Swapan Kumar Patra*
South Africa is among the African countries that have taken initiatives to develop biotechnology industry to meet the persistent challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Biotechnology Innovation System of South Africa is analysed in this study using the three building blocks of sectoral system of innovation (SSI). The study also benchmarks South African performance with that of other BRICS countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Although the South African biotechnology market is quite small compared to other BRICS countries, its potential to grow is high. The scholarly publication patterns from the Medline database show that the knowledge base in this sector is small compared to other countries. However the South African scholarly papers are highly cited. The high citations of South African life science papers show their relevance at the global level. The patent portfolio is also very small and limited to a few technological categories. The publication and patent portfolios show that university research output is not readily being translated into commercial products. Although there are many example of university spin-off firms in biotechnology, findings from this study demonstrate that there is a need for a stronger university-industry relationship to encourage innovation for entrepreneurial start-ups.
Keywords: Biotechnology, South Africa, Sectoral System of Innovation, Developing Countries, Global South
Forthcoming article in Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp 1-28View items...
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