Xiaolan Fu Wins GBP450,000 ESRC Award to Research Innovation in LICs

21 November, 2011

Xiaolan Fu has won a £450,000 award from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to investigate how technological innovation is diffused and adopted in Low-Income Countries (LICs).

The award is part of a new joint programme between the ESRC and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on economic growth in developing countries which aims to fund world-class research on issues relating to inclusive economic growth in LICs.

Technological innovation is a key element of industrialisation and catch-up in developing countries, but little research has been conducted into what determines and facilitates the creation and diffusion of new technologies in LICs.

The research aims to:

  • Understand the barriers to innovation creation and diffusion in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints and the space for innovation policy;
  • Analyse the determinants of knowledge diffusion in LICs from leading innovators to latecomers, in particular the role of university-industry linkage and inter-firm networks;
  • Examine the effect of external knowledge diffusion to LICs, in particular the productivity impact of South-South trade and FDI with a special focus on Chinese trade and FDI in Africa;
  • Develop an SME open innovation network model to increase frugal innovation for the poorer societies in LICs.

The three-year project, which has a total cost of £550,000, will include a new firm-level survey of innovation in Ghana, statistical analysis and case studies.

Xiaolan Fu is the director of the Programme for Technology and Management for Development (PTMD) at ODID.