投资科学研究，改善人们的生活 ， 让我们生活更加满足
☞The relationship between science and society
deny the central place 否认...的中心地位
support research and development 支持研发
societal concerns 社会问题
innovation-based nations 创新型国家
advanced economies 发达经济体
promote research in public health 促进公共卫生研究
social matters 社会问题
environmental matters 环境问题
natural hazards 自然灾害
address a human pandemic 解决流行病
In parallel there have been enormous changes in the place of science within society – from being marginal to being central to society addressing every challenge that it (and therefore governments) face. And this too impacts on policies regarding public science. The information and communication age has made science and innovation accessible to nearly all, while the issue of climate change in particular is making us all more aware of the need for good science to inform environmental, energy and other decisions. Indeed no one would deny the central place of science in our lives today.
But as we are now unequivocally in the “science age”, the question remains, how should the State support and manage research and development it and society needs? The range of possible answers is not without controversy and many countries have experienced some tension between the expectations of publically funded scientists and the policy sector.
While the pathway to present systems within advanced economies took variable routes reflecting context and culture, all successful innovation-based nations have ended with the non-defence R&D being supported by the public sector to a high degree. Generally the public investment in R&D in advanced economies now ranges between 0.5 and 1.0% of GDP (New Zealand is towards the lower end of this range but is slowly increasing), along with various other more indirect subsidies (eg using the tax system) to promote private sector R&D which can range up from 0.5 to 3% of GDP (in New Zealand it is ~0.6% of GDP).
But importantly there has also been an evolving rationale for why governments support R&D. Beyond economic, and defence and public safety imperatives, there is a growing public expectation that governments will promote research in public health, in environmental matters and that policy development itself, especially in social and environmental matters, will be supported by robust research and data. Governments also need to support research that is broadly defensive by addressing risks and promoting resilience, whether it be to address a potential animal or human pandemic or dealing with natural hazards.
☞The goals of state funding of research in the 21st Century
innovative countries 创新型国家
an advanced society 先进的社会
a public good 对公众有益的东西
balancing conservation and development drivers 在保护（环境）和发展（经济）之间取得平衡
fulfil market demand 满足市场需求
biosecurity measures 确保生物安全的措施
plays a growing role in 扮演着越来越重要的角色
develop international position 提高新...的国际地位
promote science-based innovation 促进科学创新
transfer of know-how and intellectual property 技术和知识产权的传播
well-trained graduates 训练有素的学生
the spill-over benefits 附带的好处
merit such assistance 值得这样的帮助
Given the discussion above, one can parse four major but overlapping reasons why a government must invest in science and a mature national science and innovation system must provide for all of these.
a. Cultural (broadly defined) and reputational. By ‘cultural’, I refer to science’s core cultural value. It serves a basic human drive to know more about the world around us and within us. But at the same time advanced nations must also project themselves as clever and innovative, contributing to the global stock of knowledge; this is increasingly a tool of diplomacy, national identity and vision. Further, it is becoming clear that innovative countries prefer to interact with other innovative countries and that such a profile can overcome other barriers.
b. To meet society’s needs for knowledge so individuals, companies and NGOs can make better decisions – this in general the production of non-appropriable knowledge. There are many needs for scientific knowledge within an advanced society. The most obvious is to support higher education and human capital development. But advanced science is required both to adopt technologies and to inform the many decisions that citizens must make as individuals, through companies and collectively through public policy makers. Examples of these are public health measures, the flow–through effects of medical research to the quality of health carers, and the adoption or regulation of new technologies. The growing understanding of the importance of environmental science is obvious as a public good. The public rightly expects the complexities of the natural environment and human interaction to be understood so that well-informed decisions can be made in balancing conservation and development drivers. Many private sector stakeholders, including farmers and local government also need (and are now calling for) information to ensure reliable production that fulfils market demand eg around sustainability and biosecurity.
c. For the State’s own needs as a major end-user of knowledge in virtually every domain. The State itself is an enormously important and large end-user of science. This is reflected in the growing use of science advice across government departments on the policy process. This is most easily demonstrated in areas such as natural hazards identification, assessment and management, cybersecurity and defence science, application of biosecurity measuresand regulatory (eg food safety, agricultural chemicals) safeguards. Environmental science is critical for multiple levels of decision-making by central and local government. The role of social science in informing effective government investment in the social sector should not be underestimated. All of this requires that continual new knowledge is generated in the local context; this certainly cannot be obtained from elsewhere. Science plays a growing role in trade dispute resolution and negotiations and in diplomacy. The role of science has been of obvious value in developing New Zealand’s international position: the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and our Antarctic programme being two obvious examples.
d. To promote science-based innovation for social, environmental and economic benefit. There are multiple ways that public funds support and advance private sector productivity:
Firstly there is a great deal of pre-competitive knowledge generated from publicly funded science that informs the private sector. An example would be the great deal of agricultural research that is transferred not as products, but as ideas and know-how to modern land-based production systems. Other areas include the production of environmental information (eg extensive time-series databases) that informs many private sector decisions in areas such as fish stock assessments. Similarly, routine geophysical surveys provide important information for private-sector mineral industries etc. Social data are vital for both NGOs and the service industries.
All public science systems have the challenge of needing to support non-appropriable research even where the benefit will often eventually accrue to the private sector and therefore lead to economic growth. Internationally, governments – large and small – accept the centrality of doing this. This is well demonstrated in the ICT sector where many analyses have shown that the ultimate success of Silicon Valley depended on significant prior publically funded scientific and technological advances. In New Zealand similar results can be readily seen in the primary sector where the end-user is effectively a small business (the farmer).
Secondly there is the well-recognised transfer of know-how and intellectual property through technology-transfer mechanisms from public researchers to the private sector. A further subsidy is provided by the State supporting theproduction of well-trained graduates to enter the private sector.
Thirdly is the direct support to private sector research, development and innovation through subsidies, grants, loans, tax credits etc in the accepted belief that both the direct and the spill-over benefits to the national economy and broader society merit such assistance.