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UNDERSTANDING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR A NEW ECONOMY J.P.CONTZEN Instituto Superior Técnico Lisboa, 21-22 November 2000.

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Presentation on theme: "UNDERSTANDING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR A NEW ECONOMY J.P.CONTZEN Instituto Superior Técnico Lisboa, 21-22 November 2000."— Presentation transcript:


2 INTRODUCTION The presentation attempts to describe the current and future role of Science & Technology in the Society of the 21 st Century Largely inspired by current events, many reflections based on articles in the daily press of the last months Balance between general discussion and case studies Aimed at identifying issues dominating the S&T scene, outlining possible responses, but raising more questions than giving definite answers

3 PLAN OF THE PRESENTATION (1) Which Society for the 21st Century? The Role of S&T in this Society: – Knowledge Creation – Economic Competitiveness – Peace and Stability – Quality of Life The Position of Europe in S&T The Actors of Innovation: « The Quadruple Helix »

4 PLAN OF THE PRESENTATION (2) New structures, new interfaces for Innovation in the next Century: – The State and Industrial R&D – Reorganising Public R&D Structures – R&D in Industry – Higher Education institutions and Innovation e-Science and e-technology: new challenges

5 PLAN OF THE PRESENTATION (3) S&T and regional development: the application of the Subsidiarity Principle S&T and developing countries: a global catastrophe S&T and Society: between acceptance and rejection: – Stimulating a better perception of S&T – Taking into account ethical issues – Reinforcing the dialogue with stakeholders

6 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (1) Globally, economic growth will continue to be sustained in most countries of the world. THE U.S. GDP has grown from 100 Billion$ in 1950 to Billion$ in In the next ten years, the new economy will create 10 Million more jobs in the U.S. Most of the developing countries, except the less advanced ones (LDC’s), have seen their GNP per capita growing by 3.6% in the period , 5.4% for China and India

7 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (2) Democracy is progressing globally. The civil society enjoys a greater role in the conduct of World affairs, than it was the case in the past The prospect of a global war involving the major superpowers has faded away, leading to the reduction of weapons of mass destruction Some diseases, e.g.poliomyelitis, will be eradicated, prospects of attenuating impact of others, such as Alzheimer, do exist.

8 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (3) Cancer early diagnosis will be improved, new cures for genetic diseases will be developed Better care for the elder and disabled will be available Information and communication technologies will enable a wider access to knowledge and culture Cheaper transport will render tourism affordable to more people Environmental awareness will further reduce some of the negative pollution effects

9 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (4) BUT, as recalled by Hans Küng, Every hour,1500 children die of hunger related causes Every month, the world’s economic system adds over 7.5 Billion$ to the debt of the Third World. More than 80 developing countries representing 1.2 Billion people, have per capita income lower than 10 years ago. Worldwide, the total population living on less than 1$ a day has risen from 1.2 Billion in 1987 to around 1.5 Billion today

10 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (5) Local conflicts are spreading, leading mostly to civilian casualties AIDS is still extending its attack on the world population, Africa is a disaster area Every year, an area of tropical forest ¾ the size of Korea is destroyed and lost In China, about 20 to 30% of all adult men in a total population of 1.3 Billion suffer from impotence and sterility due essentially to stress and environmental pollution

11 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (6) In the United Kingdom,the education gap between the traditional population and immigrants has grown from 9% to 16% between 1992 and 1999 More than 80% of Internet site interrogations are devoted to sex, compared to less than 6% for learning The EURO TECH index has won 136% in efficiency but has lost 1% in value in the last 10 months of this year. Are we evolving towards « casino capitalism » (Masayuki Sasaki)?

12 Which Society for the 21 st Century? (5) Is our world getting really better? How far are Science and Technology responsible for the current situation? How can Science and Technology contribute to a positive answer to this challenge?

13 The Role of Science and Technology How should S&T contribute to a better 21 st Century? By creating new knowledge By reinforcing economic competitiveness of all nations By improving the quality of life By guaranteeing peace and stability

14 Knowledge Creation (1) Extraordinary expansion of knowledge in the 20th Century: 90 % of the persons having contributed to scientific activity since the origin of mankind, are currently alive No foreseeable plateau in this expansion in spite of some differing opinions. There is no Frontier to Science Significant contribution of Technology to the progress of basic sciences: space telescopes, accelerators, supercomputers,…

15 Knowledge Creation (2) Fragile balance between the so-called “Big Science” and the other scientific activities; the extreme case of the Space Station Science does not enjoy the capability of self-financing: how can Science maintain its freedom in this context ? Albert Einstein expressed in the 1920’s the wish that ’’ Science should be done in isolated communities away from economic pressures ’’. This wish can no longer be fulfilled –

16 Knowledge Creation (3) New avenues for Science in the 21st Century: Interdisciplinarity and Non-Linear Thinking – Enhance interdisciplinarity between natural sciences (e.g. bio-chips, bio-sensors, membranes, opto-electronics, molecular computers, hydro gels, organic electroluminescence displays) – Same approach to be applied between natural sciences and humanities.The ’’ Two Cultures ’’ of C.P. Snow will soon be a reminiscence of the past. As examples: emergence of cognitive sciences, joint approach to urban management, to risk prevention and management, ergonomics

17 Knowledge Creation (4) Non – linear thinking: complexity should be integrated into the scientific approach – Laplace’s demon is definitely dead : nature should no longer be considered as a huge conservative and fully deterministic system – Poincaré’s mathematical work, quantum mechanics( Max Planck notably) have shaken the clockwork version of our Universe

18 Knowledge Creation (5) – The theory of non linear complex systems opens new avenues for problem solving in natural sciences: chaos theory, fuzzy logics, etc. They are essential for explaining natural phenomena such as climate change (the « Butterfly effect ») – It leads also to new approaches to social, economical and political problems. As Klaus Mainzer points out « Mono-causality in Politics and History is a false and dangerous way of linear thinking «

19 A simple example of non-linearity Example of Verhulst’s equation (1845) Pierre François Verhulst ( ) was a Belgian mathematician dealing with demographic problems. He established a simple model of restricted population growth X n+1 = a X n ( 1 – X n ) The evolution of X depends strongly on the values of a and X o. With increasing values of a, it leads to apparent chaos


21 Economic Competitiveness (1) The economic competitiveness of nations relies increasingly on its mastering of technologies, on its innovation capability. The phenomenon of globalisation, the improvement of living standards have increased the pressure of the market for new products, processes, services The rate of technological change is constantly accelerating, increasing the obsolescence of marketable goods

22 Economic Competitiveness (2) The combination of these factors – globalisation, improvement of living standards, accelerated obsolescence - leads to an increasing weight of S&T in economic competitiveness Several models can be used to illustrate the role of S&T in industrial, economic competitiveness. Models considering several feedback loops should be preferred to linear models

23 Increased market globalisation Stronger Competition Acceleration of Technological Change and Increased Complexity Increased R&D Costs Quick Obsolescence of Competitive Advantage Increased S/T Contents in Products Requirement for Simult. Use of Several Technologies Accelerated Market Demand Increased Productivity Pressure for Joint Norms and Standards Increased Importance of Innovation Pressure for Quick Exploitation of Knowledge and Development of New Products Industrial R&D

24 Economic Competitiveness (3) There is statistical evidence of the positive impact of competitiveness-oriented R&D on the economic performance of firms, as shown in the two following diagrams, displaying a positive correlation between BERD – Business Expenditure in R&D – and trade in high tech products



27 Economic Competitiveness (4) A word of caution: a strong R&D effort for economic competitiveness without an adequate innovation mechanism can be worthless or at least inefficient. Innovation is the successful translation of the R&D results into new products, new processes, new services, but it should be extended to new organizational schemes There are significant examples of industrial firms with strong R&D achievements, having failed to reap their benefits when going on the market: Philips in the Netherlands, Xerox in the U.S.

28 Economic Competitiveness (5) Additional issues deserving closer analysis: – Impact of innovation on employment: innovation has a direct positive impact on employment in high- tech sectors, the effect on medium-tech and low- tech industries does not appear to be so positive in the short term. The difference is linked to the type of innovation applied : new or improved products, or services have an immediate positive effects while new or improved processes or new organizational schemes lead frequently to short term negative effects on employment



31 Economic Competitiveness (5) Additional issues deserving closer analysis (follow): – The importance of the spill-over effect between industrial sectors. Firms (especially large ones) are using increasingly the mechanism of spin-in, or spin-along, in the innovation process, i.e. benefiting from R&D results developed by firms in other sectors for their own purposes, as well as promoting the spin-off of their own work – As an example, IBM received in 1997, 1 Billion$ in licensing fees; this is equivalent in financial terms to the effect of an increase of 25% of its sales volume


33 Economic Competitiveness (6) Additional issues deserving closer analysis (follow): – The growing importance of extraneous S&T, as opposed to indigenous S&T, for the innovation process. A UK Department of Trade and Industry describes it quite eloquently: “ 95% of World research are performed outside the UK, how to benefit from their results?”

34 Economic Competitiveness (7) – This leads to the consideration of two types of innovation: the indigenous “push” innovation and the extraneous “pull” innovation, leading in turn to different strategy options with differentiated mechanisms: valorization of own R&D results or acquisition of outside knowledge

35 Peace and Stability (1) An evolving geopolitical context – With the end of the cold war, conflicts between major powers have become less probable – There is a general reduction in military expenditure. In the US, the defence budget has decreased from 14% of the GDP in 1954 to 4% of the GDP in 1997 – The concept of performance at any cost is no longer prevailing; the motto is now « better, cheaper and faster »

36 Peace and Stability (2) BUT – There is an increased probability of localised conflicts – “Rogue States” do not participate in the general evolution towards arms reduction – Terrorist groups become more sophisticated in their actions: potential danger of nuclear, chemical, bio- and cyber-terrorism – There is a strong political pressure for the so-called “Zero Casualty” War (zero casualty in the engaged military forces)

37 Peace and Stability (3) An evolving economical situation – S&T were since World War II the key to military power (radar,sonar, computers, missiles, jet engines) – From the 50’s to the mid-80’s, military requirements have been the engine for technological progress and a powerful adjuvant for scientific work even in basic sciences – The development of Weapons of Mass Destruction - nuclear, chemical, biological - and of their delivery systems, has mobilised scientific disciplines and advanced technologies on an unprecedented scale

38 Peace and Stability (4) – The US Strategic Defence Initiative (“Star War”) was the last example of a S&T race driven by specific military objectives – Since then, the pressure of the civilian market for new products and processes- cheap but also reliable, resistant, compact, saving energy - has become the driving force for technological advancement. The following diagramme reflects this evolution


40 Peace and Stability (5) Consequences of these evolutions for S&T The reconversion of a significant fraction of the military-industrial complex, including its S&T components, is unavoidable. The challenge of “transforming swords into ploughshares” is formidable, especially for the ex Soviet Union.

41 Peace and Stability (6) Technological requirements for defence are shifting to new fields, in view of the « almost casualty-free » philosophy: – unmanned military systems – “stealth” systems – cyber warfare technologies – smart weapons with terminal guidance – hypersonic vehicles (propulsion, aerodynamics, materials) – directed-energy weapons, e.g. lasers and high-power microwave weapons

42 Peace and Stability (7) – special weapons for destroying chemical and biological weapons’ sites – intelligence data collection, surveillance and reconnaissance (multispectral sensors, advanced radars, surveillance satellites,...) – advanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) processors

43 Peace and Stability (8) The new military philosophy of “better, cheaper and faster” implies an increased recourse to the civilian market with the consequences that technologies become more and more dual use, which in turn leads to an increased danger of proliferation. The conflicting objectives of proliferation and market expansion create increasingly difficult situations. Southeast Asia is a good geographical example of such situation. Encryption is a typical case of a sensitive technology, having at the same time a important commercial potential

44 Peace and Stability (9) The increased preoccupation of Security, i.e. protecting our increasingly vulnerable Societies against attacks by “Rogue States” or by terrorist groups, creates a new technological demand which might be described as « Counter Proliferation » This demand can be met by drawing from the large pool of technologies developed for civilian markets

45 Peace and Stability (10) The technologies to be developed should contribute to prevent or mitigate attacks on an increasingly vulnerable Society; its growing sophistication leads to such vulnerability For the prevention of attacks: – Development of monitoring, intelligence gathering systems – Ban on certain types of research and technological development – Establishment of « black lists » of sensitive products or processes

46 Peace and Stability (11) For mitigation of attacks: – Hardening techniques for information and communications systems – Detection systems such as bio sensors, accelerated analytical techniques – Decontamination techniques – Bio sheathing – Systems for crisis management, aid to decision making including data acquisition, communication, information processing and display, scenario modelling

47 Peace and Stability (12) Extreme natural events such as floods, tempests, snowstorms, have shown the fragility of the organisation of our Society by creating large disruptions in its functioning. The potential danger of more severe attacks by sophisticated terrorists’ groups reinforces the need for a concerted effort devoted to technologies aimed at the prevention and the mitigation of such events

48 Quality of Life (1) Two main objectives : Health, Environment Health : – Medicine was basically an Art in the past, it has evolved towards a Science relying heavily on technologies, not only biotechnologies – New developments : Computer designed drugs New diagnostic techniques : X-Ray, NMR, Scanner, biotech kits, biochips

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