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Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Knowledge Economy.

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Knowledge Economy; Pedro Conceicao, David V. Gibson, Manual V. Heitor, and Syed Shariq (Eds.); Quorum Books, Westport, CT; 2000; 578pp., $79.50.

In 1996, The Instituto Superior Technico, Lisbon, Portugal and [IC.sup.2] Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, working with [IC.sup.2]'s Global Research Fellows and partners, initiated a series of international conferences on technology policy and innovation. Key objectives were: (1) the exploration and analysis of unstructured problems using multidisciplinary perspectives for theory-building and application research; (2) Fostering world-class research and practice while helping to close knowledge gaps; (3) Bringing together leading representatives from academia, business and government worldwide to present and discuss current and future issues of critical importance; (4) Providing state-of-the-art and useful knowledge to decision makers in both the private and public sectors--including informed and effective education, business and government policies and strategies for the global knowledge economy.

This volume presents papers presented at the 1st International Conference on Technology, Policy and Innovation that was held in Macau, July 2-4, 1997 (Research * Technology Management, Nov.-Dec. 1997, pp. 2-4). The Conference theme was 21st Century Opportunities and Challenges for Asian Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy. The goal was to present global perspectives and practice on the formation and impact of national and regional science and technology-based systems leading to economic and social development. A total of 179 participants, from 27 countries, contributed 126 papers and 24 invited lectures. Scientists, engineers, managers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers shared knowledge and experiences on the role of science and technology in fostering sustainable economic development and social well-being.

Part I of this volume contains five chapters dealing with the relationship of knowledge and economic development. Chapter 3 discusses the importance of sharing knowledge across firms and other institutional actors, while Chapter 4 discusses the difficulties of building "knowledge communities" within transnational corporations. The successful integration of knowledge across different sites around the world depends crucially on the management of the integration process.

Chapter 5 argues for the need to actively construct a new disciplinary framework for knowledge management. This disciplinary framework should go beyond being a compass for research and scholarship, and must be used to benefit worldwide development. Therefore, the programmatic agenda within this new discipline should be set by engaging the academic, business and government communities, and research objectives should be to seek immediate applications.

Parts III, IV and V deal with empirical and conceptual studies of national and global pictures on science and technology policies, with Part IV focusing on newly industrialized regions, and Part V focusing exclusively on China. Quantitative as well as descriptive studies illustrate the diversity of empirical work presented at the Macau conference.

Chapter 12 examines industrial and S&T policies in the United States. Motivated by the rhetoric on competitiveness, the author shows the divergence between the political discourse and policy practice since the early 1990s. In fact, until the 1990s the discourse was emphatically against policy interventions in the industrial realm. However, policy practice contradicted this discourse, namely through heavy federal financial support for defense-oriented R&D. In the early 1990s, with the military threat vanished, the discourse bent toward interventionism--in order to assure the competitiveness of the United States in world markets.

Part IV emphasizes studies on newly industrialized countries in Asia. Chapters 22 and 23 provide in-depth analyses of different aspects of the development of Korea. Chapter 24 focuses on the impact of a popular policy instrument, the science-based industrial park, on the development of Taiwan. The concluding chapter of Part IV describes different innovation policies in East Asia.

Part V includes six chapters which discuss different aspects of the technology and innovation development of China. It concludes with a vision for the development of China as a regionally integrated economy, where networks of production and technological capabilities play key roles.

Part VI concerns the global challenges that are manifest across geography and levels of development. The perspective is that concern with the global environment goes far beyond the concerns with air quality or acid rain, and should be included in the broader perspective of achieving sustainable economic development. Thus, Chapter 32 clarifies the concepts associated with sustainable development, and proposes scenarios and strategies for research. Chapter 33 goes into more specific recommendations, describing different experiences with the usage of clean production methods, while Chapter 34 proposes a framework to integrate business strategies with environmental policy concerns. The ultimate goal is to provide a framework in which firms are able to translate the challenges of environment protection into further business opportunities and competitive advantages. A specific instrument for achieving this is described in Chapter 35, where the author elaborates on the potential of life-cycle assessment tools.

"The larger picture," the editors write, "is that we must not only think in terms of sustainable development--that is, development that is continuous--but we must also consider present problems associated with the exclusion of countries, neighborhoods, and people. True sustainability requires full inclusion when approaching current and future challenges, and may require the strengthening of new research areas and the development of a new research agenda to deal with such inclusive development. Policies that might appear sustainable within a national or regional context might increasingly appear less so in an international context."
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Research-Technology Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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