BRICS is an international cooperation between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Since its inception in 2001, cooperation in the areas of science, technology and innovation had been encouraged through various initiatives. More recently, a BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2017-2020) was formalised to allow for practical mechanisms to be implemented.
As a result, more than 50 delegates from BRICS countries met on 30 November 2017 in Kunming, China to participate in the first BRICS Technology Transfer Cooperation Forum and Workshop. The activities were part of the Kunming Summit of the 2017 China (Beijing) International Technology Transfer Convention organised by the International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN). Philip Hoekstra, UCT IP Manager and committee member of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) attended the meetings in both Kunming and Beijing.
Kunming, a city in South-Western China, has had ambitions since 2015 to become a global innovation centre. At the Kunming Summit, an action plan for a BRICS technology transfer cooperation mechanism was put forward. Kunming Municipal Government has agreed to fund the initial stages of the mechanism and ITTN will coordinate. Some of the activities proposed in the action plan include establishing a BRICS Technology Transfer Centre in Kunming, organising an annual BRICS Technology Transfer Convention and an annual BRICS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, establishing a BRICS School of Technology Transfer and Innovation-Entrepreneurship Management, expanding an existing UNIDO-BRICS technology transfer platform developed in Russia, found a BRICS Technology Transfer Alliance and create a BRICS technology transfer journal.
Initially preferential fields for cooperation include natural disaster management and early warning technologies, water resource and pollution control, geospatial technologies, new energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Researchers and research institutes from across BRICS are invited to participate in research and technology development projects. The existing UNIDO-BRICS technology transfer platform (http://brics-ttn.org/index.php/en/) can be used to search for willing partners within BRICS. Currently funding mechanisms include the BRICS STI Framework Programme, which has an open call until the 27th of December: http://brics-sti.org/index.php?p=new/15.