The innovative academic : exploring the role of universities in the national system of innovation of Singapore
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Using Singapore as a case, this dissertation expounds the role of universities in National Systems of Innovation (NSI). This dissertation has three essays addressing important and related aspects on the evolving role of universities in knowledge economies. In essay 1, the origin of the concept of innovation in STI policy design in Singapore, its development, and current status (1965-2015) is traced by drawing on the social construction of technology approach. While the state sets the direction for innovation, academia produces it, within a political sphere constructed by technical/technological machines. Using interviews with public university academics and key policymakers in Singapore, I explore the subjectivity of innovation that exist between these two groups of actors. In doing so, I contextualize the state of innovation in Singapore and expose gaps that need to be addressed for efficient innovation system planning. Essay 2 addresses university-industry linkages (UILs) which are an important strategy for innovation for universities, industries, as well as governments. Extant literature identifies the various barriers to such collaborations and suggests ways to improve them, but does not sufficiently describe how academics, the key decision-makers who drive the formation of UILs, perceives these barriers and how it affects their realities and daily practices. A mixed-methods approach is used to provide a rich description of barriers to UILs in Singapore from the academics’ perspective. By providing a comprehensive analysis of the nature of and barriers to UILs across Singapore from the academic’s perspective, this paper fills this gap in literature. Essay 3 looks at the academic experience of funding in Singapore’s knowledge race. Singapore is an interesting case study as it has a highly market-oriented university system and there is an evident push towards the more utilitarian or applied research on the part of the government which funds almost 90% of academic research. Using interviews and archival research, I describe how academics in Singapore perceive and deal with current funding systems thereby opening up debate and discussion on the evolution of universities in the South East Asian region.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science::Political institutions::Asia::Singapore