So the OECD – which publishes a series of ‘state of…’ reports throughout the year – has today (Tuesday 14th December) published its Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2010.
If you are a member of the public it looks as if you can only download a summary of the report at the moment. Overall messages seem to be:
Science, technology and industry are vital to long-term economic growth and it is essential for ‘countries to ‘maintain productive investments in knowledge.’ The press release is stronger and says ‘must’ maintain investment.
The policy response of OECD countries is showing some signs of divergence with some economies increasing investment and others not. It warns that reducing resources for public research may reduce human resources available for innovation in the long-run.
Overall, growth in R&D spending in the OECD area slowed during 2007 and 2008
In contrast, some non-OECD countries such as China have invested significantly in science and are becoming ‘serious players.’ China’s R&D spend as a % equivalent of OECD spend was 13.1% in 2008, up from around 5% in 2001
There is a ‘greening’ of research strategies in many countries while health and quality of life remain important priorities.
There is a growing emphasis on international collaboration in national strategies and it singles out Germany and the Nordic countries as examples.
The mix of policies by which governments support innovation is complex and will continue to grow in complexity. Policy coherence can be improved through’multi-actor’ forums it says, supported by information systems and advanced analytical tools.
There is also a country profile for the UK that you can read. It says the UK continues to perform strongly (we are third in the ranking of countries by number of articles published (the US and Japan being ahead of us) although R%D spend remans well below the OECD average. The spider diagram in this summary is worth a look. It paints quite a positive picture of where the UK lies as against OECD averages.
But whether we’ll see such a healthy report in one or two years time remains to be seen….