Juan Ernesto Oliveros Müller

Title: 'Dynamics of innovation in PDVSA and the creation of the Oil Studies University (UVH) in Venezuela'

Supervisor: Dr. Erkki Karo

Opponent: Dr. Caetano Penna 

Defense: 23 January 2015


Abstract: This thesis analyzes the evolution of the oil sector innovation system in Venezuela since its emergence until the most recent event – the creation of the first oil studies university in the country, the UVH, by the Venezuelan oil corporation PDVSA. The analytical framework combines the concepts of emerging (national) systems of innovation, sectoral systems of innovation and the multi-level approach to institutional analysis of innovation systems. The paper shows that Venezuela’s NSI has had very few changes since the creation of PDVSA and this has hindered the evolution of innovation processes. Most importantly, the oil sector has grown more and more detached from the academic sector. A lack of specialized personnel and fluctuating oil prices pushed the innovation needs towards creating the UVH. However, the rest of Venezuela’s science and technology network was not integrated into this project and this affected the institutional logic of the creation and emergence of UVH. Thus, this paper argues that because of path dependencies, a lack of links between the Venezuelan science and technology institutions, the academia and the oil corporation itself, the UVH has ended up becoming a technical training center detached from other universities and with limited impact on the innovation process on the level of the system of innovation.

Keywords: National systems of innovation, sectoral systems of innovation, link building process, levels of institutional analysis