The race against time for smarter development
The seventh edition in the series explores how countries are using science to realize a digitally and ecologically smart future.
Countries of all income levels are prioritizing their transition to digital and green economies. On the one hand, countries have committed to reaching their ambitious Sustainable Development Goals by the 2030 deadline. In parallel, most countries are convinced that their future economic competitiveness will depend upon how quickly they manage to transition to digital societies. The UNESCO Science Report’s subtitle, ‘the race against time for smarter development’, is an allusion to these dual development priorities. Read more
More than 30 countries raised their research spending between 2014 and 2018. Despite this, many countries remain dependent on foreign technologies and expertise. Since the private sector will need to drive much of their dual digital and green transition, countries are striving to make it easier for the private sector to innovate. Some governments are also trying to attract or retain researchers through pay rises, greater international exposure and other measures. Both the global researcher population and the rate of international scientific collaboration have surged since 2014.
Women remain a minority in digital information technology, computing, physics, mathematics and engineering. These are the fields that are driving the digital revolution and so, many of the jobs of tomorrow. This trend is even more problematic as there is a skills shortage in many of these fields, such as in artificial intelligence. To right this gender imbalance, strenuous efforts need to be made at government, academic and corporate levels not only to attract girls and women to these fields but, above all, to retain them. Read more
UNESCO has produced a series of animated data visualizations to show how spending on research, the research workforce and scientific output on selected cross-cutting technologies, among other things, have changed over time by country and region.
We are in a race against time for smarter development. Are we using science to build the future we want?
This is the question asked by the latest UNESCO Science Report, released on 11 June 2021.