When will developing countries stop importing knowledge? (2)

1 October, 2018

Dear Charles,

Thank you - this is a really interesting blog post which I will be sharing widely! It would be really interesting to hear the feedback of other HIFA members on overlaps with knowledge transfer in healthcare.

This reminded of this recent article by Maru Mormina, quoted below:

'Scientific capabilities are shaped by country-specific political and institutional contexts, and are thought to reflect countries' different trajectories of development and patterns of strengths (Bartholomew 1997). Seen from this perspective, scientific development is a local phenomenon rooted in the knowledge, skills, etc. accumulated over time and which constitute a nation's innovation capital, its preferred solution for advancing development. Scientific knowledge as a social good and knowledge creation as a social capability emphasise the importance of construing S&T as spatially and temporally situated, and therefore of paying attention to the unique enmeshing of historic, cultural and social influences that determine the institutional landscape of local research and innovation systems and their functioning. This should warn funding bodies and capacity building experts against the temptation of simply transferring decontextualized blueprints or re-packaging solutions mechanistically — a one-size-fits-all apprroach. Instead, it calls for more flexible and innovative ways of fostering capacity, beyond simply developing skills so that scientists may fit some pre-defined model, but supporting people, organisations and institutions to challenge current states of affairs and effect change.'

'In fact, the knowledge assets contained in patents or scientific publications is a particular type of existing knowledge that can be expressed and shared through formal language, i.e. codified […] This type of codified knoowledge/information is often assumed to be relevant and applicable to the needs of developing countries and directly transferrable to these contexts (Chan and Costa 2005). This is not always the case, as scientific knowledge and derived technologies are purpose-driven and context-dependent (Fu et al. 2011). […] and in response to the speciific needs of those nations, access to knowledge by LMIC is not straightforward. It requires developing absorptive and adaptive capabilities necessary for its acquisition and subsequent translation into technologies adapted to local conditions.'

Science, Technology and Innovation as Social Goods for Development: Rethinking Research Capacity Building from Sen's Capabilities Approach (Open Access)


Andy Nobes ● Programme Coordinator ● Strong and Equitable Research and Knowledge Systems in the Global South (SERKS) ● INASP

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