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Location of science and research – a global shift?

Plenary / Panel
english language


Principal Investigator, Institute of Medical Biology and Executive Director, Singapore Stem Cell Consortium, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore; Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Director, Stem Cell Centre, King's College London
Executive Director, Singapore Cancer Syndicate and Genome Institute of Singapore Abstract
I would like to focus my discussion on the role of governments in the development of a science and technology industry. Asia represents a unique experimental platform on the establishment of S&T as an economic driver. Unlike the US and Europe, most Asian countries started their technology based economies only after World War II. In all cases, the role of government has been pivotal. As the framework of value in S&T has moved from manufacturing to research, the operational paradigms need to change. As Asia looks for models that encourage creation and idea based economies, they have examined the systems that have worked in the west and adapting many of these to Asian cultural and historical strengths. My experience as a senior officer in government sponsored science and research in two countries across two continents have exposed me to these experiments of organization and development. I will discuss how governments and government policies can accelerate R&D on a national scale for the benefit of their economies.
Director General, CSIR, and Secreary, DSIR, Govt. of India, New Delhi Abstract
For details see:
Vice-president storage systems development, IBM Corporation, New York
Verwaltungsratspräsident und Delegierter, MS Management Service AG, St. Gallen Abstract Chair
Introductory Remarks for the Panel
"Location of science and research  a global shift?"

- Discussions during the Alpbach Forum 2005 cast light on the strengths and weaknesses of Europe. As we have seen, European consciousness must evolve in the midst of economic, political and social upheavals around the world  and to face the age of globalisation.

- Still, the apparent emergence of a borderless world is neither really new, nor is the process of globalisation complete. Goods, investment, people and money all moved freely and fairly easily across national borders a century ago. At that time, Great Britain and its Empire occupied the position in the world that the United States more or less occupies today: commercial leviathan, military giant, moral and cultural arbiter. Sterling was the world s preferred currency  for trade and for saving. The slide into the Great War ended the experience. Even using this as a touchstone, today s global economic convergence and trade integration have generated a new dimension to the world economy.

- As late as the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, it can be argued that China was still the world s most advanced economy and society. After two centuries of relegation to the sidelines, both it and India are again starting to flex their strength. Together they will move the global centre of gravity definitively away from the Atlantic towards the Pacific. Global competition will be extend well beyond the penetration achieved by Japan in its brief heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s.

- It is up to Europe to accept the new reality. The world s economic locomotives are now in Asia. The next ones  Brazil, possibly Mexico  are in Latin America. EU members, particularly the old Continental core members, will have to make painful choices in this new geo-economic landscape. The relative competitive position of Western Europe faces decline. Jobs and investment opportunities alike migrate to Asia, to Brazil and to Central Eastern Europe, no longer the EU periphery. The ability of Continental European economies to finance their high standards of social welfare could be impaired. How can scare resources be allocated best, at the supranational, state and also corporate level in a radically competitive environment?

- In the United States, leading-edge companies currently generate new and more highly qualified jobs at home to replace functions and services relocated elsewhere. Unlike most of core EU-15, the net outflow of jobs and investment is modest, leaving the U.S. economy energized and motivated, the market for U.S. goods and services enlarged. In the robust US economy, innovation thrives, with a healthy balance maintained between basic and applied research. Whatever the US loses in textiles or domestic appliances, is offset by the emergence of entirely new economic sectors such as biotechnology and nanotechnology.

- This generally positive outlook is in sharp contrast to the situation in Europe. European labour markets are less flexible, mobility is difficult and rare. The result is that European workers  on all levels  have suffered more, and profited less, from the dynamics at play. The competitiveness of Europe will depend more and more on
(1) excellence in science and interdisciplinary research,
(2) a drive for innovation, accepted in both the economy and, importantly,
in society,
(3) greater ability to turn research results into marketable products and

- The old status quo is no option. The apparent abandonment of the Lisbon Agenda is a warning signal in itself. While Japan in fact increased its R&D spending in the ten years of deflationary spiral, Europe is allowing its R&D ratio to fall still further. The desperate need for innovation and scientific progress cannot divert EU budget discussions from an obsessive focus on agriculture and subsidies for sunset sectors.

- Challenging economic circumstances are intensified by anything but favourable demographics. The ageing and shrinking of European societies hold out no clear perspective for growth. When stagnation looms, education and research, fundamental for innovation, are of crucial importance. In Europe, greater dedication to excellence is required on all level  from cutting-edge research to the university system, from elementary education to vocational training and lifelong learning. Moreover, scientific excellence must be more respected: for that the European general public must acquire a better understanding of the benefits of science and technology.

- Europe is still losing talent towards North America, and possibly now also towards Asia. This brain drain further erodes Europe s long term prospects. R&D spending is low and stagnating. Public funds for investment in the future are constrained by current economic problems. Business investment in R&D and innovation falls far short of that in either the US or Asia. Where then will Europe find more resources for research and education? From where will it draw the stimulus for accelerated innovation?

- In terms of preferred location for science-based industry and for research, the tide is changing fast. The booming research clusters in Asia are no longer simply cost-attractive  they are nowadays often truly world-class. Significantly, the skill maps of the different countries vary considerably, in line with policy choices in an age of knowledge-based growth. Consider China, India, even Japan. The advantages of India, for example, include an abundant pool of diligent researchers, available expertise in natural sciences, a skilled workforce, close cultural links to overseas communities and knowledge of the English language. In China, on the other hand, property rights and the Rule of Law are in many senses still uncertain, meaning litigation risk, as well as the potential for sustained geo-political conflict with the West. Japan, a mature industrial economy with severe demographic problems, can seem closer to the European mean than it is to its Asian neighbours or even to the US.

- Global access to information contributes to global economic convergence. The emergence of regulatory regimes extending beyond trade complements this benign scenario. Geo-political and strategic developments seem, however, out of tune with economic shifts. These give rise to frictions not only in today s knowledge economy, but more profoundly also in cultural and societal relations.

- Tension is inherent in the interplay between high growth dynamics in Asia, a largely positive outlook for America and a demographically-exacerbated cap on growth in Europe. International risks emerge when this tension can no longer be contained. Demographic shifts are triggering dramatic changes in the demand and supply patterns for key resources, especially for energy. Inflexible European labour markets hamper emergence of a new international division of labour. Much needed structural reform and adaptation to a changed world are blocked. Spheres of national interests collide with an open integrated global mindset already dominant in other advanced societies. And it is this open integrated mindset which allows innovation to flourish, R&D to be most profitable.

- This then is the current geopolitical and geo-economic context. It gives rise to numerous questions for our panel to deal with regarding the location of science and research. Among them I would like to suggest:

# What qualifies a hub as a centre of educational and science excellence?
# How can government policies and corporate strategies reinforce each other?
# What societal choices and cultural differences encourage scientific excellence and even more, an economy s ability to sustain and to exploit it?
# Which skills and competences make up a science cluster? Where should the competence of transforming research results into marketable products and services be located?
# What are the governing logics of a possible shift towards India and Asia (brain drain/brain gain)?
# How does a non-democratic, still totalitarian, China fit into a global picture which, in many senses, it seems poised to dominate?
# Will all this imply sweeping or evolutionary changes?
# What are Asia s expectations vis-à-vis Europe and the US?

August 25th 2005


Principal Investigator, Institute of Medical Biology and Executive Director, Singapore Stem Cell Consortium, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore; Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Director, Stem Cell Centre, King's College London

1974-1976 Demonstrator in Developmental Biology, Zoology Department, Oxford University
1976-1983 Lecturer in Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry
1983-1987 Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry
1987-1993 Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham
1988-1993 Research Director, PPL Therapeutics plc, Edinburgh, UK (part-time)
1993-2002 Research Director, PPL Therapeutics plc, Edinburgh, UK (full-time)
2002-2005 Chief Scientific Officer, ES Cell International, Singapore
since 2002 Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore
since 2004 Senior Scientist, Center for Molecular Medicine, Biomedical research Institute, Singapore
2005-2007 Chief Executive Officer, ES Cell International, Singapore
since 2007 Executive Director of the A*STAR Stem Cell Consortium
since 2008 Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Stem Cell Centre, King's College, London

Dr. Edison Tak-Bun LIU

Executive Director, Singapore Cancer Syndicate and Genome Institute of Singapore

1969-1973 Stanford University, B.S. Chemistry, Psychology
1973-1978 Stanford University, M.D
1985-1987 Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology (University of California at San Francisco)
1987-1993 Assistant Professor in Medicine and Oncology, School of Medicine University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1988-1993 Director Preleukemic Clinic, North Carolina Memorial Hospital
1993-1996 Leader, Breast Cancer Program, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
1996-2001 Director, Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
  Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute
1997-2001 Chief, Molecular Signaling and Oncogenesis Section, Department of Cell and Cancer Biology, Medicine Branch,
2001-present Executive Director, Genome Institute of Singapore
2001-present Professor of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor
2001-present Professor, Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine (COFM), National University of Singapore
2002-present Executive Director, Singapore Tissue Network
2003-present Executive Director, Singapore Cancer Syndicate (funding-agency)
2005-present Adjunct Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Champaign-Urbana.

Dr. Raghunath Anant MASHELKAR

Director General, CSIR, and Secreary, DSIR, Govt. of India, New Delhi

1970-1976 Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, University of Salford, UK
1989-1995 Director, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India
  Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Government of India, New Delhi, India
since 1995 Director-General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, and Secretary,

Dr. Krishna NATHAN

Vice-president storage systems development, IBM Corporation, New York

1983-1987 Systems Engineer on the Shuttle Imaging Radar - B (SIR-B), JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, NASA
  Division of Engineering
1990 Ph.D. in Engineering (Electrical Sciences) in the Laboratory for Engineering Man/Machine Systems,
1992-1997 Researcher, Manager, Handwriting Algorithms
1997-1999 Senior Manager, Consumer Devices
1999-2001 Director, Consumer Voice Systems, head of IBM s consumer speech effort
2001-2002 Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chairman of the Board, IBM Corporate Headquaters
since 2002 Director, IBM Zurich Research Laboratory
since 2004 Vice-president Services and Director, Zurich Research Laboratory
since 2006 Vice-president Technology, IBM

Dr. h.c. Wolfgang SCHÜRER

Verwaltungsratspräsident und Delegierter, MS Management Service AG, St. Gallen

 Studium der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften an der Universität St. Gallen
 Gründer der Internationalen Managementgespräche an der Universität St. Gallen
 Verwaltungsratspräsident und Delegierter der MS Management Service AG, St. Gallen (Internationale Beratung mit den Schwerpunkten Strategie, Risiko- und Issue-Management sowie Regulatory Affairs)

Technology Forum

show timetable


10:00 - 12:00Technology brunch sponsored by Tiroler ZukunftsstiftungSocial
13:00 - 14:00OpeningPlenary
14:00 - 15:30Our futurePlenary
16:00 - 18:00Location of science and research - a global shift?Plenary
20:00 - 21:00SecurityPlenary
21:30 - 23:45Evening reception sponsored by Alcatel AustriaSocial


Junior AlpbachBreakout


09:00 - 15:00Working Group 01: Technology and location strategies for enterprisesBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 02: Electronic carBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 03: Science of everyday productsBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 04: Security of energy supplyBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 05: NanotechnologyBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 06: From scientific journal to breaking news: science and the mediaBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 07: Fuel cells and hydrogen - the future of transport?Breakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 08: European strategies for international research cooperationBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 09: Excellence - a question of genderBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 10: Converging technologiesBreakout
16:00 - 16:45University/industry interaction - The Atlantic picturePlenary
16:45 - 17:30University/industry interaction - The Austrian solutionPlenary
17:30 - 18:00University/industry interaction - Political ConclusionsPlenary
18:00 - 20:00Reception sponsored by Province of Lower AustriaSocial
20:00 - 21:00The science of saving VenicePlenary


09:00 - 10:30Politics and SciencePlenary
10:30 - 11:30Science at the cutting edgePlenary
12:00 - 12:15Alpbach 2005 - Resumée Junior AlpbachPlenary
12:15 - 13:00Reflections and PerspectivesPlenary
13:00 - 14:30Farewell reception sponsored by Microsoft AustriaSocial