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The Reconfiguration of a Latecomer Innovation System

Governing Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Innovation in South Korea


Dirk Johann

The book examines the evolving governance of pharmaceutical biotechnology in South Korea in order to derive conclusions about the dynamics of a latecomer system transition. Based on an analysis of innovation activities in the biomedical sector, which is complemented by expert interviews, the research contends that the Korean post-developmental state should be geared towards coordinating the interplay of technologies, modes of organization and institutions. An integrative framework is developed to describe system change as a co-evolutionary process in which the national and sectoral dimensions intersect. The case shows that the shaping of an environment in which innovation systems can develop sectoral transformative capacity is a central aspect of latecomer innovation governance.


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4 Evolution and reform of Korea’s national system of innovation


This chapter provides an overview on the evolution of Korea's innovation system. It summarises the key aspects o f three generations o f innovation policy and the practices that shaped the governmental organisation o f the public S&T system, as well as the framing o f policies to enhance the generic S&T capabilities o f the evolving system o f industrial innovation. The chapter is divided in two parts. The first part outlines the different phases o f the development o f Korea's innovation system from a historical perspective. It discusses the role o f early S&T policy inducements to build the core elements and relationships o f the system as well as factors that have contributed to policy learning and partial systemic reconfigurations during the catch-up period. A key focus o f the first part o f the chapter is the shift in policy direction before and after the Asian crisis in 1997. A new framing o f policy interventions as part o f the post-crisis restructuring as well as the elements o f the reform o f government-business relations, including the reform o f corporate governance, are central aspects of the first part. The second part focuses on the restructuring o f the STI policy governance and the elements that characterise the shift towards a horizontal mode o f innovation policy governance. Several reform initiatives o f the recent governments are contrasted and the remaining challenges for accomplishing a coherent mode o f third generation...

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