FROM COMPETITIVENESS TO INCLUSIVENESS: CHALLENGES FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH COUNCILS By Preeda Chaiyanajit and Pun-Arj Chairatana1
Sub-theme: Global challenges and possibility of emergence of ‘Asian Innovation System’ Abstract
Poverty, mortality, health, education, equality, epidemic, and environment are more relevant to the present and future of innovation system (IS) than ever. These grand challenges are drivers to for innovation for inclusive development (IID) to be an alternative instrument of inclusion. It can be considered as a new concept in science, technology, and innovation for STI policymakers and scholars and policy makers in Southeast Asia and other emerging economies. Furthermore, it can be seen as an extension of existing Asian Innovation System (AIS) that, up till now, mainly focus on competitiveness, economic growth and wealth creation. Two major institutions within the innovation system, namely universities and research councils (U-RC) have been continuously facilitating economic-led innovation development through research and education, but these knowledge generating bodies engage with an informal setting in an indirect and restricted manner. As a result, an assessment of the current awareness within this U-RCs linkage on IID through examining activities that are potentially related to this emerging setting is crucial and timely. This paper illustrates the preliminary finding from the Online-Delphi studies of the “Cross-national Survey on University and Research Council Roles on Southeast Asia Inclusive Development and Innovation” project that covers five countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It explores the possibility of proposing an Inclusive Innovation System (IIS) concept that can potentially respond to global challenges and while being relevant to Southeast Asia context. According to the study, the majority of stakeholders are not familiar with IID although there have been ongoing different subsystems that resonate this particular stream. With a vast developmental stage of institutional set-up and similar grand challenges among the countries in focus, the AIS is facing with an increasing complexity through a social demand and its conventional rigidity in order to expand its horizon to cover the dimension of inclusiveness. Keywords: Innovation for inclusive development; research system; university; research council; informal sector; inclusive innovation system; Southeast Asia 1. Introduction
Poverty, infant mortality, health, epidemics, education, inequality, and environment are among the major challenges that the global economy is coping with. These issues affect the developmental gap define as widening social and economic “exclusion” that negatively affects an individual quality of life, equity, and social cohesion. Recently, innovation for inclusive development (IID) has gained momentum among key international development agencies like Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a tool for the provision of opportunities and empowerment of underprivileged people in order to enhance their “inclusiveness”. While, “inclusive development” is a strategy that addresses economic and social inequalities and exclusion by providing marginalized and vulnerable people and groups with the opportunity to contribute to the process and benefit from its outcomes, inclusiveness is still a vague concept. In this paper, we consider it as an approach or effort to include the people facing social exclusion where “social exclusion” is defined as lacking or being denied of access to resources, rights, goods, and services as well as having the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas into a system generally provided for society at large in terms of...
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