Inderscience Publishers

Korean system of innovations for biotechnology

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Biotechnology is regarded as the key technology of the next century. This will increase national competitiveness and so the quality of life. Therefore, many countries have already been fiercely competing with each other in enhancing biotechnological capabilities. One of the characteristics identified in this competition is that almost all innovation actors in a nation are mobilised to generate biotechnological innovations effectively. This phenomenon can be grasped by a concept, the national system of innovations (NSI), developed at the end of the 1980s. Many studies on the national system of innovations up to the present have been mainly oriented to theoretical discussions or the national system as a whole. There have only been a few discussions on the sector level, such as a national system of innovations for biotechnology. Therefore, this paper, based on theoretical considerations on the concept, tries to apply the concept of a national system of innovations into Korean biotechnology. This paper analyses in depth the Korean system of innovations for biotechnology and identifies some Korea-specific characteristics, which may be helpful for other countries. Even though the Korean system has many problems, especially because of its short history, it has already shown good structural competitiveness and has been stabilising rapidly due to the leading role of government and the resulting close interactions between important innovation actors. The Korean experiences discussed in this paper will hopefully render some meaningful implications, especially for developing countries trying to participate in the biotechnological race.

Keywords: biotechnology, national system of innovations, institutions, innovations, interactive learning, structural competitiveness

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