Even before the outbreak of the current conflict, the Syrian system of innovation could be considered at a primary stage. Innovation capacities were very little and companies preceded by imitation. A prolonged era of protectionism and closed markets has nurtured the development of a conservative entrepreneur class and the growth of uncompetitive companies. Moreover, bureaucracy has been obstructing individuals from investment and innovation. This ecosystem has worsened in the latest years, due to insecurity and political instability, collapsing infrastructures, scarcity of funds, sanctions and therefore payment restrictions, besides the diminishing market size and human capital, often forced to migrate and leave its cities.
A very weak area of the Syrian innovation system is the technology and research sector, with the existing technical centres not able to propose suitable research and development. The governance body for research activities in Syria is al-Hay’a al-‘ulya li-l-bahth al-‘ilmi (Higher Commission for Scientific Research - HCSR) established in 2005 to perform an advisory role to the government on science- technology- and innovation-related issues. It is an inter-ministerial board reporting to the Prime Minister and aims at formulating the national policy for scientific research and technological development, and coordinating between scientific research bodies. Moreover, it distributes funds for scientific research organisations in accordance with their role and performance.