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South African Capability in High Technology: An assessment from USPTO data

Swapan Kumar Patra* and Mammo Muchie**

Abstract
Post-apartheid South African Government had realized the role of technology and innovation for national development. The science and technology based industries are being considered as priority areas. Using the analytical framework of Technological Capability and Network analysis, this paper is an attempt to assess the national capability building in high technology. Patents granted to South African inventors in ICT and Biotechnology industries are considered to measure the technological capability. The patents granted in USPTO during 1970-2014 shows that in recent years there is certainly an increase in patenting activity of South African entities. However, a clear and significant trend is yet to emerge. The study further isolated the high technology patents based on the OECD suggested IPC codes. Among the total 5,264 granted patents about 1,100 are considered as the high technology patents. These high technology patents are grouped into three categories. The categories are South African entity assigned patents (530 patents) foreign entities assigned patents (456 patents) and individually assigned (220 patents) patents. In ICT industry maximum patents was granted in Computers and office machinery and in Biotechnology maximum patents are granted in Medicinal and bioengineering areas related to microorganisms. Amazon Technologies Inc, (34 patents) is the most prolific patentee followed by CSIR, (28 patents). Recently, most of the high technology patents are granted as joint patents. This shows an increasing collaboration among SA and foreign entities. In terms of collaboration, Amazon Technologies Inc, is the most prominent actor among the foreign firms and University of Cape Town, is the most prominent among the SA institutes. The collaboration map shows that the collaborative patents are only among a few institutes. There is scope for indigenous entities to learn and elevate along the value chain. The study concludes with relevant policy lessons regarding the increasing foreign R&D in SA.


Keywords: Technological Capability, Patents, South Africa, S&T Policies

 

* Swapan Kumar Patra: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** Mammo Muchie: DST/NRF Research Professor, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, ASTU, Ethiopia and TMDC, Oxford University, UK. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & www.sarchi-steid.org.za/

Presented at the African Unity for Renaissance Conference and Africa Day Expo Theme: 2015 and Beyond: Engaging Agenda 2063, Tshwane, 22-25 May, 2015 (paper is under review)

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Science and Technological Capability Building in Global South: Comparative study of India and South Africa

Swapan Kumar Patra* and Mammo Muchie**


Abstract
Economic success of a nation is highly related to Scientific and technological capability building. Therefore, both industrially developed and developing nations follow explicit strategies to increase their technological competency. However, technological capability building cannot be completed in isolation. It is a long term process and requires a country to pass through different phases of learning, infrastructure development, human resources management, and institutions building. This paper analyses Indian and South African scientific and technological capability through the major input (R&D expenditure, manpower) and output indicators (Technology balance of payment, scholarly publication, patents and so on). To measure the technological capability of these two emerging economics, this study uses World Bank data for R&D expenditure and R&D manpower, scientific publication data from Scopus database and patents granted in United States Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) database.  The study observed that in India is ahead of South Africa in some respect but in some areas South Africa’s performance is quite good. The study concludes with the policy recommendation from the developing countries’ particularly the South African perspective which includes the technological learning through the increasing collaboration between foreign firms and the local firms or institutions.


Keywords: Technological Capability, Scientometrics, Bibliometrics, Patents, India, South Africa  


* Swapan Kumar Patra: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** Mammo Muchie: DST/NRF Research Professor, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, ASTU, Ethiopia and TMDC, Oxford University, UK. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & www.sarchi-steid.org.za/

Innovation Research for Integrated African Development: Colloquium for Journal and Book Publication, (9th -11th March 2016) Tshwane, Pretoria, South Africa (paper is under review for the forthcoming book chapter)

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Research and Innovation in South African Universities

Swapan Kumar Patra* and Mammo Muchie**

Abstract
This study maps the research and innovation in South African universities within the triple-helix framework. To map the R&D activities of South African universities, patent and publications data are used as an output indicator. The study observed that universities are the most prolific publisher and constitute about 91 percent of total South African publications. However, universities altogether produce only about 14 percent of total South African patents. Productivity is mainly concentrated in Western Cape and Gauteng provinces because of the location of public research institutes and productive universities. For example University of Pretoria and University of Witwatersrand in Gauteng and University of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch in Western Cape Provinces. Only a few universities are responsible for both patenting and publication portfolio of South Africa. The joint patent trends shows that only about 19 percent patents are collaborative patents. South African public research institutes are more active in joint patents with universities followed by the foreign universities. South African firms are less active in collaborative patents. The study recommends that university and local firms’ collaboration need to be strengthen to develop technological capabilities in South Africa. Also, the regional disparities in productivity need further attention. To achieve the ‘entrepreneurial university’ in terms of patents and technology transfer South African universities need to collaborate more with the local industries or institutes. Further studies will perhaps give a clear picture of technology transfer and the universities incurred benefits from it.

 

* Swapan Kumar Patra: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** Mammo Muchie: DST/NRF Research Professor, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, ASTU, Ethiopia and TMDC, Oxford University, UK. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & www.sarchi-steid.org.za/

The paper is accepted in 14th Globelics International Conference (12th – 14th October 2016) scheduled to be held in Bandung, Indonesia.

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