performance reveals several important developments.2 One long-term trend is a decline in the U.S. share of world R&D spending to an estimated 32.3 percent in 1994, down from about half the world total in the early 1970s. This decline in U.S. dominance corresponds with the growth of science and technology capability outside of the United States. A second long-term global trend that has important implications for science and technology is the movement toward more open, market-oriented economic policies.

One hypothesis that was tested and discussed at the conference is the significant movement toward convergence in national science and technology strategies. The elements of this emerging modal strategy might include reliance on the private sector for 60–75 percent of total R&D spending, a public spending focus on science and technology infrastructure needed for improved productivity and economic growth, and emphasis on building more effective collaboration between the government, university, and industry sectors.

Countries are approaching this model from different directions.3 For countries such as the United States and France, where the national government has traditionally provided about half or more of R&D funding, this has involved constraints on overall government spending and a relative decline in national security-related spending. For Korea and a number of the emerging Asian economics, where R&D has been highly private-sector driven, this has involved increased public sector funding and focus on improving key elements of the infrastructure, such as graduate science and engineering education. Improved inter-sectoral linkages and learning from foreign approaches are being pursued by many countries. A final global trend is the growing international flow of R&D resources. Education and training of foreign science and engineering students in the United States is a long-standing trend. In addition, multinational corporations are playing an expanding role in the globalization of science and technology through overseas R&D labs and related activities.

Mauricio Fortes-Besprosvani, Mexican Academy of Sciences

Mexico can be characterized as an industrializing country whose companies are not generally technology-based. We have experienced adjustment pains in moving toward a more open market system. Recent milestones include implementation

2  

 See Department of Commerce, Office of Technology Policy, International Plans, Policies & Investments in Science and Technology, April 1997; Glenn J. McLoughlin, International Science and Technology: Issues for U.S. Policymakers, Congressional Research Service, September 1994; National Science Foundation, Asia's New High-Tech Competitors (Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation, 1995); and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, World Science Report 1996 (Paris: UNESCO, 1996).

3  

 For a ''classic" typology of various national approaches to technology policy, see Henry Ergas, "Does Technology Policy Matter?" in Bruce R. Guile and Harvey Brooks, eds., Technology and Global Industry: Companies and Nations in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1987).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement