Skip all navigation and go to page content



Science and technology are no longer the province of developed nations; they have, in a sense, become "democratized." Governments of many countries have firmly built S&T aspects into their development policies as they vie to make their economies more knowledge- and technology-intensive and, thereby, ensure their competitiveness in a globalizing world. These policies include long-term investments in higher education to develop human talent, infrastructure development, support for research and development, attraction of foreign direct investment and technologically advanced multinational firms, and the eventual development of indigenous high-technology capabilities.

The resulting developments open the way for widespread international collaboration.[20] The broad trend in this direction is clearly reflected in the rapid growth of international coauthorships of research articles in the world's leading journals.

The developments also carry with them competitive elements. The quest for international talent, once largely limited to major Western nations, is now pursued by many, and "brain drain" has evolved into cross-national flows of highly trained specialists. In S&T, nations are eager to establish specialty niches and develop indigenous world-class capacity.

The globalization of the world economy has brought unprecedented levels of growth to many countries, demonstrating that benefits can accrue to all. But the structural changes that are part and parcel of rapid growth bring with them painful dislocations, amplified by the uncertainties and potential changes fostered by the world-wide recession. How these are resolved will inevitably affect the health and development of nations' S&T systems and their place in the world.


[20] See National Science Board, International Science and Engineering Partnerships: A Priority for U.S. Foreign Policy and Our Nation's Innovation Enterprise, NSB-08-4 (Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2008).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2010   Arlington, VA (NSB 10-01) | January 2010