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UNESCO tool set to guide science, tech, innovation

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Students built rugby-playing robots to compete against each other at the 7th edition of Robocon Cambodia in 2020. Hean Rangsey

UNESCO tool set to guide science, tech, innovation

UNESCO and the government on June 24 launched the Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN) country profile for Cambodia to map out the national science, technology and innovation (STI) landscape, and analyse STI policies.

The online open-access platform’s country profile was unveiled by Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh, UNESCO Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building director Peggy Oti-Boateng and UNESCO representative to Cambodia Sardar Umar Alam at a virtual event.

Also at the event were 50 representatives from line ministries, embassies, development partners, associations and relevant national STI stakeholders.

During the event, an industry ministry technical working group shared insights about the Cambodia STI ecosystem, and UNESCO scientific experts introduced the main aspects of the GO-SPIN country profile as well as the elements of the GO-SPIN methodology for mapping research and innovation.

In the opening remarks, Prasidh expressed appreciation to UNESCO for GO-SPIN and the associated study, and urged line ministries, universities, private sector, and other relevant stakeholders to work together towards accomplishing the platform’s “important mission”.

“The GO-SPIN country profile for Cambodia is our priority, as a tool to measure the current level of national advancement and identify the progress and bottlenecks in STI,” he said, wishing the GO-SPIN committees a “successful mission”.

During welcome remarks, Alam commended the government’s efforts in positioning STI as a national priority through the reestablishment of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft into its current form – even during the Covid-19 pandemic – to drive scientific, social and economic progress in Cambodia.

He highlighted that the timely launch of the GO-SPIN initiative in Cambodia would enable leveraging STI to foster social inclusion by designing technological solutions that are accessible and affordable for all.

“Investing in STI, giving it a priority for budgetary support – financing for science – is an urgent necessity for human resource development, and to strengthen economic competitiveness and environmental resilience,” Alam noted.

The GO-SPIN country profile for Cambodia will provide decision-makers, parliamentarians, universities, the private sector, specialists, and the general public a wide range of diverse information on the Kingdom’s STI ecosystem.

Its accompanying study will serve as one of the main policy documents for STI actors to shape and nurture the National Innovation System (NIS) in Cambodia. Through a participatory and inclusive approach, UNESCO and industry ministry will work closely with all STI stakeholders to finalise the GO-SPIN country profile for Cambodia by the end of this year.

UNESCO’s Oti-Boateng said: “The novelty of the methodology for the development of GO-SPIN country profiles will not only gather information and make an in-depth mapping of the current STI status, but also provide strategic recommendations and advice to the government towards building a sustainable STI environment.”

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