Monday, November 5, 2012

The OECD Report on Governance of International Co-operation in Science, Technology and Innovation is Available

By Per Koch, Innovation Norway

The world community is facing many urgent challenges that require our attention, like climate change, global health, food security and more.

Science, technology and innovation will play an important role in meeting these challenges, not only in the sense of providing technology that can be used to alleviate some of the problems, but also because STI may help us understand the underlying social, cultural, technological and environmental processes causing the problems.

OECD's Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy established a special Steering Group on International Co-operation on Science, Technology and Innovation for Global Challenges (STIG) to explore the governance frameworks of international STI collaboration in this field. I had the honor and pleasure of chairing this group.

Note that the point of this exercise was not to provide analysis of the concrete challenges, but to study and give recommendation on how international collaboration of this sort may be carried out. In other words: The main focus was on the governance of STI collaboration.

In June this year we presented the final report, called Meeting Global Challenges through Better Governance. A summary of the report can be found over at the OECD web site. 

Ester Basri of the OECD Secretariat prepared the summary in collaboration with researchers involved in STIG and the Steering Group. I am taking the liberty of quoting the key policy messages here:

1. For international science, technology and industry (STI) co-operation addressing global challenges to have an impact, there should be:
• clear benefits from co-operation that exceed the benefits of acting alone; and 
• a high-level of commitment by governments and key stakeholders. 

2. The governance structure should be tailored to the specific needs of the collaboration, be actively and responsibly adaptable, and be evaluated regularly to support institutional learning. In 
• closer linkages should be established and maintained between local, regional, national and 
international policy levels to help to avoid duplication and create transparency among 
stakeholders; and 
• the distribution of benefits, knowledge sharing and  intellectual property (IP) provisions 
should be adapted to each phase of the collaboration life cycle.

3. A priority should be outreach from the research community to other stakeholders at each phase of the project, targeting a wide variety of actors, including voters, decision makers and the private 
sector. International co-operation should be used to: 
• stimulate and encourage national policy makers and implementing agencies to fund international STI efforts; and
• include research contributions from a wide array of countries at all levels of STI capacities, as 
an integrated capacity building effort that is part of addressing global challenges. 

4. There is no universal solution for the effective governance of international co-operation in STI. A variety of efficiently organised governance modes are needed, often operating in parallel or combination due to interlinkages between the governance elements, but: 
• there is a scarcity of conceptual and empirical research on the governance of international cooperation in STI and a lack of indicators to inform discussion; and
• while the results reported in this document offer valuable insights, further research is 
needed, including work on new indicators to evaluate global science and inform policy, and 
instruments to strengthen the governance framework of international STI collaborations. 
Ester Basri of the OECD secretariat can be contacted at

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