OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018

Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption

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The OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018 is the twelfth edition in a series that biennially reviews key trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy in OECD countries and a number of major partner economies. The 14 chapters within this edition look at a range of topics, notably the opportunities and challenges related to enhanced data access, the impacts of artificial intelligence on science and manufacturing, and the influence of digitalisation on research and innovation. The report also discusses the shortcomings of current policy measures, how the Sustainable Development Goals are re-shaping STI policy agendas, and the need for new - more flexible and agile - approaches to technology governance and policy design. While these disruptive changes challenge policy makers in a number of ways, the digital revolution underway also provides solutions for better policy targeting, implementation and monitoring.

This report relies on the latest academic work in the field, research and innovation statistical data, as well as data on wider trends and issues. It makes extensive use of country responses to the 2017 EC OECD STI policy survey (https://stip.oecd.org) and features contributions by renowned experts and academics to broaden the debate and provide more personal, sometimes controversial, angles to it.

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Executive summary

Science, technology and innovation (STI) activities face several disruptive drivers of change. These include the ongoing slowdown in productivity growth, despite widespread technological change; rapidly ageing populations; the impacts of climate change, and the resulting need for mitigation and adaptation; and globalisation and the growing role of emerging economies. These drivers create opportunities and challenges for STI. They shape societal and policy expectations regarding the purposes of STI, and they affect the ways STI activities are carried out. Many of these drivers give rise to “grand societal challenges”, for example, around healthy ageing, clean energy and food security. Challenges like these are also encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which feature increasingly prominently in STI policy agendas.


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