Presentation on theme: "Science & Technology for Global Development J.P.CONTZEN IST LISBOA February 4, 2005."— Presentation transcript:
Science & Technology for Global Development J.P.CONTZEN IST LISBOA February 4, 2005
Introduction (1) Currently, Science and Technology are unevenly distributed among the countries of the World, the gap is enormous, growing with time Do S&T need to be spread fairly evenly in our World in order to ensure global economic and social development? Or could we consider a task sharing scheme where some countries specialize in S&T, as others do for some commodities, the other nations benefiting from the fruits of this activity?
Introduction (2) The answer is not a clear cut one: On the one side, no single nation can currently master the whole spectrum of S&T, it needs to take into account outside S&T activities; successful innovation can be based on imported knowledge. On the other side, the sophisticated knowledge that characterizes the 21st century requires a great deal of S&T at local level for being assimilated. Technology Transfer is a complicated process. Furthermore, the adequacy of imported S&T for meeting local needs is not guaranteed. Finally, all countries can contribute to the global store of knowledge.
Introduction (3) Hence the need to develop everywhere a minimum level of endogenous S&T capability for ensuring economic and social development. This capability will in turn increase the efficacy of the transfer of outside knowledge and reinforce cooperation. Developing a strong national capability, except for military purposes, does not lead to isolation. On the contrary, it leads to an increased insertion in the global context.
The current situation (1) Current disparities between countries in S&T are enormous. The amount spent on R&D constitutes an rather faithful indicator of the S&T strength. The R&D intensity in 2001 expressed by the ratio of Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) over Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranges from 3.70% in Sweden to 0.08% in Ecuador. As intermediate reference points, 1.20% in India, 0.91% in Brazil, 0.69% in China, 0.34%in Mexico and 0.22% in Malaysia.
The current situation (2) In the 90’s, the industrial countries concentrated 96 % of the world R&D expenditure, the developing countries 4%. By developing countries, are meant here Latin America, Africa and Asia except Japan and South Korea.
The current situation (3) There is generally a strong correlation between S&T strength and income. High-income countries deploy about 3300 scientists and engineers in R&D per million people and produce about 360 patents per million people. For middle–income countries, the corresponding figures are 1000 and 10. The only notable exception is constituted by some very wealthy oil and gas producing countries that display a relatively low S&T level.
The current situation (4) Dividing the world from an S&T point of view into two parts, the industrialized world and the developing world is somewhat simplistic. The InterAcademy Council proposes four categories that reflect more accurately the situation.
The current situation (5) S&T-advanced countries: significant strength in most research areas and substantial S&T capacity (personnel, infrastructure, investment, institutions, regulatory framework) S&T-proficient countries: strength in several research areas and growing S&T capacity S&T-developing countries: strength in one or more research areas and lacking important aspects of S&T capacity S&T-lagging countries: little research strength and no discernable overall S&T capacity
A policy for S&T development (1) The measures to be taken to improve the situation are not necessarily the same according to the category of the country but they are some factors for development that apply universally: To stimulate a culture favoring S&T To develop an effective national S&T policy To provide an adequate regulatory framework, notably for intellectual property rights To devote sufficient internal funding to S&T
A policy for S&T development (2) Some other factors for development should always be present but could differ in the intensity of their application: To stabilize in the country the S&T human competencies To reinforce the S&T infrastructure, notably in the field of Information and Communications Technologies To encourage public-private partnership To develop regional and international cooperation
A culture favoring S&T (1) Most political leaders in the developing world, notably in the less-favored countries, don’t grant enough importance to Science and Technology: lack of conviction about usefulness, too remote in its results, politically rebellious scientific elites. The general public does not perceive the role that S&T may play for its own welfare: it has more immediate preoccupations, it resents the elitism and sometimes selfishness of the local scientific community.
A culture favoring S&T (2) Political Governance is a serious issue in most developing countries. An arm’s length relation between government and the scientific community should be maintained.
A national S&T policy (1) Each nation should develop its own S&T policy, in order to possess a clear view of what it wants out of S&T. International bodies should help, provide guidance but should not dictate the choices; a sense of ownership of the objectives to be attained should be present at national level. There should be a strong match with the local needs. Any S&T policy should be closely linked with upstream policies, notably education and downstream policies, notably innovation
A national S&T policy (2) S&T should fuel local innovation in areas corresponding to the social and economic needs of the country. The identification of the priority areas for S&T internal development are often difficult for S&T-developing and S&T-lagging countries.
A national S&T policy (3) At the opposite of S&T-advanced and S&T- proficient countries where military/political considerations dictate part of the national S&T agenda, e.g. China and India, and with the notable exception of North Korea, these developing or lagging countries use S&T essentially for economic and social development. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals constitute a useful guide for defining the S&T objectives of these S&T-developing and - lagging countries:
A national S&T policy (4) 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. Achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability (loss of environmental resources, access to safe drinking water, rehabilitation of slums) 8. Develop a global partnership for development (open trade, financial system, work for youth, access to pharmaceutical drugs and to ICTs)
A national S&T policy (5) Except for goal n°3, S&T could and should contribute to the achievement of these goals. The scientific disciplines that are the most relevant to these goals are agriculture, engineering, health and social sciences with information and communication technologies as a subtending tool. This does not mean that all other disciplines should be the reserved field of more developed countries but priorities should be clearly there.
A regulatory framework (1) Two factors dominate the discussion on this policy item: How strict should be the regulations limiting some scientific activities mostly in the biotechnologies area? This becomes a dominant issue for the implantation of research in a specific country. In the 90s already, the decision of Hoechst to move its corporate research activities from Germany to Boston, Mass. for regulatory reasons shook the world.
A regulatory framework (2) What about the current attractiveness of New Zealand for GMO research? What about safe havens for human cloning? Where lies the right compromise between safety and ethical considerations and S&T development? Would lagging-countries be tempted to become the refuge for risky or unethical research rejected elsewhere? International rather than national governance should provide part of the answer but any risk/benefit analysis should involve the local authorities.
A regulatory framework (3) The other issue relates to the protection of intellectual property rights for knowledge existing or generated in the country through nationals of the country or through the prospecting of local natural resources. Bioprospecting on the basis of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) as well as exploitation of Traditional Knowledge are concrete issues for less-favored countries.
A regulatory framework (4) The agreement on Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property rightS (TRIPS) at WTO level is not always favorable to less-favored countries.
Human Resources (1) Training and maintaining adequate human resources for S&T development constitute a critical factor for many countries (Portugal does not escape to such problem) Three elements of answer to this challenge have to be promoted: The presence of good Universities; Universities constitute the backbone of any S&T system. The assistance of S&T-advanced and S&T- proficient countries in capacity building.
Human Resources (2) A policy favoring the stabilization of the scientific elites in the country itself for the execution of scientific work. This means financial advantages, special working conditions, possibilities for short term stays abroad and the presence of challenging research work sponsored by the public and private sectors.
Infrastructures (1) Information and Communication Technologies constitute an enormous help to S&T development in S&T-lagging countries. Detaining the right ICT infrastructure is essential for these countries both in hardware terms (broadband networks, computing facilities) and in software terms (digital libraries, virtual university)
Infrastructures (2) One critical issue relates to the installation of big scientific infrastructures such as biotechnology laboratories of the P3 class or High Energy Physics accelerators. How much autarky is required? Efficiency should have precedence over national pride. Non-proliferation of sensitive technologies, the fight against weapons of mass destruction constitutes another consideration: should every less-favored country detain a vaccine laboratory that can easily produce biological weapons?
Regional and International Cooperation (1) S&T networking is essential for any national system, irrespective of its level of maturity. Many mechanisms do exist, probably too many. At international level, UNESCO, the United Nations University, UNDP, WHO represent the governmental sector. The scientific sector promotes many effective cooperative mechanisms such as ICSU, CGIAR, IFS, ICTP while Academies regrouped in such bodies as TWAS and CAETS play an influential role.
Regional and International Cooperation (2) Regional cooperation as been promoted so far mostly on a geographical basis such as in ASEAN or through bodies such as AERC, RELAB, USHEPiA. This should be complemented by groupings on the basis of common needs or similarities in their structures.
Regional and International Cooperation (3) The most interesting feature that has emerged in a recent past has been South-South collaboration complementing North-South cooperation, notably between S&T-proficient countries or between S&T-proficient and S&T-lagging countries, e.g. Brazil-China in earth resources satellites. Such pattern should be encouraged
Regional and International Cooperation (4) An option for the future would be to establish true centers of excellence in less-favored areas that could serve geographical regions or mind-like groupings. These centers should be operated on a national basis or as regional networks, not program-specific (equivalent to the proposed European Research Council?); Universities constitute the most likely sites for these centers of excellence.
Regional and International Cooperation (5) Another form of cooperation to be considered consists in S&T Public-Private Partnerships in S&T-developing and S&T-lagging countries. These PPPs should not hesitate to enter into areas fairly close to the market provided clear rules exist for equitable sharing of the fruits of the joint work. Environmental protection, health improvement at local level constitute favorable themes for such PPPs.
Conclusion The contribution of S&T to global development is a fascinating subject in view of the significant stake that it represents. The complexity of the issue is enormous and requires strong governance: Governance at international level for removing obstacles, mostly in the trade field, and for coordinating the proliferation of bodies involved in this area. Governance at national level, in particular in the less-favored countries, for creating the necessary conditions for a true S&T development and for giving full efficacy to the assistance received.
References www.interacademycouncil.net www.unu.edu US National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2002 Human Development Report 2003: Millenium Development Goals: A Compact among Nations to End Human Poverty, N.Y., United Nations, 2003 Science and Technology Collaboration: Building Capacity in Developing Countries? RAND Corporation, 2001 Strategic Approaches to Science and Technology in Development, World Bank, 2003
Acronyms AERC African Economic Research Consortium ASEAN Association of South-East Asian Nations CAETS Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ICSU International Council of Scientific Unions ICTP Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics IFS International Foundation for Science RELAB Latin America Biological Sciences Network UNDP United Nations Development Program UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization USHEPiA University Science, Humanities,and Engineering Partnerships in Africa TWAS Third World Academy of Sciences WHO World Health Organization