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Title: Small high technology firms in developing countries : the case of biotechnology in Brazil.
Author: Galhardi, Regina Maria de Almeida Arao.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1991
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The objective of this research is to examine the institutional development of biotechnology in Brazil and, in particular, the role played by small firms in fostering biotechnology in the health and agriculture sectors and their relationship with both universities and large firms. The interest in this study stems from the crucial role played by small, high technology firms in innovation and diffusion of new technologies. Case studies emphasising the innovative capacity of small firms in several advanced countries are now available. In the US, in particular, there has been a proliferation of hundreds of small firms in biotechnology since the late 70s. The pattern of biotechnology development in the US suggests that small firms are functioning as a "bridge" between academia and large corporations. In developing countries, very little is known about the role of small firms in innovation, especially in a new, high technology area such as biotechnology. In the early 1980s, however, the emergence of a number of small companies operating in biotechnology in Brazil suggested that this might be the beginning of a new indigenous industry in this area. The purpose of this study was therefore to find out precisely what these biotechnology companies were doing, how far they fitted the American model of the new biotechnology firms and their links with the academic base, financial structures and large firms. It is the first study in this area, and it has been deliberately directed towards concentrating on the role of these small companies have played in the development and diffusion of this new technology. The empirical research presents original data collected from detailed interviews with twelve representative firms and relevant governmental agencies, carried out in 1989. Interviews were also conducted with academics in order to assess how far the small biotechnology firms were linked into the growing competence in this area of Brazilian universities. The main findings show that there are differences but also similarities between the American and the Brazilian pattern of biotechnology development. The Brazilian companies are not operating at the cutting-edge of this technology. On the contrary. they are using older and well tried techniques such as plant tissue culture. They do, however. link into the universities and large corporations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Innovation; Technology diffusion