gies, and we should be explicit in generating a constituency in the technology community that will actively support the necessary technical research.
We also learned that partnerships are not easy. The language and culture of the various disciplines do not mix easily. For example, it is clear that biology will increasingly rely on mathematics and computing in the coming years; both disciplines must make efforts to understand each other’s culture and languages.
Dr. Moore said that he “was appalled” to see the dropping percentage of Gross National Product that is going to R&D in the past several years. The trend is not encouraging. The problem cannot be addressed overnight, but those of us who feel strongly about our technical future must address this trend. Government research is extremely important; the private sector is increasingly funding short-term R&D because it can capture the results of such research fairly easily. It is a legitimate function of government to fund the longer-term, fundamental science that is so vital to our economy and society.
The point was raised several times that high-performance computing capability is important for a variety of reasons, and that the government is the sole market for high-performance computing these days. Efforts to extend computing power must recognize that fact and take it into account. In the field of computing, it is unique that the government plays such a key role in terms of demand for sophisticated high-end products.
Intellectual property is another topic that will shape innovation in biotechnology and computing in the coming years. The legal regime that governs intellectual property will greatly affect the rate of progress, and policymakers face significant challenges in this arena. It is a policy field that evolves slowly; rapid change is difficult to implement. But intellectual property policy will have to be addressed to provide a climate in which innovators can capture value, and in which all participants are well served.
The steering committee on Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies is now faced with the task of writing a report that includes findings and recommendations based on the input from this conference. In laying the basis for the report, Dr. Moore thanked each of the speakers and discussants for making available their time and expertise for the conference, as well as everyone in the audience for their attentiveness and contributions. Finally, Dr. Moore thanked the staff of the STEP Board for making this conference as informative and enjoyable as it has been—especially Chuck Wessner, who directs the program on Government-Industry Partnerships, as well as John Horrigan and McAlister Clabaugh.