IRG 2-13: Corporate Strategies of Latin American Nanotech Companies and Their Policy and Institutional Contexts with Focus on Argentina and Brazil

(Kay, Appelbaum, Parker, Invernizzi; Shapira, Youtie)


A research project has been started on "Nanotechnology development in Latin America," with a focus on Argentina and Brazil, has been started and developed to the point of data gathering and preliminary analysis for conference presentation. This work is undertaken in collaboration with Richard Appelbaum, Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the innovation pathways of developing countries in emerging technologies.  During the current reporting period IRG2 developed the theoretical framework and corresponding research design to address the issue of innovation pathways in emerging technologies in developing countries, although further revisions will be done. 

A set of meetings with scholars and policy-makers in Argentina (May-June) helped to develop main dimensions of theoretical framework (thanks to the identification of potential factors influencing the trajectories of companies in emerging technologies in the country case studies) and enabled a re-design of the data gathering plan to account for company activities that may not be reflected in scientific publication and patent databases. In addition to field research involving interviews with selected companies, this project includes bibliometric and patent analysis for the case studies, and the analysis of websites and company dicuments.

Research protocols are now complete, although further revisions will be done during the rest of the data gathering process as new insights into the research topic are gained. Firms have been selected based on data sources deemed reliable (databases of publications and patents, government lists of firms receiving funding for nanotechnology R&D, key informants --scholars and government officials). The firm selection criteria sought to have variation in case studies in the following dimensions: industry, geographic location, size (within the SMEs group). The case selection process has been also affected by managers’ willingness to participate in the study and project budget.  Data has been gathered, including bibliometric and patent analysis (publication and patent data for Latin American companies based on Georgia Tech databases), and interviews have been completed with companies in Argentina and Brazil.

Some preliminary analysis has been completed for conference presentations (2013 Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy, Atlanta, GA, September 26-28, 2013 and S.NET Conference 2013, Boston, MA, October 27-29, 2013); the ongoing work involves the coding and analysis of interview transcription data and documentary data. This project now plans to fully exploit company data of the Brazil case studies to produce another journal publication that will incorporate a value chain perspective for company data, and expand the group’s collaborations by incorporating Prof. Noela Invernizzi (Federal University of Parana, Brazil) in the team.