19 August 2013

From a dearth of natural resources, water scarcity and the aridity of much of its geography to its position in a historically turbulent geopolitical region, Jordan is a place where to survive and prosper requires considerable effort. Unlike many of its oil-rich neighbours, Jordan has limited natural resources. As a result, Jordan’s future prosperity depends upon its ability to harness its human capital and relatively young population to support future economic growth. The development of a national ‘ecosystem’ that stimulates science, technology and innovation (STI) offers Jordan an excellent opportunity to ensure future economic development and the welfare of its citizens. This report analyses the state of STI in Jordan, and provides an assessment of how effectively the existing national innovation system (NIS) develops and supports the country’s innovative capabilities.

Pharmaceutical lab Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC, Jordan

Its conclusions and recommendations include the following:

Streamline the governance structure of science, technology and innovation:

  • Jordan’s national innovation system has been described as a ‘traffic jam’ of organisations characterised by duplication and dilution of effort.
  • The number of organisations, programmes and initiatives should be reduced and better coordinated to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Improve the national innovation policy framework:

  • Jordan currently lacks a national innovation policy, and efforts should be made to develop practical and demand-oriented strategies that can be applied in practice.
  • There is a need to improve the coordination of policy implementation across different stakeholders.
  • There is a real need for more established, durable high level leadership in the field of science and innovation policy.
  • A national innovation policy should also cascade down into a series of interconnected and complementary regional innovation policies.
  • More systematic benchmarking and foresight exercises are required to support the future development of science and innovation in Jordan.

Reforming and aligning the education system

  • The national education system should move away from an emphasis on memorising facts and move towards teaching problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • Greater emphasis should be placed on the importance of science and technology within the school system.
  • Efforts should be made to overcome the current mismatch of university courses and vocational training with the needs of industry.

Raising the level of innovative R&D

  • Incentives should be provided for universities to carry out more problem-solving R&D
  • Funding should be increased for universities to enable current heavy teaching loads to be reduced and free up time for faculty to engage in R&D activities.
  • Opportunities need to be identified for increasing levels of expenditure on R&D activities, including increasing allocations for R&D from university budgets.
  • Financial incentives should be provided to encourage greater collaboration between academia and the private sector in joint R&D activities.

Promote a positive environment for entrepreneurship and business

  • The number of programmes within schools and universities which encourage enterprise through projects and competitions should be increased.
  • A more stable policy, regulatory and legal environment will be necessary to promote future business investment and growth.

Atlas of the Islamic World: Jordan

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The Atlas of Islamic-World Science and Innovation

Jordan country study
published in August 2013

Egypt country study
published in December 2012

Malaysia country study
published in April 2011

‘A new golden age? The prospects for science and innovation in the Islamic world’
published in June 2010