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Post-2015 Consensus: Science and Technology Viewpoint, Gehl Sampath

Viewpoint Paper

Gehl Sampath comments that Maskus does not differentiate between technology development and technology transfer and points out the concern as to whether or not they can be considered synonymous or similar. Noting the critical distinctions between the two terms, she points out that the development of technology is a critical prerequisite of structural change, moving workers into more productive sectors. Technology transfer may be an important contributor, but is usually an exogenous parameter to this process, the success of which depends on local capacity to enable this to be used properly. Although technology transfer and development are linked, incentives that could promote the two are often different.

Furthermore, R&D is an important contributor to innovation, but it should not be seen as an end in itself. Investments in R&D therefore need to be tailored to local innovation environments to reap the benefits. Furthermore, R&D investments should be accompanied by other incentives, such as R&D tax credits that foster private sector investments into R&D in a complementary way. The importance of public sector R&D should also not be neglected, particularly in fostering basic and applied research.

As for innovation zones, a first consideration should be to differentiate the impact of migration of skilled workers in different developing countries. Although remittances from migrant workers can provide a net benefit to their home countries, these countries still need other skilled workers to replace those who emigrate in order to be equally well off, and can lose out if they are not available. Another significant issue is how best to harness the diaspora to create knowledge networks in their home countries.