Patarapong INTARAKUMNERD : GRIPS Professor


Patarapong Intarakumnerd is Deputy Director of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Program and Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo, Japan. He is a regional editor and member of international editorial boards of several international journals relating to innovation management and policies. He has worked as an advisor/consultant for the World Bank, UNESCO, UNCTAD, OECD, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), German Development Institute, International Development Research Center of Canada, and Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

Q: As deputy program director, what do you think is the strength of GRIPS and your program?

A: The strength of this university is that it is a research university with research and teaching very much related. Professors here spend a lot of time on research, and findings from research will be converted to curriculum. Therefore, students can learn something very updated. In addition, most our classes are rather related to public policies. That is a distinctive characteristic of our university.

Most of professors at GRIPS including myself used to engage with policy directly or indirectly. Some of them used to be high-ranking government officials. Some used to work in public research organizations or government-related organizations. We have experiences in the field of policy making.

At GRIPS, we try integrate theory and practice together. We need both. Without a theory, Theories provide guidance for designing policies based on serious analysis. Practical policy experiences help policies be relevant and effective.

When you look at our program, you will see that it has different types of professors. Some of them are academy oriented, or research oriented. Some are more practical ones. We can offer both theoretical classes and practical policy classes. That is a good blend.

Q: Could you tell us about your research and how you utilize it at a class room?

A: My main research topic is "science, technology and innovation policies in developing countries." We are looking at an issue of the national, regional and sectorial innovation systems in developing countries. Generally, the issue of science and technology innovation policy should not be examined only at the national level. But there are also other levels, such as the regional, local, and sectorial ones.

We are also looking at policy issues in the global context, because issues concerning science and technology and innovation these days are across national borders. So we need to have a comparative perspective.

One of the projects that I am working on is a two-year project, called "Analysis of Intermediary Organizations in East Asia's Innovation Systems Project". This is a study about the role of intermediaries. What we mean by intermediary is like a broker. A lot of policies happen not because of one single agency, but coordination across agencies. We need coordinators to make things happen.

For this research, I am particularly focusing on two types of organizations. One is a public research institute, and the other is a private industry association. I want to learn what kind of role that they play, and if there are differences between these two types of organizations.

Studying this, I focused on Taiwan, which is a more advanced country, and Thailand, which is a less advanced but catching up country. Are intermediaries in these two perform differently, why? I interviewed many organizations and compared them, for example in the food industry. In Thailand, they have food related public research institutes as well as food industry associations. In Taiwan, they also have more or less the same types of organizations, but they perform better than their counterparts in Thailand. So I tried to understand why.

I found that there are differences in terms of mission of the organizations. For example, one is trying to do everything, while one is more focused. There are also differences in terms of human resource within those organizations. That is why they have different performance.

I use this kind of result for my own teaching. I discuss about the role of intermediaries with my students. Why in some countries have such kinds of intermediaries? Why are some more effective than others? Because of my own research, I can be more confident about this kind of issue when I teach. This is an example of close relations between research and teaching.

One of the beauties that our program has is that we can make a comparison in classes, because our students are from many different countries and most of them are mid-carrier policy makers. They want to discuss with other colleagues. They learn from others, and we professors also can learn from them as well. That is mutual learning.

Q: You emphasize the importance of international comparisons. How do you actually conduct collaborative research across the borders?

A: For example, I have worked a project leader for research funded by ERIA (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia). Every year we conduct studies on innovation activities in Asian countries, including surveys of firms innovation activities in five different locations: Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi). For the past ten years, we carried out such surveys. On top of that, we have case studies focusing on selected industries, for example, automobile and electronics.

For each year, we had project meetings with national teams from Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries. I was the one who laid out a framework and wrote an executive summary, conclusion and policy implications. We submit a report to ERIA every year. This is the clear example of how we conduct collaborative research across the borders.

Q: What made you interested in this particular area of research?

A: I think these days we are talking about how science and technology improve quality of life, or contribute to the well-being of people. Science, technology and innovation polices have to be more people focused. That is my main motivation to research.

In order to be people focused, we have to engage with stake holders. We cannot just have a bureaucrat formulating policies out of nowhere. Policy making should be based at interaction of all stake holders, for example, private companies, universities, local government or communities. I got this idea in my university days, and I felt certain of it from my own work experience.

I used to be a government official cum policy researcher for eight years in Thailand. Later I worked for the largest public research institute in Thailand, called National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). During the time, I participated in the planning processes of basic plans for science, technology and innovation, as well as worked on other important policy issues. I also understood the importance of collaborating with other government agencies and private sectors.

So I brought this kind of experience to GRIPS. When I teach in my class, I mention not only a theoretical aspect but also a practical aspect. That is because I know that what kind of policy is working and what kind of policy is not working, and why.

Q: What is the significance of your research and teaching? What do you expect your students to do after their going back to the field?

A: Research has to link with policy. We have to deliver the result to policy makers, and hopefully by doing that, we have some real changes happen. That is what we want to do. We want to deliver real change.

From my own experience, I understand that policy makers in a developing county have a lot of limitations. They want to see changes, but it is very difficult to make it happen. So I thought that the best way to make changes is to groom the new generation of policy makers, who have a good understanding of both theory and practice. So that is why I became a professor. I wanted to educate them, especially the mid-carrier ones who have some experiences but at the same time still have a long future. That is the mission of this program too.

This program involves both Japanese and foreign policy makers. They can understand each other, benchmark their policy together, and have good human connections. The alumni network is also active, and collaborations among the alumni from different countries have actually happened. I think that our students are going to make a lot of contribution in the future.


Publication in the past five years (2015-2019)


  • ①Intarakumnerd, P. (2018). Mismanaging Innovation Systems: Thailand and the Middle-income Trap, Routledge: Oxford and New York.

Journal articles and book chapters

  • 1. Intarakumnerd, P. (2019), 'Thailand's Middle-Income Trap: Firms' Technological Upgrading and Innovation and Government Policies,' Seoul Journal of Economics, 32 (1). 107-135.
  • 2. Lee, K., Wong, C., Intarakumnerd, P. and Limapornvanich, C. (2019), 'Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution a window of opportunity for upgrading or reinforcing the middle-income trap? Asian model of development in Southeast Asia,' Journal of Economic Policy Reform,
  • 3. Intarakumnerd, P., and Liu, Mengchun, (2019). 'Industrial Technology Upgrading and Innovation Policies: A Comparison of Taiwan and Thailand,' in K. Tsunekawa and Y. Todo (eds.), Emerging States at Crossroads, Emerging-Economy State and International Policy Studies, Springer: Tokyo, pp. 119-143
  • 4. Intarakumnerd, P. and Goto, A. (2018), 'Role of Public Research Institutes in National Innovation Systems in Industrialized Countries: The Cases of Fraunhofer, NIST, CSIRO, AIST, and ITRI,' Research Policy 47 (2018) 1309-1320.
  • 5. Intarakumnerd, P., Doner, R., Ritchie, B. (2018), 'Universities in Thailand's national innovation system : their contributions on industrial and technological Upgrading,' in VV. Krishna (ed). Universities in the National Innovation Systems: Experiences from the Asia Pacific, Routledge: Oxford and New York, pp. 305-327.
  • 6. Intarakumnerd, P. (2017). 'Industrial Innovation in Thailand: The Electronics, Automotive and Seafood Sectors,' in Khoo, B.T., Tsunekawa, K. and Kawano, M. Southeast Asia Beyond Crises and Traps, Palgrave Macmillan: Cham, Switzerland, pp. 167-192.
  • 7. Intarakumnerd. P. (2017). 'Human resource management and coordination for innovative activities in production networks in Asia: a synthesis', Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 25:2, 199-205, DOI: 10.1080/19761597.2017.1385957
  • 8. Intarakumnerd. P. (2017). 'Upgrading in Global Value Chains: the Cases of High, Mid and Low Technology Sectors in Thailand.' Asian Journal of Innovation and Policy 6(3):333-353. DOI: http//
  • 9. Pittayasophon, S. and Intarakumnerd, P., (2017). 'University and industry collaboration in Japan and Thailand: influence of university type', Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 25:1, 23-40, DOI: 10.1080/19761597.2017.1302399
  • 10. Intarakumnerd, P. (2017). 'Thai automotive industry: International trade, production networks, and technological capability development,' in L.Y. Ing and F. Kimura (eds). Production Networks in Southeast Asia, Routledge: Oxford and New York, pp. 161-182.
  • 11. Intarakumnerd, P. (2016). [Review of the book Development and Modern Industrial Policy Practice: Issues and Country Experiences by Jesus Felipe (ed)]. Asia Pacific Economic Literature, 30(2): 121-123. doi: 10.1111/apel.12156
  • 12. Intarakumnerd, P. and Goto, A. (2016). 'Technology and Innovation Policies for SMEs in Asia,' in P. Vandenburg, Chantapacdepong, P. and Yoshino, Y. (eds.) SMEs in Developing Asia: New Approach to Overcome Market Failures, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan, pp.24-49.
  • 13. Pittayasophon, S. and Intarakumnerd, P., (2016). 'University-Industry Collaboration in Thailand: Firm Characteristics, Collaboration Modes and Outcomes', Institutions and Economies, 8(3): 37-59.
  • 14. Pittayasophon, S., Intarakumnerd, P., Sumikura, K., Saito, H., and Suzuki, J. (2016). 'Firm Characteristics and Modes of University-Industry Collaboration: Cases of Japan and Thailand,' STI Policy Review, 7(1): 17-39.
  • 15. Intarakumnerd, P., Chairatana, P. & Chaiyanajit, P. (2016). 'Global production networks and host-site industrial upgrading: the case of the semiconductor industry in Thailand, Asia Pacific Business Review, 22(2): 289-306.
  • 16. Intarakumnerd, P. and Techakanont, K. (2016). 'Intra-industry trade, product fragmentation and technological capability development in Thai automotive industry,' Asia Pacific Business Review, 22(1):65-85
  • 17. Pittayasophon, S. and Intarakumnerd, P. (2015). 'Development Path of University and Industry Collaboration (UIC) Activities: Case of Japan and Thailand,' Asian Research Policy, 6(2): 47-65
  • 18. Intarakumnerd, P. Chairatana, P., and Kamondetdacha, R. (2015) 'Innovation System of the Seafood Industry in Thailand,' Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 23(2), 271-287.
  • 19. Sutthijakra, S. and Intarakumnerd, P. (2015). 'Role and Capabilities of Intermediaries in University-Industry Linkages: A Case of Hard Disk Drive Industry in Thailand,' Science, Technology and Society, 20(2): 182-203.
  • 20. Intarakumnerd, P. (2015). 'Comment on "Escaping the Middle-Income Trap in Southeast Asia: Micro Evidence on Innovation, Productivity, and Globalization" Asian Economic Policy Review 10: 148-149.
  • 21. Intarakumnerd, P. and Charoenporn. P. (2015). 'Impact of stronger patent regimes on technology transfer: The case study of Thai automotive industry', Research Policy, 44(7):1314-1326.
  • 22. Intarakumnerd, P. (2015). 'Seven Unproductive Habits of Thailand's Ineffective Technology and Innovation Policies: Lessons for other Developing Countries,' Institutions and Economies, 7 (1), April 2015, pp. 80-95.

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