Mongolia discusses perspectives for STI policy development

© Brücke-Osteuropa, UlaanBaatar, Mongolia

In 2007, Mongolia published its Science and Technology Master Plan for Mongolia 2007-2020, with UNESCO support. ‘Our Ministry is particularly grateful to the National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO office in Beijing and its experts for their invaluable technical and methodological assistance in the development of the Master Plan,’ wrote the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan, in his Foreword to the Plan.

The Master Plan had been programmed in Mongolia’s Government Policy on Science and Technology (1998).

Six years into the Plan, Mongolia has embarked on a review of its science and technology policy. Within this process, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO organized a national forum on 5-6 September 2013, in collaboration with UNESCO, on The Perspectives for Science and Innovation Policy Development.

Some 500 experts from Mongolia and abroad gathered in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, to share their experiences and discuss the future of science, technology and innovation policy in Mongolia. Among those present were representatives of the National Science and Technology Council, government ministries, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, research institutes, universities and the private sector.

Topics for discussion included policy and regulation; state budget funding; the structure of the S&T sector; the quality of research, science management and human resources.

One key thrust of the Plan to 2020 is a strategy to align R&D on market demand and social needs, in line with a policy recommendation made by UNESCO in 2000. Observing that most Mongolian exports have little technological content, whereas the reverse is true of imports, the Plan outlines a strategy for stimulating the share of non-government investment in science and technology, and for using economic stimuli to foster science–industry cooperation and joint research.

By 2011, the government was funding a lesser share of R&D (66%) than in 2005 (78%) but still performed three-quarters of R&D in Mongolia. Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) remained modest (see graph).

By 2020, Mongolia hopes to have a competitive R&D sector and an effective national innovation system providing intellectual property protection. The country is also eager to develop international cooperation in science and technology.

Click on graph to enlarge

Legend: GERD/GDP ratio of Mongolia 1996-2011
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2013

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