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Fri, 03 Dec




Glenda Kruss| Angathevar Baskaran |Lijing Leng | David Ivan Valdes-Munguia| Nanditha Mathew |Andrew Roberts Cummings| Swati Mehta

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Time & Location

03 Dec 2021, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm GMT



About the Event

Presentation of two papers

Lijing Leng, Northeastern University in China on Research on the Technological Innovation Model Evolution of Public R&D Organizations based on Dynamic Capabilities-Taking the key state laboratory RAL as an example 

David Ivan Valdes-Munguia, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Mexico on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in Mexico: change since policy transfer between 1988 and 2018



Lijing Leng (PHD):

School: Northeastern University, China

Major: Industrial Economics

Research interests: S&T achievements transformation, technological innovation and strategic management of public R&D organizations (including colleges, universities and scientific research institutions).

Achievements: (1) Several papers are under revision and submission, such as "Technology transfer of public R&D organizations: A review of past research and an agenda for the future", "Core activities of universities and  value creation of innovation ecosystem: A mutualistic perspective on universities' linkages", etc. (2) Participated in some research projects of related areas, including several state-leveled projects.

David Ivan Valdes-Munguia: David Iván Valdés is a Mexican PhD student in Social Science Research at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Mexico, he has a Master in Policy and Management of Technological Change from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), he also studied Hispanic Language and Literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His lines of research are related to Science, Technology and Innovation Policy; Politics and Science; Electronic Voting, Elections and Technology. He is currently developing his doctoral research project on the change in Mexican Science, Technology and innovation Policy between 1988 and 2018.


Swati Mehta is Assistant Professor at Punjab School of Economics, Guru Nanak DevUniversity, Amritsar. PhD from Department of Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala, she was Visiting Researcher, Institute of Economic Research, Seoul National Univerity, Seoul, S. Korea with the award of International Scholar Exchange Fellowship (ISEF) Korea/CheyFoundation for Advanced Study during March-August’ 2019. Her area of research includes Innovation Systems, Global value chains, Economic Development, Manufacturing Industries in developing countries. Member- Globelics.


Glenda Kruss is Research Director in the Education and Skills Development Research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council. She has led projects on responsiveness, employability and skills development in FET colleges, higher education,  learnerships and apprenticeships, as well as private higher education. She has collaborated widely on comparative projects with research teams in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and led large-scale projects for national government departments. Dr Kruss’s publication record spans the authoring of more than 20 journal articles, as well as two books and a number of research monographs. Email:

Angathevar Baskaran is an Associate Professor at Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. He is also a Senior Research Associate, SHARChI (Innovation & Development), Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. He holds a PhD (Science & Technology Policy Studies) from Sussex University, UK. He worked at the Middlesex University Business School, London (1999 to 2014) before joining the Department of Development Studies at University Malaya. His research interests include Economics of innovation; National innovation systems; Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the main focus on multidisciplinary themes related to emerging and developing economies. He has produced over 100 publications, including 13 books, 26 book chapters and 38 journal articles. He has undertaken research projects for UNESCO, OECD and European Commission. He is Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID), Scopus/ESCI-indexed journal published by Taylor & Francis. Email: &

Nanditha Mathew is with UNU-MERIT since November 2018. She obtained her PhD in Economics from the University of Pisa in 2016. Before joining UNU-MERIT, she was a Post-doctoral fellow at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa and at the National Research Council (CNR) of Italy (in Florence). In the past years, Nanditha has done consulting work for the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) and MEFOP in Rome.

Her research interests focus broadly on the microeconomics of innovation and development, in detail, on firm capabilities, firm performance, strategy, and innovation policy. In June 2017, Nanditha won the International Schumpeter Society (ISS) Prize for the best paper presented at the EMAEE Conference in Strasbourg, for her work on “First Movers vs Fast Followers: Who performs better?". Some of her works have been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as the Research Policy, Industrial and Corporate Change and Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Andrew Robert Cummings

MSc. and PhD from Department of Development and Planning from the University of Aalborg, with research specialization in the emergence and evolution of innovation capabilities and territorial systems of innovaiton in the Central American and Latin American context.  Special focus on innovation in social enterprises, small scale rural agroindustry for more inclusive and sustainable development.

Development anthropologist carrying out research on diverse problems related to territorial development in the Salvadoran and Central American context on the periphery of the Global South. Methodological development and implementation of diverse research initiatives on a national, regional and especially territorial level, using quantitative, qualitative and participatory action research methodologies.

Extensive experience as a development practioner, researcher – facilitator of dialogued processes of territorial development accumulated during more than 25 of experience working in non-govermental think-tank for development and universities in El Salvador. Also as international consultant for the design and evaluation of territorial development initiatives in Central America and Mexico.


Research on theTechnological Innovation Model Evolution of Public R&D Organizations based on Dynamic Capabilities ——Taking the key state laboratory RAL as an example

Peili Yu & Lijing Leng*, Northeastern University in China

Extended abstract: At present, with the vigorous rise of a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial revolution, scientific and technological innovation presents many new characteristics. This provides a rare opportunity but also brings unprecedented challenges for China’s scientific and technological development. Under this background, as the important sources of knowledge and the key innovation agents, the scientific and technological work of public R&D organizations (including colleges, universities and scientific research institutions) is also facing higher requirements. That is, they must give full play to the supporting and leading role of science and technology in economic and social development, through scientifically judging the new trend of global scientific and technological development, accurately grasping the new application scenarios and needs of the industry and striving to solve the major scientific problems in key common technologies. Especially, in the era of digital economy, based on the new technological paradigms and resource configuration ways, the contributions of public R&D organizationsdepend more on the symbiotic innovation ecology, which is built with multiple innovation agents such as government, industry, intermediary services and so on. “Zijin Zhongchuang Town” of Zhejiang University and “Industrial Internet Enabling Steel, Intelligent Manufacturing Joint Innovation Center” built by Hegang, Huawei and Northeastern University in China are both good examples. However, on the whole, although China has become the second largest country in science and technology investment after the United States, there is a large gap in the effectiveness of R&D investment, mainly reflected in the transfer rate of scientific and technological achievements. Facing this situation, how public R&D organizations realize the transformation of achievements transfer mechanism and technological innovation model has become an important topic of great concern.

From the studies under innovation system theory, triple helix theory and innovation ecosystem theory, the nature of the technological innovation model can be regarded as the synthesis of the interaction ways between multiple innovation agents such as firms, public R&D organizations, intermediary services, users, competitors and so on. Moreover, the interaction ways evolve constantly, suggesting the innovation strategy orientation of innovation agents and the dynamic evolution of their technological innovation model. About the analysis on the evolution mechanism of technological innovation model, the existing studies have mainly started from the perspective of contingency and resource-based view, respectively showing that external pressure and core resources/competencies are important determinants. Based on the existing studies, it can be found that scholars have focused more on the technological innovation model of the firms, and haven’t paid enough attention to public R&D organizations. In addition, the studies from the perspective of contingency overemphasize the external environment and ignore the role of the innovation agents’ own resources and capabilities; the studies from the perspective of resource-based view have the problems of “rigidity” of core competence and “inertia trap” caused by path dependence. In particular, they can’t explain why some innovation agents perform better in the changing environment.

The perspective of dynamic capabilities combines “internal factors” and “external factors” and overcomes the limitations of the perspective of contingency and resource-based view. It takes “resources and competences” as the starting point, which is helpful to analyze how to continuously adjust strategies in the rapidly changing environment to obtain and maintain evolutionary fitness. Therefore, examining the evolution of technological innovation model from the perspective of dynamic capabilities will provide important new insights. However, according to the literature on dynamic capabilities, scholars have also focused more on the firms, and only in recent years, they have begun to analyze the application of dynamic capabilities perspective in public R&D organizations context. Nowadays, as the key agents to promote industrial development and scientific and technological innovation, public R&D organizations are facing rapid changes in external innovation needs, such as scientific and technological frontier exploration needs, national major strategic needs and industrial development needs, etc. How to respond effectively to better realize the transfer of scientific and technological achievements has become the core problem that public R&D organizations need to solve. Therefore, it is necessary to deeply explore the application of dynamic capabilities in public R&D organizations.

Based on the above realistic and theoretical background, this study will explore how public R&D organizations can make targeted strategic response to the changing innovation needs through dynamic capabilities, and realize the evolution of technological innovation model in that process. Overall, the central theories included in this study are innovation system theory, triple helix theory, innovation ecosystem theory and dynamic capabilities theory. By focusing on public R&D organizations, another key innovation agents, and providing new insights into the evolution of their technological innovation model from the perspective of dynamic capabilities, this study will fill the gaps in relevant literature, and deepen the aforementioned theories. About the practical implications, the research findings have important reference value for public R&D organizations to timely and effectively respond to the external innovation needs and realize the transformtion of technological innovation model, so as to promote the transfer of scientific and technological achievements in the era of digital economy.

The literature survey is mainly divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the studies about technological innovation model under innovation system theory, triple helix theory and innovation ecosystem theory. It summarizes the characteristics of technological innovation model under different theories, and finds that technological innovation model is constantly evolving. The second part reviews the relevant research on the evolution mechanism of technological innovation model, which indicates that scholars has mainly started from the perspective of contingency and resource-based view. Through analysis, this study suggests the two perspectives have some limitations and can’t explain the evolution mechanism of technological innovation model well. Thus, this study will conduct research based on dynamic capabilities perspective. Moreover, by literature survey, this study also finds that the research on technological innovation model and dynamic capabilities has paid more attention to firms and ignored public R&D organizations. That’s why public R&D organizations become the focus of this study.

A qualitative methodology was deemed appropriate for this study, as it facilitates understanding of complex phenomena and generation of longitudinal insights. Because this study focuses on the evolution of technological innovation model, it was necessary to choose a case that has experienced significant changes in its core activities, thus following a purposeful sampling strategy. This condition resulted in the selection of a single intrinsic case study because the case was of interest due to its history and context-specific characteristics. The aim of this study is not to generalise but to gain in-depth understanding of under-researched phenomena within a particular context to aid theoretical development. Case studies are often criticised for the lack of generalisation, but they allow us to gain rich contextual information by using “what” and “how” questions, which is of great significance to reveal the evolution process and mechanism of public R&D organizations’ technological innovation model.

About data collection and data analysis, we encountered two major challenges. On one hand, how to design appropriate interview questions was a main difficulty. Because we focus more on theoretical research and have limited understanding of practice, some interview questions we designed were easy to be divorced from practice, which made it difficult for respondents to understand and then give the information we need. In order to solve this problem, firstly, we clarified the core concepts, their definitions and specific dimensions based on existing literature. Secondly, by consulting second-hand materials, we tried to design interview questions that were more practical. Thirdly, we had repeated discussions with scholars around us to modify inappropriate interview questions. Finally, before the formal interview, we emailed the interview questions to some of the respondents for further modification. Based on the above process, the efficiency and effectiveness of our interview was greatly improved. On the other hand, how to ensure rigour and increase the reliability of the coding process was also a difficulty. For this, the coding of data in our study was conducted independently by two of the researchers and any variances in the codes were discussed until a consensus was achieved. If a consensus could not be achieved, the third researcher would be consulted. Through such a process, the data we collected could be better rised to the theoretical level to explain the research questions in our study.

Based on a longitudinal case study of the key state laboratory RAL of Northeastern University in China, the research conclusions of this study include three aspects. Firstly, from the dynamic capabilities perspective, sensing, seizing and transforming activities help public R&D organizations to respond strategically to external innovation needs and their changes, which can finally promote the transfer of public R&D organizations’ achievements and give full play to their supporting role in industrial development and scientific and technological innovation. Secondly, the strategic response to external innovation needs and their changes promotes the technological innovation model evolution of public R&D organizations, mainly by changing their interaction ways with other innovation agents such as government, industry and other public R&D organizations. Thirdly, the ability of public R&D organizations to respond to innovation needs and their changes is also continuously improved——from the initial industrial development needs to national major strategic needs and scientific and technological frontier exploration needs, and then to the technology trend exploration needs and the transformation and upgrading needs of the whole steel industry, and co-evolution with the technological innovation model is realized.

This study also faces challenges in theory. Different from the previous research focusing on firms, this study attempts to explore the technological innovation model and dynamic capabilities of public R&D organizations. As non-profit organizations, public R&D organizations don’t face the market directly. They contribute to industrial development and economic growth mainly through the creation, dissemination, transfer and commercialization of knowledge. Therefore, there are great differences between public R&D organizations and firms in the external environment, the interaction with other innovation agents and the characteristics of dynamic capabilities, etc. How to comprehensively capture these differences and better apply innovation system theory, triple helix theory, innovation ecosystem theory and dynamic capabilities theory to explore public R&D organizations’ technological innovation model and dynamic capabilities are the main challenges of this study. Because this study is only a single case study, it can not provide general conclusions. Thus, more research is needed in the future to improve the theoretical framework established in this study and test its applicability in public R&D organizations context.

This study is crucial to promote developing countries to catch up. In developing countries, the role of public R&D organizations is more relevant, because the innovation capabilities of firms are limited. Therefore, focusing on the dynamic capabilities and the technological innovation model evolution of public R&D organizations in developing countries, in order to provide implications for the management of public R&D organizations and the policy-making of government will have great significance.

Extended Abstract: Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in Mexico: change since policy transfer between 1988 and 2018.

1. Full name: David Ivan Valdes-Munguia

2. Affiliation: Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Mexico (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, México)

3. Abstract (and presentation) based on PhD thesis.

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in Mexico: change since policy transfer between 1988 and 2018.

The general objective of this research focuses on analyzing the reasons, mechanisms and results with which the Mexican Science and Technology Policy changed to incorporate Innovation as one more of its central axes from the process of policy transfer over the last 30 years (1988-2018); that is, to know the reasons and forms of change, and the way in which different agents (internal and external) participated in them.

STI policy has gone through different moments over the last 30 years, which have been influenced by external (globalization and international integration) and internal (changes in the economic and political project) conditions, as well as by changes in the way of doing science (producing knowledge) and by new theoretical developments regarding innovation (Fagerberg, 2004, Edler and Fagerberg, 2017, Edquist, 2011; Cimoli 2000; Cimoli and Primi, 2003; Cimoli et al, 2007; Casalet; 2007, 2012, 2013). Given the above, it is observed that:

- S&T policy has not remained static; on the contrary, it has manifested itself as a dynamic object that has changed according to the politics of each government and the context in which it has been conducted.

- The most substantive change in S&T policy is the incorporation of innovation as an integral part of it. Conceptually, innovation policy models have been developed from economics, adopted in developed countries and promoted by international organizations such as the OECD, under the premise that their implementation triggers economic growth and social development.

- The change in innovation policy has been accompanied by observable changes in 1) the definition of the public problem, 2) the policy instruments and 3) in the interactions and hierarchies among the agents involved in the S&T sector [governance]; and 4) in the results in STI indicators.

On the other hand, the concepts of Innovation, Innovation Systems and Evolutionary Economics were not developed in Mexico, so their diffusion to Mexico was driven by the OECD, among other international organizations. Thus, the policy shift towards innovation had to do with learning about the policy from abroad, possibly in the form of a policy transfer.

Given the above, if the change towards innovation policy has substantially transformed the policy over the last decades, but the public problem of STI in terms of innovation (even with variations in its indicators at different times) has remained constant over time, we are faced with the dilemma or paradox of "change to stay the same". This leads us to analyze the dynamics of STI policy in an established temporality. Thus, the change in S&T policy to incorporate innovation policy is the central object of the analysis of this research.

The research problem of this project is that over the last 30 years (1988-2018) the change in Science and Technology Policy to incorporate Innovation as a guiding axis of the same, has not translated into profound changes in terms of solving the public problem of the sector.

The general questions guiding this project are two mutually related ones:

Why and how did the shift from Science and Technology Policy, to Science, Technology and Innovation Policy happen in Mexico during the period from 1988 to 2018?

In turn, these general questions unfold into specific questions that seek to decipher how the OECD model of innovation policy could be transferred to Mexico.

Since the object of study of this research is the change in S&T policy to incorporate Innovation, it was decided to answer the questions from the theoretical approach of policy transfer, considering for this purpose the following dimensions:

(a) the change in the policy (in what the changes are manifested);

b) the temporality of the changes (identification of an initial state and an end state, and the characterization of states);

c) the policy transfer (the process by which the ideas or decisions that led to the policy change were promoted);

d) economic and political context (general context in which the changes occurred);

e) epistemic community (interaction of external and internal agents with expertise in STIP);

f) transfer network (formation of a network of agents that promoted, facilitated, enabled and executed the changes);

g) the innovation paradigm (identification of the changes that took place around this paradigm).

It was decided to use two approaches that approximate understanding the nature and mechanisms of policy change: a) policy dynamics, which is a perspective that seeks to "understand and explain the longitudinal data of policy making" (Kay, 2006; 3); and b) policy transfer, which is a perspective that analyzes processes in which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements or institutions in one place or time are used in the development of policies, administrative arrangements, institutions in another place or time (Dolowitz and Marsh, 1996). The first approach focuses on temporality variables, while the second focuses on process variables, agents, interactions and outcomes of a policy transfer.

There are different explanatory models of policy change within the transfer approach. The models considered for studying S&T policy change are the Dolowitz and Marsh Model (D&M) and the Evans and Davies Model (E&D). From the transfer approach and these models at least four research objects of interest are recognized:

1) the existence or non-existence of transfer,

2) the reasons or motives for which the transfer occurs,

3) the ways in which transfer occurs, and

4) the results of the transfer

The causal relationship established by the theoretical approach is that policy change (policy transfer) is the dependent variable of willingness, coercion or contingency in the interaction of provider and borrower agents, which is its independent variable.

The Dolowitz and Marsh Model (D&M) is based on questions that seek to characterize and describe transfers with 7 categories: 1) Agents of the transfer; 2) Motives for the transfer; 3) Object of the transfer; 4) Place of the transfer; 5) Degrees of the transfer; 6) Limitations of the transfer; and 7) Evaluation or outcomes of the policy. This model makes a static description of the concluded transfer process, and assumes that the causes of the transfer are willingness or coercion.

The Evans and Davies (E&D) model is presented as an analytical compass that allows the dimensioning of the transfer process at different organizational levels and gives important emphasis to the interactions between agents, for which it deploys the concepts of policy transfer networks and epistemic communities. They also propose the sequential characterization of the transfer process in 12 stages for a voluntary transfer and in 10 for a coercive transfer. The policy dynamics perspective makes it possible to elaborate, with the processual elements of Evans and Davies' model, a structured narrative of the policy and its changes that seeks to make sense of the sequence of events in terms of policy transfer.

The hypothesis to be demonstrated in this research, which is based on the policy transfer approach, is that the change from Science and Technology Policy to a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy from 19888 to 2018 was due to the voluntary interaction between national agents involved in science policy (federal government policymakers and interest groups) and external agents specialized in an STI policy model (international organizations), in a context of economic and political changes in Mexico. The policy change took the form of a voluntary policy transfer through the formation of a transfer network and an epistemic community on the Innovation paradigm.

From the research question and hypothesis it follows that the central analytical unit is policy change, while the case study is the change of Science and Technology Policy in Mexico during the period from 1988 to 2018. As such, this research is posed as a single-case theory-testing case study, in which we test whether the policy transfer approach adequately explains this process of policy change.

Therefore, the research is carried out with the process tracing method that seeks to identify the causal process (causal chain and causal mechanisms) between an independent variable (cause) and the dependent variable (result). The information (evidence) gathering instruments selected are: a) documentary review and B) semi-structured interviews with agents who participated in the transfer process (transfer networks and epistemic communities).

Among the preliminary findings of the research is that it is not possible to say that there was a single process of policy transfer, but at least two transfer processes that were linked and continued.

Nor can one speak of a finished innovation policy that was to be transferred, given that OECD innovation policy itself (and evolutionary theory itself) was still evolving at the same time that the transfer was already being implemented.

The Evans and Davies model's sequence of the transfer process, while very useful for schematizing and ordering research, is far from happening as it does in empirical reality, at least in cases where the transferred policy is not a concrete program or instrument. This same reason makes the complete or finished transfer of the policy difficult.

What was thought (hypothesized) as one process of policy transfer would rather take the form of two linked and continuous transfer processes.

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