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Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies: International Workshop Proceedings (2008)

Chapter: Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion--Henry Vaux

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Suggested Citation:"Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion--Henry Vaux." National Research Council. 2008. Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies: International Workshop Proceedings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12185.
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Page 75
Suggested Citation:"Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion--Henry Vaux." National Research Council. 2008. Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies: International Workshop Proceedings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12185.
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Page 76
Suggested Citation:"Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion--Henry Vaux." National Research Council. 2008. Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies: International Workshop Proceedings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12185.
×
Page 77
Suggested Citation:"Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion--Henry Vaux." National Research Council. 2008. Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies: International Workshop Proceedings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12185.
×
Page 78

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Management and Utilization of Scientific Knowledge: Summary of Discussion HENRY VAUX University of California, Berkeley A presentation on the role of international scientific cooperation in national economic development suggested that economic development means increasing the application of technology and having a process for doing so. The purposes of economic development are improving health and health care, raising the standard of living, and joining a world commercial community that is driven by tech­nology. If science is not contributing to technology, at least in the long term, it is not significantly helping economic development. Capacity building is critical, and it can occur at different levels. International cooperation can take the form of technical assistance programs or specialists from different countries collaborating together. EXAMPLES FROM INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES Taiwan started its science and technology effort by focusing on agriculture and becoming self-sufficient in food production. Taiwan also focused on educa- tion and used an advisory committee from the United States for advice in the field of education. The committee’s recommendations were particularly important in the development of electronics. In Singapore, foreign direct investment has been very important, although in many countries the history of foreign direct investment is dismal. To attract foreign investment, appropriate policies and people who can manage the invest- ment process are needed. Managers in Singapore made it clear that they did not want only physical facilities. They wanted relationships involving schools and universities and training for middle managers and others as well. As Singapore built its value chain, education improved. 75

76 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE The value chain and education must advance in parallel, as is also happen- ing in India. The Indian Institutes of Technology trained students who came to the United States and other countries and were very successful. Many have now returned to India and are working in major company research and development efforts in software and other aspects of electronics. In Japan, after World War II, universities focused on engineering. Domestic markets were kept closed, and products were imported until they could be manu- factured in Japan. Until the United States worked out a way of cooperating with Japanese companies, progress was slow. Committees were created to determine how products could be manufactured for export to the United States. Trade complications remain, however, because Japan is still interested in protecting its market. Korea forged relationships involving companies, brought engineers back to Korea, and put the engineers on production lines to develop Korean capabilities. The engineers on processing lines soon understood how to tweak the process. In China, science and technology policy played a significant part in opening relations with the West. Henry Kissinger hoped to give China the prospect of something more than just a political relationship. He wanted to embrace scientific cooperation. A number of initiatives were presented to China, and several of them came to pass. There was an early visit to the United States by a Chinese scientific delegation. During the Carter administration, Frank Press (Science Advisor to the President of the United States from 1977 to 1980) developed a science agreement with China. During the next 25 years, more than 50,000 students from China were in the United States almost every year. Most were enrolled in science and tech- nology fields. China is now on an explosive path of scientific and technological development, much like India. International organizations (such as the World Health Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, and the United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization) are also an important element for economic develop- ment. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna was cre- ated in 1972 to enhance peaceful relations with Russia. Now its focus is shifting toward working with developing countries on global problems. There is a great deal of exchange between Americans and Iranians, including scientific cooperation. One participant asked for two or three reasons why development based on science and technology has not occurred in the Middle East outside Israel—for example, in Egypt. Reasons include lack of political stability, weak infra­structure, and inadequate education, all of which hamper the development of the labor force. Iran and Turkey are advancing reasonably well. Of course, Iran has had episodes of instability, such as the revolution in the 1970s and the coup in the 1950s. The Republic of Ireland had a problem with mass out-migration, and the agriculture system was primitive, particularly in the west of Ireland due to inheri-

MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE 77 tance laws. With the advent of the European Union (EU), the Irish government embraced EU concepts, obtained substantial help, and used it intelligently. ­Ireland strengthened education, adopted an open-door investment policy, and for a time was the world’s largest exporter of software. Political will is crucial for this type of development. In Ireland both political parties embraced the need for mod- ernization. Still, policies have not changed the infrastructure, which may not be necessary in the end. Successful international collaboration will often require that intellectual property be shared. The presentations on the role of chemistry and biology in the future develop- ment of Iran underscored the fact that a comprehensive science and technology strategy should address the roles and needs of the major organizations that are involved. The government should be supportive of scientific development. Indus- try should be able to share technology. The science and technology community should make an all-out effort to build innovation capacity. In brief, the priorities of technology should meet basic needs, raise the quality of life, and create wealth. An industrial development policy, a science and technology development policy, and an economic development policy should be integrated to advance techno- logical development. At the same time, it is important to recognize that global and regional trade agreements can conflict with national industrial development policies. The current circumstances in Iran show an increase in scientific activity. The number of published papers increased by more than an order of magnitude between 1986 and 2004. Overall, the journals that publish them have a greater-than-average impact factor. According to the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI), the number of publications correlates well with economic growth in Iran. Many of Iran’s Ph.D. programs can compete with Ph.D. programs abroad for developing faculty m ­ embers. There are 13 professors of chemistry who each published more than 100 papers in ISI journals between 1996 and 2005. There are 17 Iranian universi- ties that each had more than 100 papers published in ISI journals in 2005. Additional evidence of the high level of activity and quality of Iranian scientists can be seen through the activities of the following organizations and activities: • the Iranian Chemical Society, which has a good journal; • the Iranian Biotechnology Committee, which is active in advancing the interests of biotechnology, with a number of ministers included as members by law; • the Iranian Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics; • the Iranian Institute of Polymers and Petrochemicals;   See also Ó Riain (2004).

78 MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE • the Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative; and • the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. REFERENCE Ó Riain, S. 2004. The Politics of High Tech Growth: Developmental Network States in the Global Economy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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In June 2006, seventeen scientists and educators selected by the National Academies, the Academy of Sciences of Iran, and the Académie des Sciences of France held a workshop at the estate of the Fondation des Treilles in Toutour, France, to discuss issues concerning the role of science in the development of modern societies.

Science and Technology and the Future Development of Societies includes the presentations made at the workshop and summarizes the discussions that followed the presentations. Topics of the workshop included science and society issues, the role of science and engineering in development; obstacles and opportunities in the application of science and technology to development; scientific thinking of decision makers; management and utilization of scientific knowledge; and science, society, and education. This book also provides useful background for the further development of interactions of Western scientists and educators with Iranian specialists.

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