2.3 Mechanisms for technology transfer
2.3.1 National systems of innovation
In recent years it has become clear that technology intermediation is needed
to reduce barriers to technology transfer associated with information, management,
technology, and financing. Research on technology innovation also highlights
the role of intermediaries in the innovation process. They operate between users
and suppliers of technology and help to create the links within networks and
systems through bridging between institutions, encouraging interaction within
the system and assisting with undertaking search, evaluation and dissemination
tasks. They ensure that technological know-how is broadly dispersed within the
system and can provide a compensating mechanism for weaknesses or "holes"
in the system. The high value of technology intermediation is illustrated by
many of the case studies presented throughout the Report (see for instance Box
Examples of technology intermediaries include specialised government agencies,
energy-service companies, non-governmental organisations, university liaison
departments, regional technology centres, research and technology organisations,
electric power utilities, and cross-national networks. Non-governmental organisations
in particular are playing a greater role in technology intermediation; for example,
there are many cases where technology intermediation by non-governmental organisations
played a key role in the success of particular technology transfer efforts for
The key lesson which can be learnt from the literature on technology intermediaries,
is the importance of mechanisms in which actions are integrated to make them
more effective. Technology transfers are influenced greatly by what have been
called national systems of innovation--the institutional and organisational
structures which support technological development and innovation. Governments
can build or strengthen scientific and technical educational institutions and
modify the form or operation of technology networks-the interrelated organisations
generating, diffusing, and utilising technologies.
National systems of innovation (NSI) integrate the elements of capacity building,
access to information and an enabling environment into a mechanism for EST transfer
that adds up to more than the individual components. Subsystems and the quality
of interconnections within them can successfully influence technology transfer.
NSIs can be enhanced through partnerships sponsored by international consortia.
Partnerships would be system oriented, encompass all stages of the transfer
process, and ensure the participation of private and public stakeholders, including
business, legal, financial and other service providers from developed and developing
NSI activities may include:
- Targeted capacity building, information access and training for public
and private stakeholders and support for project preparation;
- Strengthening scientific and technical educational institutions in the
context of technology needs;
- Collection and assessment of specific technical, commercial, financial
and legal information;
- Identification and development of solutions to technical, financial, legal,
policy and other barriers to wide deployment of ESTs;
- Technology assessment, promotion of prototypes, demonstration projects
and extension services through linkages between manufacturers, producers and
- Innovative financial mechanisms such as public/private sector partnerships
and specialised credit facilities;
- Local and regional partnerships between different stakeholders for the
transfer, evaluation and adaptation to local conditions of ESTs (see for instance
the TCAPP example in Box TS3);
- Market intermediary organisations, such as Energy Service Companies.
NSI offer a new solution to the challenge of technology transfer and offer
a cost effective, flexible way of enhancing technology transfer. Governments
and multinational organisations should consider developing programmes to support
NSI activities, either individually or jointly.
Comprehensive approaches to technology transfer which incorporate many of the
elements listed above are beginning to emerge on both a bilateral and multilateral
basis. One such activity being conducted on a bilateral basis by the United
States is the Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Project, known as TCAPP.
A similar multilateral approach is being pursued by the Climate Technology Initiative
(CTI), an activity undertaken by 23 developed country Parties and the European
Commission in support of the UNFCCC. Both approaches utilize a bottom-up, collaborative
process under which all relevant stakeholders are engaged to jointly determine
the technology selection/practices and implementation path consistent with that
country's/region's sustainable development goals for one or more sectors. These
approaches require a mutual commitment to explore actions which focus on achieving
climate and development benefits to the host country, with active participation
of relevant government, non-government, community, and industry groups. Since
the goal is to translate sectoral needs into functioning projects, consideration
is given to how the projects might be best structured to encourage private sector
investment, including the need for regulatory or other change within the country
to foster an enabling environment.
|BOX TS3 TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION AGREEMENT PILOT
In 1997, the U.S. Government launched the Technology Co-operation Agreement
Pilot Project (TCAPP) to provide a model for a collaborative approach
to foster technology co-operation for climate change mitigation technologies.
Under TCAPP, the Governments of Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and
the Philippines are currently working with the private sector and bilateral
and international donor organisations to attract private investment in
clean energy technologies in their countries. Many other donor initiatives
have also adopted similar collaborative approaches between country officials,
businesses, and donors in fostering private investment. However, TCAPP
is one of the few initiatives that has engaged climate change officials
in this collaborative process to lead to actions that address both development
needs and climate change goals.
TCAPP has two basic phases of activities. In the first phase, the participating
countries have developed technology co-operation frameworks that define
their climate change technology co-operation priorities and the actions
necessary to attract private investment in these priorities. These actions
include efforts aimed at capturing immediate investment opportunities
(e.g. issuance of investment solicitations, investment financing, business
matchmaking and capacity building, etc.) and longer-term efforts to remove
market barriers. In the second phase, TCAPP assists the country teams
in securing the private sector, in-country, and donor participation and
support necessary to successfully implement these actions. This second
phase of activities includes two major types of activities:
(1) Attracting direct private investment in immediate market opportunities.
This includes helping the countries develop and issue investment solicitations
for large-scale opportunities and business matchmaking and financing activities.
TCAPP has established an international business network to help guide
the design and implementation of these activities.
(2) Securing support for actions to address market barriers. These actions
range from business capacity building to policy reform. This includes
development of domestic implementation plans for these actions and securing
necessary donor support to assist with implementation of these plans.
TCAPP assists the countries in preparing implementation plans and donor
proposals and in matching country needs with donor programmes.