International Alliances and Technology Transfer: Challenging National Foresight?
Research shows that international R&D alliances are increasing sharply throughout the industrialized nations. Companies have found utility in seeking alliances with other firms to acquire, co-develop, or jointly market technology-based products. In addition, the trend toward foreign investment in R&D has grown considerably over the past decade. These developments have produced a surge of interest among advanced economies in forecasting future technological development--numerous national reports, lists, and strategies to instruct national-level decisionmaking in both the public and private sectors. Given that the results of R&D--both explicitly contained in patents and publications and tacitly carried in the heads of researchers--flow readily around the world, the process of technical foresight should be reexamined. The author suggests shifting the focus of foresight from a technology-centered approach to a social-benefits approach, with emphasis on science and technology investment that will serve specific national social, economic, and welfare needs.
Originally published in: VDI Technology Center, Proceedings-Report, Forward Thinking, Keys to the Future in Education and Research, June 14-15 1999, Hamburg Germany, pp. 129-143.
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