patent indicators, mainly) are
suitable to explain the generation of technologies but are limited in explaining the economic
performance of countries eventually. Finally, innovation indexes are composite indexes
which suffer from loss of information due to the composition of many different indicators, the
assignment of weights to sub-indicators and the quality of the underlying information and
data source.
The stated results for GCC are only based on data from three countries. The other GCC
countries, Bahrein, Qatar and Oman, follow similar objectives but may be at different status
of achievements compared to their neighbors.
Further research is needed to overcome these limitations not only for analysis of BRIC and
GCC countries but in also the overall global context.

4. Discussion of findings
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The conclusions are based on the analysis of quantitative data and on the analysis of
relevant policy initiatives of these countries. The focus of conclusions and
recommendations is, thus, to show the impact of these on respective economic growth but
not on the comparison of the different countries.
The success of BRIC countries evidently correlates with the focus on technology
development and the ability to apply its results. China is a good example where both seem
to work very well. One indication for this is the high number of business-initiated and
performed R&D compared to the strong government and academic focus in the other
countries. Brazil and India seem to stagnate somewhat and should further push on the
commenced initiatives (Melo and Rapini, 2012; Doctor, 2009; Joseph et al., 2010); Russia
has fallen behind and needs to completely rebuild its innovation position in the world.
Technological development does not seem to be the key driver for the innovation success
of these countries. Acquisition of technologies and a smart use of the existing oil money as
practiced in Saudi Arabia and the UAE seems to be well-suited to achieve to superior
results. Kuwait has not been able to do equally well in the past years. However, its current
economic development plan is clearly focusing to push in the same direction.
Transition countries with large populations and little natural resources benefit most from
focusing on R&D efforts and technology to drive economic progress. Smaller countries with
natural resources do not rely on own R&D efforts but need to find other ways to improve
innovation success to move away from its dependence on income from natural resources
over time.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have shown progress in innovation without major R&D
investments. However, both countries need to continue demonstrating an innovation
impact to further progress. Therefore, it is crucial that both countries follow-up on their
ambitious growth and innovation plans without the ability to build on a strong R&D base.
China, Brazil and India are likely to continue their fast pace with strong technology
developments (Doctor, 2009; Joseph et al., 2010). The only change is that instead of
copying the Western world and focusing on cheaper disruptive innovations, they will likely
come up with world leading technology breakthroughs. Depending on the industry, this
may take many years or is just ahead.

VOL. 16 NO. 4 2014 foresight PAGE 305

Russia and Kuwait are countries that need most change from their current path. Both
countries have recognized this need and have defined respective innovation strategies and
policies. The jury is out if these countries will be able to implement these strategies in the
coming years.
BRIC and GCC countries are facing the challenges of enhancing their NISs. This requires
the establishment of dedicated education systems which nurture creativity in line with the
creation of an R&D culture and evaluation system which eventually is conducive to both
basic and applied research and technology development. However, the education systems
need to focus on excellence and elite rather than following the widespread belief in many
developed countries to increase the number of graduates. In addition, young people are to
be encouraged to enter into scientific careers with a clear strong focus on the hard
sciences rather than the social sciences. In general, BRIC and GCC countries are to build
knowledge-driven economies still need to emphasize the real economy considering the
service knowledge-based economy a sustainable real-value-creating economy.
Furthermore, there is a need to convert the industry culture and influence toward a more
open attitude toward open science and open innovation which is the basis for interaction
with the science as well as a policy framework conducive innovation which has to go
beyond the traditional views on STI policy, e.g. direct or indirect supporting measures, but
also including the softer framework conditions like a supportive bureaucracy and
administration. To achieve sustainable impact on the national innovation capacity countries
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need to build and maintain competences to scan scientific developments in the world and
use foresight techniques.
In-depth analysis of STI policies applied in countries beyond BRIC and GCC countries
show that countries need to find their own path for national development, e.g.
benchmarking other countries but adapting STI policy measures to national conditions,
taking into account, especially, cultural and ethical characteristics of the nations and
populations, public awareness and attitudes. With such soft factors taken into account,
countries need to define their own aspirations and goals including thorough analysis of their
current situation and ways to close gaps which can but do not have to lead to an increased
R&D spending. Moreover, it proves essential to clearly communicate the plans to national
stakeholders and to the outside world to be recognized for the improvements and create
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Further reading
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OECD (2008), OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: China 2008, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2011), OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Russian Federation 2011, OECD, Paris.

Rodriguez, A., Dahlman, C. and Salmi, J. (2008), Knowledge and Innovation for Competitiveness in
Brazil, The World Bank, Washington, DC.
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Sharma, S. and Dutta, A. (2008), Intellectual property rights and innovation in developing countries:
evidence from India, Georgetown University.

Soares, C., Clara, M. and Cassiolato, J.E. (2008), Innovation systems and inequality: the experience
of Brazil, Paper presented at the VI Globelics Conference at Mexico City, 22-24 September.

World Bank (2006), India: national agricultural innovation project, project appraisal document, Report
No: 34908-In., World Bank, Washington, DC.

Xiaobo, W. (2007), The comparison of China and India with the view of national innovation system,
Studies in Science of Science, (Beijing), 2007-S2.

Zhang, M. (Ed) (2010), Competitiveness and Growth in Brazilian Cities: Local Policies and Actions
for Innovation. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank,
Washington, DC.

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Dirk Meissner can be contacted at:

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