Leadbeater geeft analyse van R&D in Azië
Plagiarism inhibits the collaborative research that is vital to emerging science. India’s future will be subtly subversive. By mastering outsourced innovation it will change big companies from within. South Korea will be a technically adept fast follower: snapping at the leaders’ heels. China could be a different case. If the cosmopolitan elite – multinationals, top universities and returnees – connects with the vast domestic economy then low-cost Chinese innovations could disrupt global industries, for example in energy and communications. China is not content to serve or follow: it intends to challenge the international innovation order. ”
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Each country will develop differently. In South Korea strong government support
has created a world-class information infrastructure. Korea’s largest firms, led by
Samsung, are investing heavily in R&D with global ambitions. The highly connected
and educated population is open to new technologies. Innovation is central to the
country’s struggle for survival. Yet few Korean universities are world class. Basic
research is weak. State pressure on scientists to deliver can compromise research
quality. Korea is not attractive for high-tech foreign investors. Large companies stifle
new entrants in a business culture that lacks transparency.
China is mobilising massive resources for innovation through ambitious long-term
plans, funded by rapid economic growth. Beijing’s university district produces as
many engineers as all of western Europe. China is developing world-class universities
and attracting multinational innovation centres. The government is cultivating its
high-technology champions. The flow of returnees has only just begun. China is
strong on innovation hardware, but weaker on the software. Quantity does not mean
quality: only a small proportion of graduates are educated to international standards.
China has fewer international patents than Denmark. Plagiarism inhibits the
collaborative research that is vital to emerging science. Technological innovation
can thrive without democracy but it may become biased towards prestigious
Compared with China, democracy is one of India’s strengths, ensuring the freedom
to think, debate and innovate. But India’s greatest asset is its young, growing and
increasingly well-educated population. Software and pharmaceuticals provide hightech
role models. India’s elite, trained at the Indian Institutes of Technology, are
second to none. New institutions like the National Science and Engineering Foundation
could energise a disjointed innovation system. Yet India’s innovation elite may face
a rural backlash. Its infrastructure is in poor repair and cities like Bengalooru are
congested. Even the much-vaunted IITs do not, unlike their US counterparts, animate
innovation clusters. India excels at servicing and copying technology developed
elsewhere, rather than creating it.
India’s future will be subtly subversive. By mastering outsourced innovation it will
change big companies from within. South Korea will be a technically adept fast
follower: snapping at the leaders’ heels. China could be a different case. If the
cosmopolitan elite – multinationals, top universities and returnees – connects with
the vast domestic economy then low-cost Chinese innovations could disrupt global
industries, for example in energy and communications. China is not content to
serve or follow: it intends to challenge the international innovation order.
Britain will compete with the scale of low-cost Asian innovation only by using its
resources more creatively. That means choosing which areas to specialise in,
funding emerging, cross-disciplinary sciences and linking them more intimately
to business applications. The City of London should be Britain’s model for science:
cosmopolitan, skilled and efficient; open to new entrants, products and
technologies; supported by independent, trusted but innovation-friendly regulators.
Britain must evangelise for cosmopolitan innovation and make itself central
to global innovation networks. Our recommendations include:
— creating a £100 million global R&D collaboration fund to take British capacity
for international collaboration to a new level
— launching a Darwin Scholarships programme to bring 200 Asian scientists
a year to the UK
— funding global innovation challenges and public knowledge banks, modelled
on the Human Genome project, to provide an open and shared base for
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