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Strengthening science, technology and innovation policy: UNESCO launches ‘GO-SPIN’ in Lao PDR

The lack of accurate information, adequate indicators and ability to analyse and monitor science, technology and innovation (STI) policies and instruments is a major development challenge for many countries. Lao PDR will be the first country in South-East Asia to pilot a UNESCO-designed platform aimed at addressing these challenges.

UNESCO hosted a training workshop on the Global Observatory of Science Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO-SPIN) platform on 16 and 17 November in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The training involved high-ranking ministerial officials and other key STI stakeholders in the country, who were introduced to GO-SPIN, an online open access platform that aims to equip them with a wealth of information on STI policies.

The UNESCO-led training marks the initial step in the GO-SPIN project, which aims to assist Lao PDR in strengthening the monitoring of its national STI system and thus improve its STI policy-making and implementation processes.

GO-SPIN aims to fill information gaps by providing key information on STI governing bodies, legal frameworks, policy instruments as well as a long-term series of indicators for evidence-based policy analysis, design and foresight studies.

The workshop drew 54 participants, including H.E. Houmphanh Intharath, Vice Minister of Laos’ Ministry of Science and Technology and Vice Chairman of the Lao National Commission for UNESCO, and Mr Kongsaysy Phommaxay, Director-General of the Department of Science of Laos’ Ministry of Science and Technology.


UNESCO officers responsible for GO-SPIN conducted technical visits and consultations with government officials, representatives of research institutes, universities and industry following the training. Ultimately, the success of the project relies on developing a good understanding as well as a sense of ownership of the project among stakeholders, building the capacities of the national GO-SPIN team and relevant STI stakeholders in the country regarding the use of the GO-SPIN methodology, and the sustainability of the process.

A UNESCO GO-SPIN country profile, “Mapping Research and Innovation”, will be developed and published by the end of 2017, which will provide an in-depth analysis of the current trends in research and development in the country. Part of the GO-SPIN project in Laos is financially supported by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Related links:

•  Agenda and presentations of the training workshop (pdf)