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Interactions between universities/research institutions and industrial firms in Brazil


This project studies the interactions of scientific and technological dimensions in Brazil. The objective is to analyze the relationships between universities/research institutions and firms, fundamental institutions of a national innovation system. The analysis includes regional or local innovation systems, assuming that geographical proximity matters for interactions. Theoretical references are based on national, regional or local systems of innovation approaches and on the geography of innovation approach. Innovation systems refer to institutional arrangements with several participants: firms with their R&D labs and interactive networks, universities and research institutions, teaching and training institutions, a financial system that supports innovation investments, legal systems, market and non-market selection mechanisms, governments, and coordination instruments and institutions. All participants interact, articulate and manage several mechanisms that create "virtuous cycles". The geography of innovation approach refers to geographically mediated relationships between innovative firms and universities and research institutions. The research project faces the challenge of assessing the pattern of interactions between the two kinds of institutions in a country such as Brazil with an immature innovation system. In the present stage of evolution of the country's innovation system are there bi-directional flows and self-reinforcing mechanisms already in operation? Is it possible to identify regionally denser pattems of interaction? The methodology uses as starting-point available information from databases on firms, universities and research institutions from several sources, mainly CNPq - Directory of Research Groups and IBGE - PINTEC (Industrial Research on Technological Innovation). Based on such information, innovative firms will be surveyed to assess their views about universities and research institutions in Brazil. The survey will use as reference questionnaires used in similar United States research projects and made available to this project as part of an international research project coordinated by Professor Richard Nelson (Columbia University) on technology and catching up processes. The questionnaires will be adapted to Brazilian specificities. And the Brazilian research project brings a methodological novelty: case studies not performed in other countries' studies. The project comprises eight interrelated modules: 1) review of the literature on interactions between universities/research institutions and firms in Brazil; 2) mapping of university-industry interactions based on CNPq - Directory of Research Groups; 3) identification of innovative firms that do R&D continuously in Brazil; 4) discussion of the questionnaire, pre-test and definition of method of application; 5) organization of an international seminar with researchers from countries that are doing similar researches as part of the international project on catching up processes; 6) field research work; 7) case studies of selected interactions and innovative firms, and 8) project conclusion and summary of results. Each module has been prepared with specific objectives and methodology taking into accounts the general objective of the project. (AU)

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