During the 3rd Session of the Arab Forum for Scientific Research and Sustainable Development, which was convened in Beirut from 10 to 12 December 2015, ESCWA Technology for Development Division organized a panel discussion on "Innovation and Technology Policies for an Inclusive Knowledge Economy" as part of the Forum’s theme on scientific research and development for sustainable development policies.
The panel aimed to analyze the role of innovation and technology in the transformation towards the knowledge-based economy and the importance of knowledge and innovation as factors in boosting productivity and economic growth. It also aimed to explore the necessary mechanisms for this transformation such as technology transfer, national policies, funding, networking, and harmonization of efforts.
The panel reviewed a newly launched ESCWA project for establishing national systems for technology transfer in selected member countries. The project is intended to strengthen the capacity of these countries to develop an enabling policy environment for research and development and commercialization of research results. The project’s main outputs will be a roadmap for national innovation systems in participating countries as well as setting a national technology transfer office in each.
Discussions focused on the requirements of the Arab region such as the need for dialogue between researchers and policy makers on research goals and how they could better serve the community, the need for niche research in addition to the publicly known ones, measuring the research process in terms of inputs, outputs and socioeconomic impact, and the need to realign Arab Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies with regional changes.
The session agreed on a number of recommendations that were included in the Forum’s overall results, including: the need for formulating and implementing STI policies to stimulate an inclusive knowledge-based economy in the Arab region; the need for funding research, development and innovation in order to build a knowledge-based economy; the importance of undertaking public research with special focus on niche research; the relevance of technology transfer and the establishment of national centers for technology transfer; as well as the need to focus on innovation indicators and expand ALESCO-ESCWA initiatives on ‘Innovation Scoreboard’ to cover all Arab countries.