Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Review
The development of the new ST&I policy entrenched in Vision 2030 with support of PIOJ and other key stakeholders. This policy will seek to connect the variety of entities and their activities towards a more coordinated approach with more defined mechanisms for mobilizing human, financial and institutional resources. A review of the country’s policy on Science, Technology and Innovations was conducted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Conference for Science, Technology and Development (UNCSTD). This activity was coordinated by the NCST Secretariat. The main purpose of carrying out such a review was to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing S & T system by the economic performance of its national enterprises. Specifically, the objectives included the following :
- To evaluate the efficiency of the present Jamaican S & T institutions in the promotion of technological innovations, particularly in the private sector.
- To assess the elements of the Jamaican policy framework relevant to the national system of innovation.
- To examine the role of policies and institutions aimed at fostering activities that lead to technical change.
- To promote innovative activities in enterprises of all sizes
- To launch a national dialogue among all groups of the NSI
A background situational paper was prepared on behalf of the NCST and it (together with interviews and site visits) provided information for an assessment of how the country’s development and S & T policies impact on productive enterprises.
The final report singled out the tourism, music, information technologies and the agro industries for specific recommendations, of which a few are already in train e.g. the establishment of the Jamaica Music Industry Association, increased press releases on S & T activities.
Summary and Recommendations
The report highlighted the use and value of S&T outputs. It pronounced that innovation policy should not only aim to build on the importance of user/producer interactions and flows, but also be seen as a part of complementary policies whose interaction will affect the larger environment within which firms make innovative decisions. The importance of interaction between bridging institutions such as universities, technological institutes, R&D centres, innovation centres, industry associations as well as institutions involved in the financing of innovation was also stressed.
The report noted that only in addressing environmental degradation, institutional development, intersectoral linkages, local, regional, national and international linkages, will Jamaica be adequately prepared to compete internationally, and develop sustainable tourism.
Commitment to national institutions such as an Entertainment Board and the implementation of mechanisms required to enforce the Copyright Law, as well as the improved technologies, were suggested as means for realizing the full potential dynamism of the entertainment industry.
Information Technologies (IT)
Weaknesses identified in the report included – a highly fragmented supply base for domestic support services, the fact that exports relied heavily on low-end, labour-intensive data entry services, a lack of specialization, an insufficient demand from sophisticated users and very little integration into the international production networks (IPN) for information technology-related products and services.
Immediate action was urged for facilitating participation of Jamaica in IPN.
The report noted that requisite linkages between agricultural and industrial sectors were weak. Similarly, there was need for more links between the productive sector and scientific and technological institutions to allow for the use of technology in processing, packaging and marketing.
The STIP Review was designed to serve as a catalyst for a national coordinated thrust towards improving Jamaica’s welfare through innovation and enhanced competitiveness. A brief progress report is slated to be prepared on the implementation of the Reviews recommendations after one year.