Wondwossen Belete ICIDS 1. Studies focusing on IP and university research Study under East African Biotechnology Research and Policy (BIO-EARN) Program, 2005 IP assessment by Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office in 2006 ( a WIPO financed study) Background study for the Green Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy of Ethiopia,2009 Strategic Plan of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office for the period 2006-2010 included activities relating to the preparation of a draft national IP policy and model policy for universities The Ministry of Science and Technology in 2010 commissioned experts to prepare a guidelines and model IP policies for universities and GRIs In these studies and the plan although there is no mention of foreign policies the kind of IP policy they recommend is a copy of foreign IP policies specially the Bayh-Dole Act of the US 2. The policy context: Science and Technology policy of 1993 Education and training Policy of 1994 Industrial Development Strategy of 2002 Capacity Building strategy,2002 Green paper on Science Technology and innovation Policy 3. Programs and Initiatives Addis Ababa University- Ministry of Industry Cooperation program 1986 AAU Technology Faculty-Industry linkage unit established in 2000 Engineering capacity Building Program launched in 2004 4. The research environment in universities Only Addis Ababa University and a handful of universities engaged in research Shortage of research finance Inadequate research facilities Shortage of qualified researchers Research disconnected from the needs of industry University researchers think in terms of original research as opposed to a policy of adaptive research adopted by the government 5. Absorptive capacity of industry Weak technological capacity Shortage of skilled technical manpower Lack of access to finance Risk averse behavior of owners of enterprises which is a barrier to investment in innovation Limited capacity to absorb externally generated knowledge The level of influence of foreign policies on proposals for IP policy in Ethiopia is much higher than the expectation of the researchers. University researchers are less willing to respond to questionnaires or provide information in any other way as opposed to the strong cooperation of government officials. There is misconception of the national technological development objective in the academic circle The government’s objective of ensuring wider and rapid dissemination of research results conflicts with its objective of strengthening the national IP regime. The policies and strategies of the Ethiopian government must be rooted in the main development agenda of poverty eradication. In that respect, intellectual property policy should be seen from the point of view of its contribution to the attainment of such a development objective. If adequate protection and enforcement of IPRs are genuinely intended to enhance development, policymakers should seriously consider differentiation of national IPR regimes in line with the level of economic and technological development of a country. The “one-size-fitsall” approach can be a recipe for disaster for developing countries, particularly for least developed countries. (UNCTAD, Least Developed Countries Report,2007) For most Ethiopian enterprises working under weak technological capability and financial constraints university ownership of IP and licensing will significantly limit their access to knowledge generated from publicly financed research. Increasing university research budget, improving the research infrastructure, skill upgrading to university researchers better salary structure and recognition to academic researchers will significantly improve the research environment in universities and enhance their interaction with industry. Therefore, before considering IP policy for university ownership of research results these measures should be given prior consideration. The universities should change their research direction and focus on adaptive research in line with the national technology development objective of importing and adapting foreign technologies. It is believed that most of the technologies that Ethiopia needs now are available in the technologically advanced countries and what is needed is adapting those technologies to the local situation. There is a need to promote dialogue among the main innovation actors in Ethiopia to build consensus on the kind of IP regime to promote linkage between universities, GRIs and industry There is shortage of professionals knowledgeable in the legal, economic and technical aspects of intellectual property Researchers, academicians and industry managers lack/ have weak understanding about intellectual property protection and its impact on the interaction between the main innovation actors in the country There is a need to create awareness among the general public on some relevant topics in intellectual property. Except one semester courses to law students in a few Ethiopian universities there is lack of specialization programs in the IP field. There are also no IP courses in the curricula of the different academic units in the science, engineering and business fields.