OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2002

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Science and technology increasingly contribute to economic growth, industrial competitiveness and the realisation of societal objectives. As countries continue the transition to knowledge-based economies, policy makers seek effective ways to improve the ability to create, absorb, diffuse and apply knowledge productively, by stimulating business investments in research and development, reforming science systems and their links to industry, promoting the development of human resources and stimulating competition and industrial restructuring.

The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2002informs policy making by providing a broad, integrated assessment of these important issues. In addition to reviewing recent trends, the report identifies significant changes in science, technology and industry policies in the OECD countries. Special chapters examine emerging issues related to changing business strategies for R&D, competition and co-operation in the innovation process, reforming national science systems, strategic use of intellectual property rights in public research institutions, industrial globalisation and international mobility of scientists and engineers. Following the granting to China of observer status to the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy, a special chapter is devoted to this country’s challenges in the area of scientific and technological policy. A statistical annex provides up-to-date indicators related to science, technology and industry.

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International Mobility of Science and Technology Personnel

The migration of scientific talent is far from a new phenomenon. Already in ancient times, mathematicians, philosophers and other scholars travelled far and wide to share knowledge, and in modern times, the patterns and drivers of skilled migration have become increasingly diverse and complex. As of the second half of the 20th century, skilled migration has often flowed from the developing world to advanced OECD countries. By the 1990s, as globalisation gained momentum owing to the liberalisation of trade and capital flows in the 1980s, technological change and demand for skilled labour by high-technology and R&D-intensive industries accelerated flows of skilled labour to OECD countries. In a number of countries, immigration policies have become more selective and skills-based, and shortages of certain specialists, particularly information technology (IT) workers, have resulted in relaxed immigration policies for skilled workers. The demand for foreign talent also emanates from universities and public research organisations, especially in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and a few other European countries. Countries increasingly compete for students and researchers from a global talent pool in order to maintain their lead in cutting-edge research and, in some cases, to offset the decline in S&T graduates among nationals.

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