Simon Maxwell

Partnerships at the Leading Edge: A Danish Vision for Knowledge, Research and Development

Partnerships at the Leading Edge: A Danish Vision for Knowledge, Research and Development.  Report of the Commission on Development-Related Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danida, Copenhagen, April 2001

This authoritative report — prepared for the Commission on Development Related Research of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs — discusses the implications of recent changes in ways of thinking about research, innovation and development for both international donors and the funding of research for development  The report analyses new views on research and models of innovation, particularly, the emergence of the systems of innovation approach and how these changes present new requirements for donor policies on research for development. It also discusses policy changes and trends at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

The report concludes that the current understanding of how the innovation process occurs demands a radical rethinking of the ways in which research for development is funded and in the strategies of international donors. Based on the understanding that the reworking of existing stocks of knowledge and creative imitation — rather than the creation of new knowledge through research — are the most important contributions of knowledge for development, new strategies should, the paper suggests, be put in place by donors to support these processes in developing countries. These new strategies should see an end of donors' hands-off project-based funding policies and a close engagement of donors with the innovation systems of recipient countries as whole. The authors stress the importance of investments in the business system and not only in public institutes and bodies.

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