In 2005, the leading UK think tank, Demos began an 18-month study of science and innovation in China, India and South Korea to understand how the emergence of ideas & innovation in unexpected places is altering the global landscape of science and technology.
As they say on their website,
“We used to know where new scientific ideas would come from: the top universities and research laboratories of large companies based in Europe and the US. While production was dispersed among global networks of suppliers, it was assumed that more knowledge-intensive tasks would stay at home.
All that is changing fast…
Since 1999, China’s spending on R&D has increased by more than 20 per cent each year. India now produces 260,000 engineers a year and its number of engineering colleges is due to double to 1,000 by 2010…
…These shifts in global knowledge production are likely to be every bit as significant as the shifts in manufacturing that occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s. The big question is how we should respond. Some view Asia’s growing scientific strengths with alarm, fearing it will mean the loss of highly-skilled jobs in Europe and the US. But innovation is not a zero-sum game: more in Asia does not mean less in Europe or the US.”
The “Atlas of Ideas” was conceived as a project to delve deeper into these issues and understand the implications for Europe and US.
The final report will be launched at a conference on 17th/ 18th January in London where these issues will be debated and discussed in more depth by a wide range of experts. I am really looking forward to the proceedings and the final reports.