Since the 1970s, UNESCO has been involved in the promotion of the relationship between science, technology, innovation and economic development.
In 1993, the Organization created the University-Industry Science Partnership (UNISPAR) Programme, with the objective to promote interaction between universities and the productive sector with emphasis on research for industrial innovation.
In 2002, the Division of Science Policy and Sustainable Development integrated science and technology parks (STPs) cooperation into the UNISPAR Programme. Since then, UNESCO has established a solid cooperation with many international partners to promote the development of science parks and technology business incubators in developing countries.
One UNESCO partner is the World Technopolis Association (WTA), an NGO based in Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
UNESCO and WTA have been working together since 2005 based on the awareness that important synergies and complementary elements exist between them. Both organizations have expressed their intention to render assistance to each other to improve their service and functions with a view to promote science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.
UNESCO Signs the Activity-Financing Contract with WTA at UNESCO HQ in Paris, France on 6th May 2005. Based on this contract, WTA and UNESCO jointly organize the first international training workshop on science city governance as a capacity building activity for science park managers in developing countries (Daejeon Korea, November 1-7, 2005).
In April 2006, the WTA establishes an official relationship with UNESCO at the 174th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board. The UNESCO-WTA Cooperative Project (2006-2010) is officially founded with the purpose of facilitating sustainable technopolis development in developing countries. The initial step for “UNESCO and WTA Cooperative Project”: UNESCO, KOICA and Daejeon city (WTA’s presidency) jointly conduct activities related to capacity building, technical assistance in innovation clustering and technopolis development in developing countries (September 2006). To support these activities, the UNESCO-WTA Technopolis Development Center (UWTDC) is launched at WTA Secretariat in Daejeon in November 2006. This center aims to conduct international training (workshops, seminar, conferences etc.) for technopolis stakeholders and provide technical assistance and policy advice in technopolis development for developing countries.
On the basis of know-how accumulated since 2005, the collaborative partnership between WTA and UNESCO is expanding its contribution to improve capacity of science city governance in developing countries. In February of 2012, WTA signs MOU that WTA will continue to support activities related to capacity building and technical assistance for the development of science park and technology business incubators in developing countries.
- Further to that, WTA is planning to hold Global Innovation Forum where innovation leaders participate in training programs and conferences to share the successful STP establishment and development experiences of advanced science cities.
The world economy is in transition from a material-oriented industrial economy to knowledge based economy, and recently, to creative economy focused on sustainable development. The key feature leading sustainable growth in creative economy is innovation capability connecting science and technologies to culture and environment.
To upgrade the innovation capability, it is crucial to build cooperative networks among innovation actors like collaborators, facilitators and precursors. This is where we found the needs of providing an international platform for open discussion between the various innovation actors.
WTA and UNESCO have been working together on developing science cities based on science and technology parks, and promoting innovation culture in the global context. With these experiences, WTA, UNESCO and Daejeon Metropolitan City initiated Daejeon Global Innovation Forum on 2014 and the Forum will be held on every even year.