Historically, universities and institutions of higher learning have gone through three academic revolutions, namely, teaching, research, and innovation. Universities and Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the last two decades have come to occupy an important part in the national innovation systems (NIS), which
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Historically, universities and institutions of higher learning have gone through three academic revolutions, namely, teaching, research, and innovation. Universities and Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the last two decades have come to occupy an important part in the national innovation systems (NIS), which is a complex of ‘all important economic, social, political, organizational, institutional and other factors that influence the development, diffusion and use of innovations’. From a broader perspective, universities, together with public Research and Development (R&D) labs and science agencies, public policies (on industry, research, innovation and higher education, etc.) and business enterprises are now considered as important actors in the NIS of Asia-Pacific economies. The rise of Asia in the global knowledge-based economy from mid-1990s is closely associated with the rise of knowledge institutions of higher learning and scientific research output. Every Asia-Pacific country embraced and introduced policies relating to innovation in varying forms. Consultancy and collaborative links with industry being traditional forms of engagement, new policy and institutional measures in technology transfer and innovation to engage with society and business enterprises are gaining prominence. Policies for incubation, start-ups, and spin-offs, technology transfer offices (TTOs), and science and technology parks have gained tremendous prominence in leading Asia-Pacific universities. Different national innovation systems in the Asia-Pacific region have given rise to varying roles of universities. Whilst universities in Southeast Asian countries and India continue to play a traditional role of teaching and generating human capital, there are countries such as Singapore, China, Taiwan, and Japan, wherein universities are being transformed as entrepreneurial universities. Science and innovation policies in these countries have orchestrated the goal direction of universities as frontiers of innovation. Universities in Australia and New Zealand have so far been quite successful in marketing higher education to neighboring Asian countries. They have in recent years begun to embark on innovation and commercialization of research. The paper focuses on South East Asia and draws some comparison with more dynamic university ecosystems in East Asia. In doing so, the paper brings into focus the emerging innovation landscapes across the region.