News & events



18 January 2018
12:30 - 13:30

Presenter: Dr Björn Jindra, Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) University of Bremen (Germany)

Date: 18 January 2018      

Time:  12h30 – 13h30 

Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, PE and Sweetwaters

This seminar explores technology upgrading of BRICS economies based on a three-pronged approach, which distinguishes between the intensity of technology upgrading, structural change and global interaction. We develop a statistical framework based on patent indicators to measure technological upgrading. This is applied to BRICS economies in comparison to selected high income economies in the period 1980 to 2011. The paper shows that there is no single path of technology upgrading. Instead, we find several unique paths with different trade-offs between intensity, structural change and the nature of global interaction. All BRICS economies display increased generation of frontier technological activities, while China and Russia have also increased the intensity of behind frontier technological activities.

China has also diversified its technology knowledge base and entered into dynamic frontier areas. South Africa displays comparatively low dynamics with modest improvements regarding frontier technological intensity as well as increased breadth of technology upgrading. A particularity seems to be a relatively high rate of technology sourcing from abroad. However, this not coupled with behind the frontier technology activities and thus might be a substitute rather than a complement to frontier activities. Finally, we find that with increasing intensity of frontier technology activities of all BRICS, the relative, but not absolute, importance of foreign actors and international collaboration has declined. BRICS economies seem to lack the organisational and complementary capabilities to match the extent of technology sourcing from abroad, observed in high income countries. Our result represents the application of a new conceptual framework and contributes to assess the sustainability of innovation based growth in emerging economies.

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact : Jo-Anne Chauvet or Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:

Cape Town: HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street Cape Town, Cape Town. Contact: Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004 or or Carmen August at

  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

Old Bus Depot, Mbubu Road, Sweetwaters Tel: 033-324 5000

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

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