Investing in Science, Technology and Innovation
Investment in science, technology and innovation (STI) is essential for economic development and social progress. Research and development (R&D) can foster sustainable development by building greener, more inclusive societies. To be effective, however, infrastructure development, technology transfer and both public and private R&D need to be nurtured and regulated via effective policies.
UNESCO provides countries with guidance in developing or revising their national STI policies, with an emphasis on Africa. Via the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the Organization also accompanies developing countries desirous to measure their level of investment in STI in terms of both human and financial resources. Every five years, the UNESCO Science Report monitors the status of the support system for STI around the world and analyses emerging trends.
UNESCO’s Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO→SPIN) is publishing a series of country profiles as a precursor to the establishment of an international, open access database that will enable countries to monitor and evaluate their innovation ‘ecosystems’ and compare best practices.
In order to ensure that scientific progress is nurtured and taken into account at all levels of governmental decision-making, UNESCO promotes the development of science governance structures and mechanisms. These mechanisms include scientific advisors, offices of science and technology policy and parliamentary scientific committees. Every two years, UNESCO and its partners organize the World Science Forum, a biennial rendez-vous which aspires to become to science what the annual World Economic Forum in Davos is to economics.
Since innovation is central to translating scientific knowledge and technological know-how into useful products, services and employment, UNESCO is fostering closer linkages between universities and industry within its longstanding University−Industry Partnerships programme. UNESCO has recently created a network of centres of excellence in the Arab region which are being encouraged to set up innovation centres in converging technologies; it is also encouraging countries to develop innovation hubs in the form of science and technology parks.