Science, Technology and Innovation Global Assessment Programme (STIGAP)

Objective

The Science, Technology and Innovation Global Assessment Programme (STIGAP) is being prepared with the objective to develop a global dialogue on data collection that will result in the capability to better assess the development of STI at the international, regional and national levels. This assessment will enable the formulation of more appropriate recommendations on policy-making for Member States. The programme entails a global assessment of the state of STI over a five-year period and the publishing of a series of informative and thought-provoking essays that will identify and discuss emerging trends on the relation between knowledge, technological change and social and economic development that are monitored and assessed by country or by region.

 

Background

 

Over the last few decades different agencies have produced data sets and analysis on the development of knowledge and technological innovation. At the national level, countries have produced S&T indicators and science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. Internationally, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced important manuals, analyses and recommendations based on the concept National Innovation Systems (OECD, 1997). Additionally, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has developed the Technological Achievement Index as a corollary to its Human Development Index. For its part, UNESCO has produced science reports that present the evolution of science at a global level. Its latest edition came out in 2010. UNESCO has also produced reports on engineering and social sciences.

Today, there is a general consensus on the role of knowledge in economic growth and social development. However, there are still debates surrounding the forms of knowledge playing a role in these changes and how to measure these. The dominant perspective on knowledge and innovation currently focuses almost exclusively on science developed in formal institutions such as academies and research laboratories. Knowledge existing and generated outside these facilities is not addressed. STI indicators are, in general, reduced to changes in the production in corporations and firms, neglecting the changes in the informal sector that most particularly in developing countries sustains the vast majority of the people.

As a result, STI policy recommendations tend to focus on higher education and research and industries even though in many countries most of the human resources may not be part of these. In these countries, well intended STI policy recommendations may well exacerbate the division that separates people in different social segments and groups. Moreover, current indicators badly serve objectives such as promoting peace and environmental sustainability. They will for example not distinguish between science that is developed to cure people (e.g., vaccines) and science that is developed to kill them (e.g., biological arms).

UNESCO faces the challenge to promote STI policies that contribute to building peace, inclusive societies and sustainability. As a result, the development of a set of bottom up and consensus based indicators that monitor the impact of policies in these three aspects as well as resolve the paradox of trying to compare different societies and different cultural contexts provides the framework for STIGAP. Its objective is to encourage an ongoing dialogue between experts with the common goal to produce STI indicators that will allow a more integrated assessment than the current model.

Roundtable Meetings:

For more information, please contact: Yoslan Nur

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