• Reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protecting environmental assets will require innovation and the large-scale adoption of green technologies. Without innovation, it will be very difficult and very costly to sustain current growth trajectories while addressing major environmental issues such as climate change. Consequently, OECD governments and emerging economies are giving priority to R&D activities and incentives for the diffusion and adoption of green technologies.

  • The economic cost of natural catastrophes and man-made disasters worldwide amounted to USD 370 billion in 2011, a huge increase over the previous year. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami alone cost the national economy at least USD 210 billion. Science and technology play an increasingly vital role in managing natural disasters. To this end, a growing number of OECD countries have recently established programmes or incentives to develop and deploy information and communication technologies (ICTs), geographic information systems, and remote sensing and satellite data ().

  • A range of dynamic new disciplines and technologies are reshaping the landscape in terms of what science can achieve. Biotechnology, genomics, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and new developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs), physics, engineering, sustainable growth and the search for alternative sources of energy are now part of national research agendas and are seen as instrumental in meeting global challenges as well as societal needs at home. They are also seen as strong contributors to future economic growth in an increasingly technology-driven world.