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OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018

Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption

image of OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018

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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Gender in a changing context for STI

The under-representation of women in certain areas of science, technology and innovation (STI) has long been a concern. As the benefits of diversity in STI – both in terms of research excellence and relevance – become clearer, most countries are implementing policies to try to address gender equity. However, issues such as gender stereotypes and evaluation bias are embedded in research systems, and are resistant to simple interventions. This chapter begins by looking at the key issues affecting gender equity in science at different life stages. It starts with gender stereotypes that influence educational choices and career expectations in early childhood. It follows with a discussion of undergraduate and graduate education, as well as gender issues in research careers and the research system. It then considers the changing context for STI, and how this increases the emphasis on diversity. Finally, it lays out a future vision for a more diverse and productive scientific enterprise. While acknowledging that most countries have included gender diversity as one of the key objectives in their national STI plans, the chapter argues that policy initiatives remain fragmented. A more strategic and systemic long-term policy approach is necessary.

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