It is widely accepted that innovation is key to economic growth. Countries where research and innovation are high on the national agenda are best suited to prosper in the knowledge-based economy. Conversely, countries whose economies are mainly dependent on natural resources and basic industries tend to lack competitiveness and flexibility in adapting to changing global trends. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has long been concerned with the measurement of research and experimental development (R&D) and innovation activities.
Under apartheid rule South Africa was barred from participating in OECD activities. Shortly after the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (now the Department of Science and Technology) initiated the process of applying for observer status on the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy. South Africa gained observer status in 1998.
In March 2001, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology and the OECD jointly hosted an international seminar in Pretoria on the measurement of innovation activities in OECD and non-OECD countries. This book is a collection of selected papers that were presented at the seminar by leading international and South African experts in innovation measurement. The chapters reflect various aspects of the measurement of innovation and how these measurements are applied in different countries. The volume contributes to the debate that exists between developing and developed countries on their approaches to the measurement of innovation.
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