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Science, Technology and Development Vol. 37 (3), 2018
Research Article
Overcoming Challenge of R&D and Innovation Financing in Developing Countries: A Proposed Way Forward for Pakistan
Tariq Bashir, Farid Bakhtiar and Anwar-ul-Hassan Gilani
 
Abstract: Innovation is viewed as increasingly important for economic growth and social development of nations. In the context of knowledge-based economies, the extent of R&D performed by a nation indicates its capacity to innovate, while expenditure on R&D is considered to be as one of the leading indicators for benchmarking the R&D performance of countries within an international setting. Over time, in many parts of the world, especially in the developed countries, investments on R&D have increased significantly. However, lately R&D funding throughout the world, especially in the public sector, is facing serious challenges of sustainability. These challenges are even sterner for the developing countries as they have inefficient research systems and non-existent or deficient research commercialization mechanisms which make it harder to showcase direct societal benefits of R&D at the local level, and hence justify public spending on research. Review of the trend of R&D expenditure of Pakistan, during last 25 years, reveals that R&D expenditure of Pakistan, as percentage of GDP, has been fluctuating between 0.25% and 0.67%, it reached to its peak (0.67% of GDP) in 2006-07 and since then it has shown consistent decline. Current expenditure of 0.25% of GDP is the second lowest in the last 25 years. It is highly unlikely that government alone can increase country’s R&D spending up to 1% of GDP in foreseeable future, as has been recommended by UNESCO for developing countries. To fill this gap, industry and civil society has to come forward. The present paper suggests a number of approaches and mechanisms which can be adopted to attract, encourage and engage industry and civil society in R&D funding in Pakistan.
 
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