Research and Development, the Key to Growth
Eng. Fernando Becerril,
In this column, we have already discussed the importance of the process of innovation related to our economic growth. During the presidential report from the government of President Peña Nieto, reference was made to the unprecedented drive that the federal government has given to science, technology, and innovation.
In the same, it was reported that the “the Scientific Investigation and Experimental Development Expenses both –public and in private– have grown to 32.7%, in real time, as of 2012.” This fact, while true, led the public investment sum to the historic amount of 87,399 million pesos (mdp – millions of pesos). Although this sum is interesting, it only accounts for up to 0.5% of the GDP dedicated to promote, support, and sponsor the investigation, development, and innovation process.
It is well known that in large economies, those that are a reference to the development and quality of life, the public expenditures in investigation and development, is much greater than the GDP percentage of Mexico’s investment. In countries like Finland, Denmark, Israel, Germany, and the United States the percentage of GDP allocated to this type of business activity is closer to 3%, and, in some cases, above said percentage.
In the same way, and following the investment line for R&D growth, in the report it was stated that the “members of the National Researchers system have grown more than 4,700 and, with the new National Science and Technology Council (CONACyT), 800 youth researchers now have a placement,” which leads us to the actual amount registered within the system of a little more than 40,000 researchers. Again, this number is not significant, while in Mexico we have approximately 400 investigators for each million inhabitants and in economies like the Korean or Czech Republic, there are around 3,000 per million inhabitants.
What was stated in no way serves as a pessimistic vision of the situation in Mexico, but a realistic analysis of what is happening in the field of investigation and scientific development in the country. However, as a complement to what has been stated, it must be recognized that the federal government, from the previous administration, has demonstrated a willingness to do things differently and, above all, invest in public resources in pursuit of improving our capabilities in this area.
We have already mentioned on previous occasions regarding the growth of the number of individual and national Companies’ patents, as result of the public policy changes to recognize innovation and development, including the necessity to link a University and a Business.
Currently, the Office of Technology and Transfer (OTT) is playing an important role in liking, including the promotion and development of methodologies to facilitate and generate commercialization and transfer of scientific and technology development to generate business opportunities. In recent years, the OTT’s, like the one I have the honor of directing, have dedicated our efforts to generate value ideas that transcend the daily life of the various sectors of the national economy. The model is working, and in a few years, we are confident that we will pass from the bottom of the table to become one of the most important actors in the technology sector on a worldwide basis.
The columnist is the writer of Becerril, Coca & Becerril, specialized legal firm in intellectual property, technology transfer, and corporate matters from 1969.