nology, and computer and information technology were targeted by all of the nations surveyed.
Another significant observation is that cooperative mechanisms, fostered by government involvement, are being used increasingly by competitor nations to enhance industrial competitiveness. As demonstrated by the industry surveys in Chapter 2, materials science and engineering is rarely the driving force in industrial advancement, except in materials-producing industries, but it is crucial in areas of changing technologies. The complexity of modern manufacturing has led inevitably to interdependence among industries. This trend is on the upswing, taking the form of joint ventures, licensing and use of outside sources for manufacturing, and cooperation in the long-term R&D of technologies for improved manufacturing capability. Such cooperation is most advanced in Japan, where it is mediated by government funding and is often carried out in government laboratories in collaboration with industry. In the United States, cooperation among industries is accomplished through industry-sponsored research-granting organizations, R&D laboratories sponsored by industrial consortia, and various industry-university centers. Noticeably lacking in the United States, and found to a greater degree in all of the countries studied, is a national agency charged with stimulating and assisting industry and, when appropriate, with ensuring that cooperative activities are coordinated and their impact on industrial development optimized.
Other important conclusions derived from the analysis of international competition and cooperation in materials science and engineering include the following:
The views of industry, universities, and government are sought and received by the governments of foreign countries. In the United States, however, this input is informal. Most other nations set directions for materials science and engineering in a manner intended to target specific industrial markets. In the United States, there is no official materials science and engineering strategy.
Foreign governments universally try to ensure the coupling of R&D with commercial exploitation of research results. The use of government laboratories to achieve this is common to most other nations, with the general lack of such activity in the United States a significant difference.
The availability of adequate numbers of trained materials scientists and engineers is a concern of all nations, but control of the educational system varies greatly among the countries surveyed. The extremes on the spectrum of control are represented by the United States, with its vast decentralized system of higher education, and South Korea, where levels of educational funding are tied directly to the gross national product and technical training areas are emphasized as part of the national economic plan. All of the