SSTI Digest

Geography: International

OECD Finds Promise in Emerging National Innovation Economies

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released the 10th edition of its annual Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard. Each year, OECD examines major trends in the global innovation economy and uses 180 indicators to evaluate the high-tech economies of OECD countries, as well as select non-OECD countries. The overarching theme of this year's release is the increased importance of the non-OECD countries, including Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, Indonesia, the People's Republic of China and South Africa, together dubbed the BRIICS countries. In the wake of the most recent global economic crisis, BRIICS countries have become more important, not just in manufacturing, but in high-tech manufacturing. While the U.S.' vaunted higher educational system continues to boast 40 of the world's top 50 research universities, the report provides a more diverse picture emerges once the rankings are broken out by research area.

Canada, the European Union and India Commit to Building the Next Economy

Even through the enduring global economic downturn, nations across the world have targeted technology-based economic development initiatives to build their respective country's science and technology (S&T) sectors. The governments contend that building their respective country's Next Economy is necessary to compete in a globalizing world and increase quality of living for their citizens. Canada, India and the European Union have announced initiatives that could help grow their respective countries S&T sectors.

Incubator Round Up

Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators range from Google's selection of Cape Town, South Africa to launch a pilot incubator supporting technology entrepreneurs that it hopes to replicate globally to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to create a statewide business incubator focusing on workforce training. Select announcements from across the globe are highlighted below.

Around the World in TBED: China's Five-year Economic Plan Focuses Heavily on S&T

In a recent speech in front of China's National People's Congress, China's Premier Wen Jiabao outlined the country's 12th five-year plan (2011-2115). The plan will focus heavily on boosting consumption through sustainable growth fueled by renewable energies and state support of strategic, emerging industries. Expenditures on R&D should reach 2.2 percent of GDP. Much of this R&D investment will be targeted in three sectors — healthcare, energy and technology. Along with increased spending, the plan calls for tax-breaks and other incentives to achieve the lofty goals established by the national party. According to the Telegraph, the proposed key industries include: pharmaceuticals; biotechnology; wind energy; hydropower; nuclear power; power grid technology; information technology; and, educational services. The plan also proposes a rate of 3.3 patents be held per every 10,000 people (approximately 450,000 patents).

Recent Research: New Study Examines the Returns from Cardiovascular and Stroke Research

Basic biomedical research has a greater academic impact and clinical research a greater societal impact over a 15 to 20 years timescale, according to the findings of Project Retrosight — a multinational, four-year study from RAND Europe and the Health Economics Research Group (HERG) at Brunel University. This study was based on data collected from 29 case studies on basic biomedical and clinical cardiovascular and stroke grant-funded, research projects in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In a press release, Steven Wooding, researcher leader at RAND Europe, said: "The study showed that research is important, that it has real tangible benefits for society and that how you fund it matters. If you want to make a difference to patients over a 15-20 year time-scale, clinical research is more effective. If you want to build knowledge for the longer-term, then basic research is better."

U.S. will maintain Top Spot in R&D Spending, but Asian Countries coming on Strong

In the “2011 Global R&D Funding Forecast,” researchers from Battelle and R&D Magazine project consistent and positive global R&D spending in 2011. Global R&D (including public, private and nonprofit spending) is projected to increase by 3.6 percent from $1.15 trillion to almost $1.2 trillion. However, 2011 R&D as a percentage of global GDP will remain constant at 1.9 percent. This increase is attributed to a shift in the geographic distribution of investment. Asian countries continue to rapidly increase their investments in R&D spending (China has over taken Japan as the second largest investor in R&D spending to the U.S.) and the U.S. and Europe should maintain nearly flat levels of spending.

China Continues Exceptional Growth in Patent Volume

Thomson Reuters has updated their 2008 report on the Chinese boom in patenting. In 2006, the 11th Chinese Five-Year Plan for national economic and social development made innovation a priority, with the goal of creating an "innovation-oriented" society by 2020. Over the past few years, China's increase in overseas patent filings has outpaced other leading countries. The report examines the approaches used by the China government to boost patent activity, including increased R&D expenditures, tax deductions for R&D investments and grants to patent registrants. Read the report ...

Medvedev envisions a "Russian Silicon Valley"

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev plans to spur Russia's economic modernization through the Skolkovo innovation center. Currently in the planning stage, the research hub will be at the heart of Russia's modernization strategy. Energy, IT, telecommunications, biotechnology and nuclear technology are the five "presidential" research priorities at Skolkovo. On his current American visit, President Medvedev will attempt to attract talent and private investment from Silicon Valley. Cisco already has committed to a partnership with Skolkovo. Siguler Guff & Company, a U.S.-based private equity firm with over $8.5 billion of assets under management, is investing $250 million in digital infrastructure and IT services for Skolkovo. Tax breaks, increasing foreign direct investment and privatization of some state enterprises are included in President Medvedev's economic modernization strategy.

U.S. Slips Two Spots in Global Technology Report

Sweden replaced Denmark as the world's most networked economy and the U.S. fell two spots to fifth place in the Global Information Technology Report 2009-10 rankings. The report, released last week by the World Economic Forum, finds that the U.S. boasts a very conducive information and communication technologies (ICT) environment because of intensive competition, excellent infrastructure and top-notch education. Aspects of the U.S. performance which show margins for improvement include high tax rates, excessive red tape, and a poor general regulatory framework.



WIPO Expands Searchable Patent Application Database

The United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva recently announced an expansion of its online free searchable patent application database. In addition to containing an existing 1.65 million international patents filed for protection under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) from 30 countries, the database now includes digital information for 1.49 million additional records from the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Vietnam, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and Cuba. The database is available at:

Research Park RoundUp: An Expanding Role in the Next Economy

Historically viewed as an important contributor to job creation in emerging fields and a revenue generator for cities and states, science and technology parks serve an essential role in driving high-tech economies. A recent article in BusinessWeek predicts that as nations emerge from the global recession, science parks are likely to play an even larger role in the process of ensuring that local economies remain competitive. And with increasing international competition, many established parks are undergoing transformations, adding square footage and distinct features in order to stand out among the crowd.