Technology in Society

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0160-791X
The author examines the evolving university-industry relationships in the biotechnology area, addressing the conceptual basis for such arrangements and the resultant contract issues. He examines the need for development of policies in academia that will accommodate the needs of both government and industry without harming the integrity or institutional objectives of the university. The author then recommends a number of directives for written rules to help achieve these objectives, especially ones relating to patenting and licensing of inventions developed under industrial support.
With respect to new reproductive technologies, in the United State the private sector is given a comparatively free rein, whereas with regard to the application of biogenetic technology, what appears to be a laissez-faire situation in the United States is in actuality a set of decentralized policies. These policies, expressed primarily through judicial decisions, have set precedents that, because of the lack of a federal policy, constitute contradictory and ad hoc rulings which for the most part are detrimental to indigent populations. The absence of a comprehensive national public health program in the United States similar to the French one necessarily works against those who cannot afford private medical care, and with the continued development of medically-assisted procreation and the application of biogenetic research, this reality will be intensified.
The author reviews the six-year process during which the National Institutes of Health mobilized its resources to develop the NIH Recombinant DNA Research Guidelines and aid in the development of related Federal policies. He also outlines recombinant DNA research activities and current federal policies and programs that might spur the goals of the biotechnology industry. The author then discusses how collaboration among government, university, and industry might work in the light of recombinant DNA research initiatives in federal, state and local governments—as well as some international ones. He concludes with a model for enhancement of cooperative biotechnology programs among government, universities, particularly for university-industry relationships in the biotechnology area.
The author documents the historical purposes of the patent system and current relationships between biotechnology and that system, discussing unsettled areas of patent law. The author describes special problems in detecting infringement of patents, special requirements (such as depositing the relevant microorganisms in specified organizations), and unique problems of determining compensation for the inventors of genetically engineered processes and products. He discusses some proposed solutions, citing inter alia Stanford University's licensing agreements with biotechnology companies.
Biotechnology Cultures: An Historical View
This paper discusses the ways in which public discourse about biotechnology has affected policy making. It is the author's contention that attitudes to new technologies are transformed into policy through a “mediating filter” of confrontations, institutional innovations and conceptual debates. We also contend that these filters are different for different countries, that they are manifestations of particular national political and organizational cultures. The cultural dimension of technology is a function both of the implications of the developmental trajectory of a particular technology, as well as the particular context in which the technology develops. In this paper we attempt to delineate the general contours of the historical development of the “new biotechnology.” Specifically, we identify and characterize the major phases in the biotechnology debates that have taken place in the United States and Denmark. The biotechnology field in general, as well as the various individual technologies that have been developed within the field, have been going through different stages of the innovation “chain” or product cycle. The authors attempt to show how such stages of “internal” technological development exert a crucial influence on the focus and scope of the national discourses.
The author describes how biotechnology relates to traditional corporate law and regulation, using as a basis public perceptions that this technology involves special hazards and has revolutionary implications. He notes not only the public feelings of environmental hazards, but also the moral and ethical issues. After examining the present regulatory framework, the author describes how public policy has developed in this perceived revolutionary area, as compared with the experience of nuclear power, and concludes by noting the substantial future impacts biotechnology might pose for the law.
The author provides a perspective on three key areas of biotechnology: the public debate over hazards, the commercialization of the technology, and ethical issues that are arising in terms of application of genetic therapy to humans. He reviews the history of the recombinant DNA research debate beginning at Asilomar in 1975, when the molecular biologists called for a temporary moratorium on certain experiments, so the NIH might develop guidelines to govern this research. The author then characterizes the lobbying activities of the biologists against proposed regulation at the federal, state and local level. Despite the lobbying, he concludes that Congress did not enact legislation because of the exemplary behavior of the biologists, beginning with their meeting at Asilomar. The author next describes the impact commercialization of this technology will have on academic biologists who traditionally have not been involved in that process (as have chemists and physicists). He also comments on the ethics of biotechnology, concluding that the more powerful biology becomes, the more its uses and some control of those uses will be debated.
The author reviews the origins of the public policy debate concerning recombinant DNA technology and Congressional consideration of legislation to regulate recombinant DNA research. He notes especially his successful attempts to urge delay in passing legislation until there was complete evaluation of data — studies that ultimately resulted in noting that potential hazards were not as great as originally conceived. The author comments that strict regulation of recombinant DNA research, as proposed by some legislators, would have inhibited many of the great benefits that society is now receiving from this research. The author then raises a number of questions concerning government regulation and funding priorities on scientific and technological innovation, as well as government practices regarding basic and applied research in industrial and academic laboratories. A major concern of his is the government's ability to assess and manage risk. The author reviews one legislative proposal, which would have established risk analysis demonstration projects, and outlines a number of legislative initiatives that could impact the biotechnology industry and university-based research. He concludes by discussing opportunities for industrial applications of this technology and possible roles for Congress.
The author offers his comments on judicial review of governmental regulation of public health and safety and discusses the role of the common law in providing remedies in the absence of government regulation. Given the nature of biotechnology, the author outlines the underlying issues of competing values that must be addressed (as with any sophisticated technology), and the nature of judicial oversight on government regulations that affect biotechnology. The author, using as a basis the extensive cases before his court from the areas of behavioral science and health regulation, offers a role for biotechnology's scientists based on the roles of experts from these other areas. The author concludes with comments on the public policy process, since the appropriate actions of each of the components — government agencies, the courts and the public — will affect biotechnology.
Although universities and industries have collaborated in various ways in the past, it has been suggested that the relationships between these two kinds of institutions should be expanded and intensified. Achieving these ends requires the development of bases for collaboration that recognize the different principles, perspectives, and traditions that each brings to bear in pursuit of research. A number of critical issues are discussed — issues on which the two institutions appear to hold divergent views and, based on these findings, specific actions are proposed to enhance research collaborations between universities and companies.
Feminist today are so divided about reproductive technologies and their implications that a unified and coherent perspective is unlikely to develop soon. The present analysis is a step toward evaluating the various views and positions and sorting out some of the problems and issues associated with the technologies in question. First, it provides a general framework for discussions of reproductive technologies. Secondly, it attempts to characterize the “politics of motherhood,” and focuses for this purpose on two particular examples: (a) prenatal diagnostic tests and procedures and (b) surrogacy or surrogate motherhood. Finally, it argues that “women must define what is best for women” concerning reproductive technologies, and articulate thus the form and direction of the “politics of motherhood.” However, as both men and women debate the pros and cons, they should not overlook or neglect the basic problems of understanding and preventing infertility, providing prenatal care to all women, and seriously exploring and encouraging adoption as a viable alternative.
This paper challenges the widely held view that research activities are impaired by the imposition of any form of governmental regulation. Research on topics which raise ethical concerns requires guidelines or rules along with an administrative apparatus in order for significant levels of research activity to be undertaken. This regulatory framework can emerge only after the ethical issues are addressed. Thus, there is a direct connection between the resolution of ethical issues and the production of new scientific information. Two research areas which have strong ethical overtones are compared. In the case of recombinant DNA technology, consideration of ethical issues has led to the establishment guidelines and a regulatory apparatus and has made possible the vigorous development of this field. In the reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, the failure to confront the ethical dilemmas in the US has prevented guidelines from being established and has severely handicapped the development of research programs. Other countries, such as the UK, by taking account of the ethical issues have been able to create policies thatpermit research to proceed.
The common view is that major transitions come about through breakthroughs of technological discontinuities. This article proposes gradual and stepwise reconfiguration as an alternative transition pathway. In it, new elements are adopted in the existing socio-technical regime to help solve particular problems. But as more is learned and circumstances change, these elements may trigger further changes in technology, user practice, infrastructure, and policies, eventually altering the basic architecture of the regime. These notions are integrated in a multi-level perspective on transitions and system changes. The resulting reconfiguration perspective is illustrated with a historical case study of the transition from traditional factories to mass production in America (1850–1930). The analysis shows that mass production was the last step in a much longer reconfiguration process involving cumulative changes in machine tools, building materials, materials handling technologies, power generation, and power-distribution technologies. The reconfiguration perspective has wider relevance for other systems that function through the interplay of multiple technologies, e.g., agriculture, retailing, and hospitals.
This article deals with the systems level in Freeman and Perez's innovation typology (incremental, radical, system, techno-economic paradigm). Transitions at this level are understood as changes from one socio-technical system to another, involving co-evolution of technology and society. To understand these transitions, the article describes a multi-level perspective, based on insights from sociology of technology and evolutionary economics. This perspective is used to analyse a detailed historical case study, the transition from surface water to piped water and personal hygiene (1870–1930). By the middle of the 19th century, problems in the water supply regime grew worse, as expanding urban populations dumped their waste in canals and surface waters. Local conditions in some specific cities provided space for the first piped water systems in the 1850s. Problems in the water supply regime grew worse in the 1860s and 1870s, but public authorities in other cities did not embrace the new niche. Instead, they searched for solutions within the existing regime. Only after wider landscape developments in the 1880s and 1890s (economic, cultural, political) could the niche break through and trigger wider transformations. So external macro-developments played a crucial role in the take-off and diffusion phase of this transition. This transition is a good example of co-evolution of technology and society, involving technological innovations, such as piped water infrastructure, soap, toilets, baths, as well as cultural, political, economic and behavioural changes. The case study illustrates how the multi-level perspective can be used to analyse how these changes influenced each other in a co-evolution process. The article thus fits in the growing literature on co-evolution. While most literatures look at co-evolution between two or three aspects, this article develops a broader understanding of co-evolution.
By contrast with Eastern Canada, it took a long time for mechanized systems to transform woods work in the American Southeast. The Southeast experienced a more episodic, delayed and less complex transformation of woods work, one marked by ‘making do”, incremental innovations, simpler systems, a reliance on the adaptation of ideas and machines developed elsewhere, and the tendency for a single harvesting system to dominate use over long periods of time.We argue the social, economic and environmental conditions of the Southeast after 1945 facilitated a laissez-faire attitude to pre-industrial harvesting methods by pulp and paper mill owners. The most important of these conditions was that alternative employment for rural African-Americans was slow to develop, leaving a large source of cheap, available labour for woods work. Pulp mill owners were able to outsource the provision of wood to small contractors through a network of local intermediaries called “wood dealers”. The wood supply system created by pulp mill owners placed the costs of innovation into the hands of the poorly capitalized harvesting contractors. This wood supply system delivered mill owners wood at very low prices, but it effectively inhibited steady and thoroughgoing innovation for many years.
Even inside the Nazi concentration camps, plans were born to rebuild democracy in France and to help German democrats put the Nazi past behind them. This paper describes the efforts by French democrats to rebuild relations with Germany after the war while opposing the Communists' exploitation of anti-German feelings. It builds the case for continued efforts toward cooperation between France and Germany in both their domestic and international relations.
Developing macroengineering projects will require continuous adaptations to changes in concepts, economics, environment, and technology. Contemporary macro- project developers face extraordinary and unprecedented uncertainties, making it incredibly difficult to plan and complete projects. Macroproject planners and developers should at the very least build sufficient economic margins and development flexibility into each project. Some of the key issues that need to be considered in this decade and beyond include financing, the sanctity of supporting contractual agreements, appropriate technology and economics, project execution techniques, and appropriate managerial structures. This will require new procedures and techniques to analyze the many factors bearing upon macroproject developments, as well as a reexamination and enhancement of management tools which can span the vast variety of functions to be coordinated and can respond to the political, social, economic, financial, technical, and construction aspects of macroprojects under volatile and changing circumstances.
The approach to solving the global warming problem, suggested at the COP3 conference, proposed merely a treatment of symptoms; a fundamental solution of the extensive environmental problems facing the earth cannot be expected as an extension of this approach. What is required is nothing less than treatment of the fundamental causes of the problems. This article considers space solar power generation—a source of clean energy with unlimited capacity. There are problems to be overcome in order to realize this idea, the most significant being cost, which is largely determined by the cost of launching a solar power satellite into orbit around the earth. Efforts to overcome this high cost have already been initiated through private sector attempts to develop single-stage reusable launch systems. An additional approach to solving the global environmental problem is also presented here: the use of macro-engineering diplomacy to promote a pioneering project called SPS 2000 being planned in Japan. This project calls for the world's first space solar power satellite pilot plant. Such a project will catalyze the creation of a new industry that will employ a wide range of advanced technology in space. In addition, the potential for a “Copernican”-type revolution of the world's industrial economy—this one heliocentric—is suggested.
The challenge of meeting the world's need for food, feed, and fiber — and doing so despite limited land and water resources, concern with pollution, loss of genetic diversity, and the changing structure of the agribusiness industry — will grow more pressing in the new century. Technological innovation has long been a major contributor to progress in agribusiness, and it will continue to influence agricultural inputs, production, processing, distribution and marketing. Results are presented of a survey of agricultural scientists throughout California universities, in which the researchers were asked to identify technologies they believe will have the widest impact on agriculture by 2010. Four major technologies were mentioned most frequently: global positioning systems, geographic information systems, biotechnology, and the Internet. The survey findings offer insight into the likely directions of agricultural technology which business people, policymakers, and citizens must help guide in the future.
Causes of death varied systematically in the United States during the 20th century as the human environment came under control. Infections became less deadly, while heart disease grew dominant, followed by cancer. Logistic models of growth and multi-species competition in which the causes of death are the competitors describe precisely the evolutionary success of the killers. We show the dossiers of typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, tuberculosis, pneumonia/influenza, heart disease, cancer, and AIDS. Improvements in water and air supply and other aspects of the environment provided cardinal defenses against infection. We project cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death about 2015, and infections may gradually regain their deadly edge.
It seems natural to assume that the more similar two events are, the more likely they are to turn out similarly. When the topic involves emerging technologies that means a technology that has already followed a particular diffusion path might be useful in ascertaining the diffusion path of a subsequent technology. Based on an historical analysis, this paper identifies two of the longest running examples of forecasting by analogy in the 20th century and analyzes how they turned out. In these two cases, at least, forecasting by analogy served more to misdirect than to accurately gauge future demand.
Technology is not just hardware but is constituted by a social system that focuses increasingly powerful means on social goals. Such technology defines the future, and demands extraordinary steering proficiency to match the driving forces of technology itself. Three sets of steering mechanisms are examined: the invisible hand of the economic free market, public policy and its generation by democratic government, and Judeo-Christian and Islamic spiritual values that mold conduct and ignite moral vision. The argument is that major decisions about technology are made by public policy rather than the free market. But there is also a key role for religious teachings to play in technological delivery systems. The paper concludes with speculations on possible relations between religious faith and technology.
This project examines information technology (IT) planning, implementation, and diffusion in an academic environment, that of Portland Community College (PCC), the largest college in Oregon. PCC tries to keep pace with the latest technologies by anticipating and implementing new technology solutions in efficient and effective deployments. IT managers and employees at PCC were asked to complete a survey that included questions about IT planning, implementation, and diffusion. This paper proposes a conceptual framework based on previous models of technology adoption. The integrated, three-stage framework involves IT planning, actual IT implementation, and IT diffusion. The study identified adequate training and resistance to change as leading obstacles to IT deployment processes.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) combines elements of a membership organization, a federation of science and engineering societies, a think tank, and an action organization. The unique nature of AAAS and its history have influenced the shape of its public policy activities. Although the Association was active in policy as far back at the mid-19th century, its current programs were initiated in the post-World War II era, mainly since the mid-1970s, in response to the growing role of science and technology in society and public policy and the increased funding available both from internal and external sources.Lacking a formal policy development process, AAAS seeks to influence the policy climate with activities that engage scientists and engineers in policy, provide information to those involved in policy making, and serve as forums for discussion of S&T issues. Examples include the Policy Fellowship programs and the R&D Budget and Policy Program. From time to time, the Association also conducts studies and expresses its views on important but controversial S&T issues. Recent examples are the report and statement on embryonic stem cell research. Opportunities for expanding AAAS’s policy role to meet the challenges of the 21st century will need to be balanced against risks to established programs.
Adjustment of higher education and other parts of the knowledge sector has become a growing concern in the context of ongoing transformations in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. This article analyzes the historical constraints, in particular those during the Ceausescu regime, as well as the present conditions and initiatives to undertake such transformations in higher education in Romania. The author studies the strength and weakness of the changes that have already altered the character, institutional structure, and mission of higher education in this country. The views expressed in this paper are personal, and do not necessarily reflect those of any organization with which the author is or has formerly been associated.
This paper discusses an approach for assessing indicators for the social sustainability of technical systems developed within a Swedish technology assessment tool called ORWARE. Social sustainability is approached from the perspective of one of its ingredients, namely social acceptance. The research takes the form of a case study on energy technologies conducted in the municipality of Kil in west central Sweden. Three indicators—knowledge, perception, and fear associated with four chains of energy technologies—are assessed using a questionnaire.The questionnaire results indicate that respondents have such a low level of information and knowledge about new energy technologies that they are unable to discriminately rank them. This was found to hamper participation in discussions and decision making about technologies for which public funds would be spent.The importance of assessing social indicators by engaging members of society is discussed, and an assessment approach is developed. The need to present results together with ecological and economic indicators is emphasised in order to avoid suboptimization.
The Major Projects Association (MPA) has been conducting confidential, two-day seminars on specific projects and aspects of major projects since 1981. Seminars are held on a confidential basis in order to permit frank and honest discussion of issues. This paper highlights points which have emerged from the first 16 of these seminars. It does so under the four areas of interest to the MPA: initiation, assessment, securing and accomplishment. The paper concludes by suggesting a framework upon which the main similarities and differences of the various types of projects can be analyzed. It is only by being cognizant of key differences, it is suggested, that we may begin to discuss accurately the general principles governing the initiation and management of major projects.
By judiciously combining internal and external knowledge acquired since the early 1960s, India has been able to build one of the strongest national space programmes in the world. Space development policy and technology accumulation in India appear to have evolved in different phases. In the 1960s the space programme was mainly science-oriented; in the 1970s it progressed to technological experimentation and learning; in the 1980s the emphasis was on achieving ‘threshold’ capabilities in satellite and rocket technologies; and in the 1990s the focus shifted to commercialisation. This article traces India's space programme, which began as a ‘science’ programme in the 1960s, and by the 1990s had evolved into a ‘commercial’ programme.
Since the late 1960s, India has accumulated major ground systems capabilities in its space program. This article discusses the process of building competence and technological learning, with a specific focus on the role of international collaboration, foreign imports, and indigenous efforts during the technology acquisition and building of rocket launching systems, satellite control and tracking systems, and earth stations. It highlights the importance of foreign technology inputs, particularly in the formative phase, where they are extremely helpful for building competence in developing countries like India. It demonstrates that strong indigenous efforts, combined with foreign imports, were vital in helping India achieve threshold capability and sustain technological change in the accumulative phase. It illustrates that foreign imports and indigenous efforts played complementary roles in building competence in India's ground systems technology.
In general, the structural and behavioral patterns of technological innovation are idiosyncratic across industrial sectors and dynamic over time. Yet, despite voluminous amounts of previous research, patterns of innovation are hard to standardize or theorize. The objectives of this article are two-fold. One is to investigate distinctive and changing patterns of technological innovation across industries and observe dynamic trends over time. The other is to identify patterns of relationships among industries and examine the roles of respective industries. To this end, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) patent database was used and patent citation analysis applied. The idiosyncratic differences among industrial sectors are highlighted, especially between conventional manufacturing sectors and science-based sectors. We also found changing trends in technological knowledge flows across industries.
Animal biotechnology raises moral dilemmas that require collective decisions concerning permitted use of technology. The technological and ethical complexity of biotechnology makes such collective decisions difficult and the lack of shared understanding of the moral implications demands social learning. The Minister for Agriculture in the Netherlands has created a legislative arrangement to enable collective learning about animal biotechnology. Has this legislation been successful? We conclude that initially the legislation succeeded in creating an arena for debate and collective learning, but soon learning in this arena was hindered by the legal nature of the arena. Our evaluation demonstrates that little substantive learning has taken place: standpoints have become fixed and antagonists continue to dispute one another in legal discourse. Though legal discourse may be suitable for dealing with conflicts, it seems to hinder social learning.
Voluntary agreements have been widely used in policies and programs seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they offer greater flexibility than direct regulation. However, this approach is often criticized for being ineffective in developing countries, where government environmental regulatory frameworks may be weak, and local firms’ environmental awareness lags behind that of more developed countries. We used Taiwan’s semiconductor and TFT–LCD industries as a case study, with the aim of understanding the success factors that make voluntary agreements more effective. Based on their prosperous growth, we found that the two industries proactively set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals that are far tighter than those of most other businesses. We also found that the primary forces driving the Taiwanese IT industry are pressure from environmental trade barriers and international industrial associations, and customers’ green procurement policies.
This paper investigates the Canadian debate over nuclear waste management, showing how proponents of deep geological disposal have reframed the debate and reconfigured the moral context. From initial efforts, in which technical and political options were presented through the lens of whether institutional actors could be trusted, repository proponents now emphasize how the political and value situation itself offers opportunities to affect decisions. Canada's recently announced adaptive phased management approach to the nuclear waste problem purports to relax elite control and empower public influence, and this shift signals an important change in how social responsibility regarding nuclear projects is being demonstrated. Though focusing on the Canadian debate, this paper broaches broader questions of how relations of trust are built out of situations in which trust does not exist.
The author combines a variety of approaches that emphasize capabilities, skills, and competencies in developing a framework for innovation and technology policy that suggests innovation and technology policy should be strategic in nature. The main goal of this framework is to guard and update the knowledge-base of the institutions and actors that allow firms to recognize the value of external information, assimilate it, and apply it to commercial ends: national absorptive capacity (NAC). After presenting the framework, the author discusses a recent Danish innovation and technology policy exercise, the Resource Area Analysis (RAA), to illustrate the relevance of the approach.
The value added by public participation to decision-making in the Office of Environmental Management (EM) in the Department of Energy (DOE) can be enhanced through better organization, improved participation strategies and mechanisms, and integration with other aspects of decision-making (e.g., problem definition, mission development, identification and evaluation of decision alternatives, and decision implementation). The opportunity to improve the value added by public participation, however, is contingent on being able to demonstrate that the resources devoted to such activity is a sensible and worthwhile investment. This article summarizes research conducted to expand those savings and improvements and facilitate other improvements by developing a set of performance-based indicators, based on discrete attributes of successful public involvement, for use in evaluating public participation programs and activities in EM, with special emphasis on activities implemented in the field offices of DOE. The success attributes and indicators were developed through reviews of appropriate research literatures and through intensive interviews with and surveys administered to diverse stakeholders, including DOE project managers and public participation specialists, contractor project managers and public participation specialists, representatives of tribal, state, and local governments, federal and state regulatory authorities, environmental interest groups, and other interested parties, at nine DOE facilities in the United States.
Bioprospecting in developing countries must be operated on a commercial scale as a biotechnology-based business that adds value to a natural resource, if it is to provide incomes to developing countries and their traditional peoples and incentives for the conservation of biodiversity resources. For example, the value of extracts of samples derived from plant or animal species may be increased by processing them into 96-well plates ready for high throughput screening. More advanced developing countries may wish to aquire their own screening capacity and thereby to participate directly in the process of new product discovery and to lay the basis for a local biotechnology industry. Either way, the developing country must normally enter into a commercial partnership with a company in an advanced country that can supply, in addition to the technology, the marketing know-how to guide screening efforts and the capacity to develop the market for the eventual new product and to manufacture and distribute it. A developing country that wishes a significant share in the intellectual property deriving from a successful development must be prepared to make a significant financial investment, to share the risk of failure and to delay the receipt of cash income. A developing country may seek quicker returns, with fewer risks and delays, by undertaking to develop new phytomedicines (herbal extracts sold directly for medicinal purposes), personal care products and nutriceuticals (food supplements). Alternatively, it may eschew the hope of large financial gains and devote itself to improving traditional medicines or finding cures for tropical diseases that affect poor people.
This case study examines the functioning of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET) during the 1989–1993 Bush administration and the transition to the subsequent Clinton administration. In addition to the traditional elements discussed in the literature as essential to effective cooperation in complex, multi-participant initiatives, several new elements have been identified. We have found that among the traditional elements the expectation of increased resources and the satisfaction of legal requirements were of greatest importance. Among the new elements are the maintenance of institutional autonomy, peer pressure, empowerment of individual participants, a common analytic measure of success and strong centralized leadership for the overall process.
The developing technology of automated negotiation is examined and issues relating to the adoption of this technology and its impact on society are discussed. This examination is done in the context of understanding the balance of power in a negotiation and modeling how this balance will tip with the introduction of automation. An examination of the circumstances when automated negotiation is likely to be adopted is conducted.
The pivotal role of the adoption network in an innovation’s ultimate success or failure is explored. This has implications for the potential gap between expectations and the pace of progress caused by the introduction of innovations. Two examples are given of the experience that innovations in present-day markets have with their adoption networks. Next follows a discussion of the rationale for why the network exerts such influence over innovation’s progress in markets. Then the framework that results from this rationale is applied to expose the factors governing wider adoption of technologies that have the potential to spawn many innovations. Revealing these factors has implications for policymakers and strategists in planning and proactively managing the progress of innovations and new technologies.
Japan’s success in achieving sustainable development during the “catch-up” years up to the end of the 1980s can be attributed to a high institutional elasticity that can be distinctly observed in a “virtuous cycle” between technological innovation and economic growth.Japan’s domestic institutions functioned efficiently during the era of an industrial society driven by manufacturing industry. However, a new paradigm characterized by a shift to an information society emerged in the 1990s and Japan’s traditional institutions did not function as efficiently as they did in preceding decades.Consequently, a virtuous cycle between institutional elasticity and economic development changed to a vicious cycle between non-elastic institutions and economic stagnation that resulted in Japan losing its international competitiveness that reacted to further economic stagnation. Thus, Japan has been facing a dual vicious cycle leading to solid institutional elasticity.This paper analyzes the structural sources, which compelled Japan to lose its institutional elasticity.
This paper explores the competitive advantage of Chinese software parks for promoting industrial development. These industry clusters provide competitive advantage because they are rooted in local institutional systems. Taking the case of Dalian Software Park in China, this analysis is conducted qualitatively based on Porter's “diamond” model, SWOT framework and interview results. Industry clusters, which encompass a series of interconnected firms in designated geographic concentrations, show competitive advantages for industrial development with substantial resources rooted in local institutional systems including government, industry and academia aspects. In order to successfully navigate the economic paradigm shift from mass manufacturing production to innovative new product development in China, it is essential that the competitive advantages of industry clusters are strengthened and sustained in order to enhance industrial development, generate innovation and increase regional economic growth.
This paper discusses how the approach of Strategic Niche Management (SNM) relates to proximity advantages in innovation processes as identified in the geography of innovation literature. The latter claims that the locations where innovation emerge and thrive are not coincidental, but that they follow certain patterns and explanatory logics. Such specific attention for explaining locations is not explicitly present in SNM, although this literature makes claims about the importance of experimentation in local settings, and local and global dynamics. Hence a confrontation of both literatures is thought to be promising. The paper draws on a theoretical discussion and a case study about aquifer thermal energy storage to conclude (1) that there is sufficient evidence for proximity dimensions in niche development; (2) that taking proximity dimensions seriously in SNM helps to unpack processes of upscaling and aggregation; (3) that literature on proximity and innovation can benefit from a more agency-based and dynamic perspective on proximity advantages; and (4) that there is a bias in proximity literature towards advantages of proximity while neglecting potential disadvantages for innovation, aggregation and upscaling.
In order to receive advice on matters of policy, priority, and other important issues concerning science and technology (S&T), the Government of India constituted various apex science advisory committees, as well as various subject-oriented high-powered bodies, over the years. Science Advisory Committees, at the apex level, initiated studies in a variety of fields to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Indian S&T on a world scale and generated reports on the state-of-the-art status of S&T throughout India. These efforts were undertaken with the assistance of experts from the academic, R&D, and industrial sectors, in addition to consultants and subject professionals. The studies provided a clear-cut vision to the policy planners for developing new strategies for India. The author has analysed their functional aspects, with particular reference to their political relations, composition, terms of reference, and linkages. While describing their performance and achievements, he has also evaluated their shortcomings, such as budgetary constraints, discontinuity in terms of membership and mandate, tardy implementation of recommendations, and the impact on the erosion of scientific excellence of the members — distinguished scientists of the country. The author believes that there is a need for reorienting the existing model of science advice in India.
Scientific advisory committees and scientific advocacy groups would substantially improve policy decisions and public discussion of issues involving scientific uncertainty, if they were to clearly and honestly distinguish among settled fact, mainstream opinion, legitimate minority opinion, and assertions with no scientific basis. Such a franker treatment of scientific uncertainty would assist scientific advisers to adjust to their newly important role of guiding and framing public discussion. It would increase their credibility and their professional status of scientific advocacy groups, the more so if this were to be part of a broader code of ethics. Decision makers could still base their decisions (and advocacy groups could still base their views) on minority science, but they would be under some pressure to acknowledge that fact to the public. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has introduced and applied a probabilistic scale of scientific uncertainty that can be used for this purpose, and the author has proposed an alternative scale based on legal standards of proof.
The author discusses the role that advisory councils play in developing science and technology policy in Japan. Specifically, he discusses the technical nature of the policy-making process, reviews the significance of the whole process, and examines several advisory councils as case studies. The councils examined are the Council for Science and Technology, the Space Activities and Atomic Energy Commissions, the Industry Technology Council, the Advisory Council for Energy, the Telecommunication Technology Council, and the Economic Council.
It is suggested by the authors that, perhaps more than at any previous time, the international environment during the next few decades or more will be characterized by rapid change, and that this will inevitably lead to instabilities in both developing and developed nations. This theme is developed in application to the Soviet natural gas developments.
With the continuing consolidation of democratic forms of government in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, people with advanced technical training play an increasingly influential role in shaping industrial policy in these regions. This is especially true in newly industrializing countries (NICs) such as Brazil, which are striving to maintain their technological competitiveness in the world economy — or at the very least, not fall further behind the more developed countries. The role of such technical elites1 in the shaping of industrial policy during Brazil's transition to democracy, which occurred from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, serves as a useful case study for demonstrating the influence these groups can have on industrial policy in NICs during democratic transitions. The Brazilian case further demonstrates that the political orientations of technical elites in various industries can significantly influence policy outcomes.
Venezuela has a 40 year history of science and technology policy development. This history demonstrates that science policy in all its aspects has traditionally been an issue for scientists. In the 1990s, however, new approaches to science and technology policy formation attempted to involve other social actors. This paper describes and places in context the “Research Agendas” methodology created by the Venezuelan Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (CONICIT) (the Venezuelan National Council for Scientific and Technological Research), an agency which in 2001 was renamed the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (FONACIT). Opposing a heritage of extreme sectorization, the Agendas process was inspired to work for network democratization in both the creation and use of scientific and technological knowledge.
Emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, feature considerable uncertainty regarding benefits that can be realized and unwanted side effects that ought to be avoided. Sustainable governance of emerging technologies addresses this issue from an integrated societal perspective that proposes collaboration among agents from science, business, government, and the public during the process of technological innovation and diffusion. In this paper, we present agent network analysis as a method to identify critical constellations in the agent network against the normative background of sustainable governance. Results from a transdisciplinary study on the agent network of nanotechnology in Switzerland reveal, among others, missing key agents, non-fulfillment of required functions, non-availability of required knowledge, and deviations between self- and cross-perception. The study contributes to methodological discussions on the formation of agent networks in science, technology, and public policy studies.
Top-cited authors
Mario Coccia
  • Italian National Research Council
Frank W. Geels
  • The University of Manchester
Chihiro Watanabe
  • University of Jyväskylä
David C Yen
  • Miami University
David Guston
  • Arizona State University