A Changing Landscape of Scientific Excellence: Will It Affect Competitiveness?

Friday, February 17, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 310 (Hynes Convention Center)
Koen Jonkers, European Commission Joint Research Center, Brussels, Belgium
When it comes to scientific excellence, much has changed since de early 2000s, when a number of analysts argued that while EU-based researchers published more scientific articles, their scientific impact was on average considerably below that of their US counterparts. In the meantime, the EU share of highly-cited articles has increased, overtaking the US in most fields except for health and life sciences. In addition, China's share of highly-cited articles increased even more rapidly than its total output.

Is a multi-polar scientific system now emerging? Will the changing balance in the production of excellent science lead to a change in innovative potential of the US, EU and China?

While there is no linear relationship between (excellent) science and high tech innovation, the increasing presence of star scientists and high end tacit knowledge in the EU and China could result in a higher rate of technological breakthroughs. Scientific excellence is associated with the potential for high tech innovation; star scientists are often involved in the commercialization of their findings and their graduates play an important role in further translating their research in either start-ups, or in the R&D labs of larger firms.

This talk will look into a possible new scenario where scientific excellence brings high tech breakthroughs around the world, with the EU and China challenging the currently dominant role of the US.