Executive Summary

This report covers discussions at a symposium on the International Context for National Science and Technology Strategies. The meeting was held May 7, 1997 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and was organized by the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR). The symposium featured presentations by experts representing academic, industry, and government viewpoints, from countries including China, Finland, France, Korea, Mexico, Poland, and the United States. The purpose of the activity was to explore how various countries and regions are developing science and technology strategies in the unfolding context of global economic integration and privatization, as well as mobility of people and information. The implications for future international cooperation were considered in this modern framework. This executive summary covers the key issues explored in the presentations and discussions.

A number of countries and regions represented at the symposium reported that their science and technology strategies are moving in similar directions. Prominent themes raised by several participants included:

__ a heightened focus on harnessing science and technology for improved economic performance;

__ recognition that the private sector plays the leading role in supporting and performing research and development, but that an effective national strategy requires cooperation and synergy among industry, government, and academy;

__ a growing imperative to seek national benefits from global market trends, particularly the activities of multinational corporations;

__ an increasing need on the part of research organizations and national science and technology establishments to evaluate research investments in concrete terms, and to improve communications about these evaluations with "customers," including political leaders and the broader public.

A number of participants representing research organizations and policy making bodies reported that they are developing new approaches to boost performance, such as:

__ the systematic use of evaluation as a tool in the strategic planning of research;

__ new incentives to improve the flow of information and human resources among the government, industry, and university sectors;

__ revamping organizations and funding mechanisms to encourage high-quality research.



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--> Executive Summary This report covers discussions at a symposium on the International Context for National Science and Technology Strategies. The meeting was held May 7, 1997 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and was organized by the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR). The symposium featured presentations by experts representing academic, industry, and government viewpoints, from countries including China, Finland, France, Korea, Mexico, Poland, and the United States. The purpose of the activity was to explore how various countries and regions are developing science and technology strategies in the unfolding context of global economic integration and privatization, as well as mobility of people and information. The implications for future international cooperation were considered in this modern framework. This executive summary covers the key issues explored in the presentations and discussions. A number of countries and regions represented at the symposium reported that their science and technology strategies are moving in similar directions. Prominent themes raised by several participants included: __ a heightened focus on harnessing science and technology for improved economic performance; __ recognition that the private sector plays the leading role in supporting and performing research and development, but that an effective national strategy requires cooperation and synergy among industry, government, and academy; __ a growing imperative to seek national benefits from global market trends, particularly the activities of multinational corporations; __ an increasing need on the part of research organizations and national science and technology establishments to evaluate research investments in concrete terms, and to improve communications about these evaluations with "customers," including political leaders and the broader public. A number of participants representing research organizations and policy making bodies reported that they are developing new approaches to boost performance, such as: __ the systematic use of evaluation as a tool in the strategic planning of research; __ new incentives to improve the flow of information and human resources among the government, industry, and university sectors; __ revamping organizations and funding mechanisms to encourage high-quality research.

OCR for page 1
--> Several of the presentations and much of the open discussion focused on the new challenges facing nations and research organizations in this changing environment. These challenges were mentioned by several participants: __ reconciling the imperative for increased collaboration with the differing time horizons and goals of partner organizations; __ defining a government role that advances the interests of domestic constituencies while recognizing the global nature of markets and technology development. Several presentations highlighted the trend of growing international collaboration in science and technology at the private sector level. Other participants asserted that additional work will be needed to learn from positive examples and fulfill the potential for global cooperation in advancing fundamental knowledge. Individual participants suggested a range of possible next steps, including: __ developing a common view of fundamental research as a global good, and organizing mechanisms to ensure adequate support; __ building institutions at the national and international levels that can effectively develop and implement new collaborative initiatives; __ establishing mechanisms for sharing experience and perspective internationally on issues of common concern, such as appropriate evaluation techniques and ways to improve communication between scientists, engineers, and political leaders.