Paris, 30 Jan 2004
1. The OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy met at Ministerial level on 29 30 January 2004. Mr. Peter McGauran, Minister for Science of Australia, chaired the meeting, with Ms. Claudie Haigneré, Minister for Research and New Technologies of France, and Mr. Jaime Parada Ávila, Director General of the National Commission of Science and Technology (CONACyT) of Mexico, as Vice-Chairs.
2. The meeting was preceded by a High-level Forum on "Key Challenges for Science and Innovation Policy", in which prominent representatives of research institutions and business participated. The Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD also held consultations with Ministers.
3. Ministers highlighted the benefits that society can derive from advances in science and technology. They reaffirmed that knowledge creation and diffusion are increasingly important drivers of innovation, sustainable economic growth and social well-being. They emphasised the importance of ensuring the long term sustainability of the research enterprise and the need to involve civil society and business more effectively in the governance of public research.
4. In their discussions, Ministers devoted much attention to three issues that are high on the science and innovation policy agendas of OECD countries: 1) promotion of stronger relationships between science and innovation systems, including the changing role of intellectual property rights in stimulating knowledge creation and diffusion; 2) ensuring sustained development of human resources in science and technology; and 3) global-scale issues that call for enhanced international co operation in science and technology.
5. Ministers encouraged the OECD to strengthen its work on science, technology and innovation, and underscored its relevance to the broader OECD agenda.
Ministers concluded that:
Changing innovation processes and the evolution of the relative contribution made by the private and public sectors have emphasised the need for strong industry-science linkages. A well-functioning interface between the innovation and science systems is more necessary than ever to reap the economic and social benefits from public and private investments in research, ensure the vitality and quality of the science system, and improve public understanding and acceptance of science and technology and the importance of innovation.
Patent regimes play an increasingly complex role in encouraging innovation, diffusing scientific and technical knowledge, and enhancing market entry and firm creation. As such, they should be subject to closer scrutiny by science, technology and innovation policy makers.
Increasing participation and maintaining quality standards in tertiary education in science and technology are imperative to meet growing demand for workers with scientific and technological knowledge and skills. Complementary efforts are needed to improve mobility and the attractiveness of research careers in the public and private sectors.
Improving the accountability of science and technology policy should usefully be addressed through more systematic evaluation exercises. Additional effort is needed to identify and disseminate good practices in this area.
Co-ordinated efforts at national and international levels are needed to broaden access to data from publicly funded research and contribute to the advancement of scientific research and innovation. To this effect, Ministers adopted a Declaration entrusting the OECD to work towards commonly agreed Principles and Guidelines on Access to Research Data from Public Funding.
Greater international co-operation in science and technology is vital to meet a broad range of global challenges related to economic growth, better health, sustainable development, and enhanced safety and security, as well as for implementing large science projects in a growing range of disciplines. In this regard, Ministers adopted a Declaration aiming at strengthening international S&T co-operation for sustainable development. They endorsed efforts to establish a framework for a Global Biological Resource Centre Network and gave their support to promote scientific co-operation in the fields of high-energy physics and neuroinformatics.
The communique also contains sections on:
- Connecting science to innovation
- Adapting IPR regimes
- Building a highly skilled and mobile scientific workforce for the future
- International co-operation in science and technology
- Access to research data
- Sustainable development
- Global Science Forum
- High-energy physics
- Enhanced safety and security
- Service economy
- Areas for further OECD work
- Science-innovation interface
- Human resources in science and technology
Also Available: Science, technologie et innovation pour le 21ème siècle. Réunion du Comité de la politique scientifique et technologique de l'OCDE au niveau ministériel, 29-30 janvier 2004 - Communiqué final (French)