Introduction and Context

Nations and regions are expending ever greater efforts to harness science and technology in pursuit of national goals. At the same time, cross-border linkages between multinational corporations, universities, and other private sector organizations are expanding rapidly, in pursuit of goals that may diverge from those of national governments. Expanding international flows of information and people suggest an emerging global science and technology enterprise. Yet science and technology cooperation at the level of joint programs or agreements between governments has often been difficult to forge.

This global context will increasingly affect U.S. domestic science and technology, requiring new approaches to international cooperation. Currently, U.S. science and technology policy debate is focused on building a post-Cold War rationale for continued strong federal support of research and development (R&D). The traditional foundation of U.S. science and technology strategy, which focused on national security and other clearly defined public missions, is being reexamined and debated. All sectors of the U.S. research enterprise—government, universities, and industry—are being challenged to ensure that research investments are linked to concrete national benefits.

Other nations are facing similar questions in different contexts. Japan, Korea, and other Asian nations have set policies calling for increases in research funding, based on the rationale that a strong research base will be necessary to successfully compete in high-technology industries of the future. At the same time, these policies may face similar challenges from domestic multinational corporations whose transnational research and development goals sometimes diverge from their traditional correspondence with national goals.

Major European countries appear to be retrenching in terms of public R&D funding, while funding prospects have recently improved in the United States due to a brighter budget outlook. Meanwhile, the science and technology programs of the European Union represent a bold attempt at explicitly planned and organized multinational collaboration.

Developing countries are well aware of the role science and technology play in sustaining economic development, but struggle to develop necessary domestic capabilities (human resources and infrastructure) in niches where they can be competitive. More countries are turning away from strategies aimed at achieving economic and technological self-sufficiency, and instead are seeking to strengthen domestic capabilities through links with international partners, most notably multinational corporations.

Given these trends, what can the United States and other nations learn from each other as they seek to improve their capabilities in research and innovation?



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--> Introduction and Context Nations and regions are expending ever greater efforts to harness science and technology in pursuit of national goals. At the same time, cross-border linkages between multinational corporations, universities, and other private sector organizations are expanding rapidly, in pursuit of goals that may diverge from those of national governments. Expanding international flows of information and people suggest an emerging global science and technology enterprise. Yet science and technology cooperation at the level of joint programs or agreements between governments has often been difficult to forge. This global context will increasingly affect U.S. domestic science and technology, requiring new approaches to international cooperation. Currently, U.S. science and technology policy debate is focused on building a post-Cold War rationale for continued strong federal support of research and development (R&D). The traditional foundation of U.S. science and technology strategy, which focused on national security and other clearly defined public missions, is being reexamined and debated. All sectors of the U.S. research enterprise—government, universities, and industry—are being challenged to ensure that research investments are linked to concrete national benefits. Other nations are facing similar questions in different contexts. Japan, Korea, and other Asian nations have set policies calling for increases in research funding, based on the rationale that a strong research base will be necessary to successfully compete in high-technology industries of the future. At the same time, these policies may face similar challenges from domestic multinational corporations whose transnational research and development goals sometimes diverge from their traditional correspondence with national goals. Major European countries appear to be retrenching in terms of public R&D funding, while funding prospects have recently improved in the United States due to a brighter budget outlook. Meanwhile, the science and technology programs of the European Union represent a bold attempt at explicitly planned and organized multinational collaboration. Developing countries are well aware of the role science and technology play in sustaining economic development, but struggle to develop necessary domestic capabilities (human resources and infrastructure) in niches where they can be competitive. More countries are turning away from strategies aimed at achieving economic and technological self-sufficiency, and instead are seeking to strengthen domestic capabilities through links with international partners, most notably multinational corporations. Given these trends, what can the United States and other nations learn from each other as they seek to improve their capabilities in research and innovation?

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--> How can U.S. institutions tap into growing experiences and capabilities around the world? Could new approaches to international collaboration, both at the governmental and private sector levels, contribute to better leveraging the efforts of individual nations to address global problems? What are the ramifications for national science and technology strategies of an increasingly global research and development enterprise? The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) organized an international symposium on National Science and Technology Strategies in a Global Context to explore these issues. The symposium, which was held May 7, 1997 in Washington, D.C., brought together a wide range of U.S. and international expertise (see Appendix A for agenda and roster). GUIRR Chair Richard Celeste presided at the session, just prior to his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to India. This report was prepared as a record of the discussions and background materials. The chapters on National Science and Technology Strategies (Overview), Examples of "Effective Practice" in Research Support and Performance, Implementing and Evaluating Science and Technology Strategies, and Issues and New Approaches to International Cooperation reflect the structure of the symposium. The draft was reviewed by workshop participants and their comments were incorporated. In addition to the symposium, several preparatory issues discussions were held with U.S. government officials, industry, and private sector experts, and officials from a number of foreign embassies. An address by Japan's former Minister of State for Science and Technology, Hidenao Nakagawa, was held August 8, 1996 under the auspices of this activity (see Appendix B for a timeline of related activities). The symposium and related events reflect GUIRR's continued interest in international issues affecting the future of the U.S. research and innovation enterprise.1 1    GUIRR, Future National Research Policies Within the Industrialized Nations (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992); and GUIRR, Formulating U.S. Research Policies Within an International Context: A Discussion Paper, January 1994.