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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 61

by Dr. R. Coenen, Forschungszentrum/ITAS, Karlsruhe (Germany)

This book contains a selection of papers given at a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on "Knowledge, Technology Transfer and Forecasting" held in Budapest, Hungary in October 1995 (see TA- Datenbank-Nachrichten nr. 4, Vol.4, December 1995). The Workshop was sponsored by the NATO Science Programme and organized by Annamaria Inzelt and Reinhard Coenen with the support of the International Association for Technology Assessment and Forecasting Institutions (IA-TAFI).

Chapter I of the book under review (NATO ASI SERIES 4-8) deals with the issue of knowledge transfer in the key area of biotechnology, arguing that e.g. European pharmaceutical multinationals conduct their research mainly in the United States. This strategy may erode European scientific capabilities. Among others Margaret Sharp (UK) gives an insight into the research strategies of large multinational companies in this area. Thomas Reiss (Germany) takes another position and illustrates the specific situation in Germany regarding the development of a strong science base in biotechnology. Chapter II addresses the diffusion of laser technology from the viewpoint of both Western industrial countries and East and Central European countries. It is shown that the latter are strong in science but still weak in industrial commercialization. Chapter III primarily contains contributions which analyse the building up of an information technology infrastructure in East and Central European Countries and highlights its importance for their economic development. Chapter IV gives a critical overview of the ambitious foresight activities in some West European countries and presents the results of a study by Joseph Coates (USA) on the highly probable future until the year 2025. Two contributions demonstrate the transitional problems for the science and technology base in two Eastern European Countries.

Bringing together the views and findings of both natural and social scientists from former communist countries and countries of the western world on such an important issue as technology transfer and diffusion is one the unique characteristics of this book. It is hoped that it will generate thought-provoking commentary as well as increasing the general scientific assessment and foresight knowledge base. In addition, it may improve existing scientific co-operation and generate new co-operation.
Reference books: 4-3, 4-6, 4-8, 4-11, E6, E19

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