The British Council and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in partnership with the Global Innovation Policy Accelerator (GIPA) supported by the Newton Fund, organised a seminar entitled “Strengthening the innovation ecosystems of the Pacific Alliance: putting higher education at the heart of successful innovation policy and practice,” which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of March in Valparaiso, Chile. Over 120 people participated in the seminar, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Economy, Mr. Luis Felipe Cespedes, among them policymakers from the UK and Pacific Alliance countries involved in promoting linkages between industry and higher education institutions (HEIs), including through the application of enabling frameworks for HEIs in the areas of research and innovation, and practitioners from HEIs, as well as representatives from businesses that have developed robust partnerships with HEIs.

The Seminar concentrated in strengthening the economies of Pacific Alliance member countries, sharing good practices on the promotion and links between academia and industries, and stimulating research and innovation through the application of enabling frameworks for their higher education institutions.

The UK through its research and higher education institutions has an excellent track record of research and innovation. It is the world’s third largest producer of research and ranks highly on indicators of quality. Moreover, The UK ranks second in the Global Innovation Index.  The UK is also ranked one of the best countries in the world for university-business links with a national infrastructure which aims to create and exploit knowledge and to enable and support innovation.

With the objective of maintaining the synergies created during the two days of the Seminar, the British Council invites participants to join a group in LinkedIn which will allow us to continue discussing some of the topics which took place during the seminar. 

 Background Information

Full programme

Presentations: 

Plenary panel 1: From knowledge to innovation: perspectives from policy makers

Government policy is a major factor in driving national innovation and economic development. It also plays a vital role in building a functioning innovation ecosystem in which collaboration between universities and businesses can flourish. Policy makers from the Pacific Alliance countries and the UK identify their major innovation challenges and consider how universities might contribute to tackling these. We look at what policies and programmes governments have developed to support universities and explore whether policy makers are looking to other countries for models of how to engage universities fully in their innovation systems.

Moderator: José Miguel Benavente, Division Chief of the Competitiveness and Innovation Division of the Inter-American Development Bank

 

Plenary panel 2: From knowledge to innovation: perspectives from higher education and business leaders

Universities and businesses are the two major players in national innovation ecosystems. The links between them are numerous and complex across the innovation process. University-business relationships work within national policy contexts; many also work beyond these in a global context. Panellists from universities and business discuss key challenges in working together to deliver innovation. We look at how some of the challenges are being addressed and ask whether policy makers could better support university-business collaboration. We consider how universities and businesses can use their international connections to inform and support their contribution to the innovation challenges of the economy and society.

Moderator:  Hernán Araneda, Director of Innovum, Fundación Chile

 

Parallel panel 1: Universities at the heart of innovation: changing university cultures, skills and systems

As universities and education institutions become increasingly critical players in innovation ecosystems, their roles and contributions are rapidly expanding. Delivering these effectively requires new institutional cultures, skills and structures. Panel members focus on how these are being developed across different countries, consider what can be learned from these and explore some of the key challenges for the future:

1.  Incentivising research with impact – explores how funding mechanisms are being used to motivate academics and institutions to produce research that has real impact on innovation for economic and social development 

2. Developing skills for innovation – explores how universities and technical institutes are developing business and entrepreneurial skills and mind-sets in individuals and teams. How are they responding to industry-specific needs for specialized human capital for innovation?

3.  Building institutional cultures – explores what mechanisms are being developed within universities and among universities to foster disciplinary and cross disciplinary entrepreneurial cultures for innovation

Moderator: Pat Killingley, International Higher Education Consultant

 

Parallel Panel 2: Universities at the heart of innovation: strengthening university links in the innovation ecosystem

 

Universities have long been central players in innovation ecosystems but as those systems grow increasingly complex with many more players, the need for knowledge exchange between universities and those players has become a critical factor in innovation. Success relies on integration and collaboration and the building of relationships in which both sides learn how to work with each other. Often, these relationships span international as well as national innovation systems, as universities, businesses and governments strengthen their international ties.  In this session, panellists look at how knowledge is being exchanged ‘on the ground’ between universities, businesses and other players in the innovation ecosystem. They present a range of different models and structures designed to encourage and support knowledge exchange and explore how effective these are.

Case studies are:

  1. Satellite Application Catapult Centre-UK (Veronica Bravari)
  2. Centre for Research in Advanced Materials-CIMAV Mexico (Francisco Aguirre)
  3. CreativeWorks London and the Knowledge Transfer Network-UK (Tarek Virani)
  4. Camnexus and Cambridge Enterprise-UK (Jessica Ocampos)
  5. Office of Knowledge Transfer and Development, Catholic University of Chile (Alvaro Ossa)
  6. Technological Centre, National Engineering University of Peru (Alonso Tenorio)

 Moderator: Alberto Saracho-Martínez, Managing Director, C230 Consultores

Seminar conclusions