1. Overview of the R&I system
Mexico is the 15th largest economy in the world, with GDP growth of 2.24% in 2014. It is the tenth biggest oil producer in the world and it has a strong manufacturing sector with important links to the United States. Ranked by the World Bank as an upper middle income country, the average GDP per capita was approximately €8,000 in the 2012-2014 period. In the same period, the government debt as percentage of GDP increased from 29% to 35%, and the unemployment rate was below 5%.
The 2012-2014 period was marked by the coming to power of a new Government at the end of 2012. The new government introduced an important package of reforms and new policies; all of which have impacted on the economic structure of the country. These new measures include reforms in the financial, fiscal, labour, education, energy and telecommunications activities in the country. A new National Development Plan 2013-2018, and a new Special Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation (PECiTI 2014-2018) were also published. These introduced objectives, strategies and action lines to tackle some serious challenges identified in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) system. The challenges included correcting the inadequate levels of national and private R&D expenditure, public-private collaboration, the number of full time researchers, the decentralisation of R&I activities, the number of research publications and patents, and commercialisation of research results, and the number of innovative companies. Important amendments were made in this period to the Law of Science and Technology, to improve the management of Intellectual Property Rights, and to open up new avenues for the exploitation and commercialisation of research results.The Science, Technology and Innovation governance structure did not experience important changes, except for the introduction of the Coordinator of STI in the President Office.