- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Innovative Asia

Economies in the Asia-Pacific have experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, lifting millions of people out of poverty and promoting rising standards of living. The 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies now represent almost 60% of global GDP, while per capita incomes have risen by more than 75% over the past three decades. Such gains have been enabled by a number of factors, with APEC, ADB, and the World Bank noting in particular the vital contributions of efforts to reduce barriers to market access, streamline regulatory environments, and promote positive roles for trade and investment.

Yet by a number of measures, countries across Asia are struggling to advance further gains. As NBR has long noted, the extent to which a country invests in innovation can be a critical measure of its ability to bolster economic growth as well as address emerging societal and public health challenges. The IMF has also noted that building on domestic strengths and competitive advantages in healthcare R&D and innovation could support economic growth goals in countries across the Asia-Pacific. However, unlocking domestic potential for innovation and investments in public health will require dedicated leadership and commitment to addressing ongoing, systemic challenges.

With this in mind, “Innovative Asia” explores these issues and offers recommendations for how to strengthen innovation environments in Asia.

Project Activities

In 2017-18, this initiative focuses on two countries—Japan and South Korea—and their efforts to develop sustainable healthcare systems that promote rising levels of public health and contribute to economic growth. Over the course of 2017-18, NBR will commission research with leading scholars across the globe; convening ongoing dialogues with representatives from industry, policy, and research; and holding high-level workshops in Northeast Asia.


For more information, please contact:

Ashley Johnson
Project Associate, Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs (TEEA)

China's Latest Vaccine Scandal

The revelation that one of the China's largest domestic drug companies had falsified safety and inspection data on its rabies vaccine has ignited a major public health scandal in the country. NBR senior associate Benjamin Shobert analyzes the key factors at play in the scandal and assesses China’s way forward to address the problem.

Innovative Asia - Seoul Workshop Report

This new report presents findings and recommendations from a high-level workshop co-convened by NBR and the University of Seoul to examine South Korea’s economic and public health outlook and explored opportunities for enhanced U.S.-ROK cooperation.

Innovation Policy and the Implications for Healthcare and the Life Sciences

A new NBR Special Report from the Innovative Asia program examines the environment for innovation policy in Asia and draws implications for the health and life science sector, with a focus on Japan and South Korea.

The KORUS FTA and U.S. Trade Strategy in the Asia-Pacific

Charles Boustany Jr. and Clara Gillispie explore what is at stake in the Korea-U.S. FTA renegotiations and discuss key considerations for sustaining U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

2017 Tokyo Workshop

On November 1, 2017, NBR hosted the workshop "Innovative Asia" in Tokyo. This event featured a keynote address by David Ricks, Chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly, and consisted of two panels with presentations by senior-level leaders from policy, industry, and academia.

2017 Seoul Workshop

On October 30, 2017, NBR and the University of Seoul co-hosted a workshop in Seoul on "Strengthening the U.S.-ROK Alliance for Job Creation and Sustainable Development." The event featured remarks by a number of senior academics and policy experts.

Strategies, Challenges, and Considerations for Economic Growth in South Korea

June Park (Seoul National University) discusses the strategies deployed by recent South Korean administrations to meet domestic targets for economic growth and innovation and the influence of the traditional chaebol system on domestic drivers of innovation.