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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Financial Times: Do Not Fear the Rise of Science in Asia

If someone discovers the cure for a disease you have, or invents something that saves you considerable time or money, will you care if they live in Asia?:

Do not fear the rise of world-class science in Asia, by Charles Leadbeater and James Wilsdon, Commentary, Financial Times: On the edge of Bangalore, at the home of Biocon, one of India’s most successful biotechnology companies, men and women in white coats wander through manicured gardens. There are 1,400 employees on Biocon’s campus and more than 60 per cent have a higher degree. They cost roughly one- tenth of their equivalents in Munich or Cambridge, they speak flawless English and they are available 24 hours a day at the end of a high-speed data line. Das Goutham, one of Biocon’s heads of research, is bullish about India’s potential as a hub for research and development: “Look, if only 5 per cent of Indians were like us, we could have a scientific labour force the size of the entire UK population.” Even with a discount for hyperbole, he has a point. We used to know where new scientific ideas would come from: the top universities and research laboratories of large manufacturing companies based in Europe or the US... All that is changing fast. As globalisation moves up a gear, ... Countries such as China, India and South Korea are fast becoming world-class centres for research, particularly in emerging fields such as stem cell biology and nanotechnology. ... China’s spending on R&D has trebled in seven years ... India now pumps out 260,000 engineers a year and its number of engineering colleges is due to double to 1,000 by 2010. Quantity does not necessarily equal quality, but the Indian Institutes of Technology are ranked among the world’s best universities... There is a tendency among politicians to see these growing scientific capabilities as a threat ... But retreating into a scientific version of protectionism is not an option. More innovation in Asia does not mean less in Europe. Alongside new sources of competition, there will also be new opportunities for collaboration ... We need to develop better mechanisms for orchestrating R&D across international networks and supporting scientists ... to collaborate with their counterparts in Asia...

    Posted by on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 01:05 AM in China, Economics, Universities | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (2)


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