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March 2011
ISBN 978-0-85403-890-9
Knowledge, networks and nations
Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

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Knowledge, Networks and
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Cover photo: Strain in graphene opens up a

pseudomagnetic gap. Generated by the Condensed
Matter Physics Group at the University of
Manchester, this image is a representation of the
work at Manchester lead by Professor Andre Geim
FRS, a Royal Society Research Professor, and
Professor Konstantin Novoselov, a Royal Society
University Research Fellow. Professors Geim and
Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics
in 2010 for their groundbreaking experiments
regarding graphene, a form of carbon, which is the
thinnest and strongest material ever isolated. Both
men have been cited since their award as ‘global
scientists’; both were born and studied in Russia,
spent time in the Netherlands, and are now based
here in the UK, attracting funding and accolades
from UK, European, and international sources.
© Paco Guinea 2010.
Executive summary..................................... 5 Part 2: International collaboration............. 45
2.1 Patterns of collaboration.....................................46
Recommendations....................................... 8 2.1.1 Collaboration in a national context..............47
2.1.2 Who is collaborating with whom?..............49
The Advisory Group................................... 10 2.2 Regional collaboration........................................54
2.2.1 South–South collaboration:
Conduct of the study..................................11 a growing trend.............................................54
2.3 Why collaborate?................................................57
Introduction: going global......................... 14 2.3.1 Seeking excellence.......................................57
2.3.2 The benefits of joint authorship...................59
Part 1: Scientific landscape in 2011.......... 15 2.3.3 Capacity building through collaboration.....61
1.1 Trends and developments in global science.... 16 2.3.4 The geopolitical potential of
1.1.1 Emerging scientific nations..........................19 scientific collaboration..................................62
1.1.2 Assessing research quality and impact......24 2.4 Underlying networks..........................................62
1.1.3 Global scientists............................................26 2.4.1 Tapping into the global networks
1.1.4 Brain gain, drain and circulation..................26 of science.......................................................63
1.1.5 Disciplinary shifts?.........................................28 2.5 Enabling collaboration to promote
1.1.6 Reading the research....................................29 excellent science.................................................64
1.1.7 Opening access.............................................30 2.5.1 Technology....................................................64
1.2 Applying science................................................. 31 2.5.2 Funding mechanisms...................................67
1.2.1 Business R&D................................................31 2.6 Harnessing collaboration.................................... 70
Is business R&D recession proof?................32
Location of business R&D.............................32
1.2.2 Patent growth................................................33
1.3 Drivers of research..............................................34
1.3.1 Securing prosperity and
staying competitive.......................................35
1.3.2 Addressing global challenges......................36
1.3.3 National science in a global age..................36
1.4 Centres for science.............................................37
1.4.1 Centres of research and infrastructure.......39
1.5 A new world order?............................................ 41
1.6 The world beyond 2011......................................42

Designs of vases and teapots that

would be found in a house of a
merchant in Canton, from Designs
of Chinese buildings, by William
Chambers, 1757. From the Royal
Society library and archive.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 3
Part 3: Global approaches Conclusions and recommendations:
to global problems..................................... 71 Cultivating the global
3.1 Scientific solutions..............................................73 scientific landscape................................. 103
3.2 Global research governance.............................. 74
3.2.1 Challenge-led research initiatives................75 Glossary of acronyms.............................. 108
3.2.2 Integrating challenges and
maximising resources...................................77 Acknowledgments....................................110
3.2.3 Building capacity and resilience..................78
3.3 Case studies........................................................79
3.3.1 The world’s largest warning system:
the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC).................................80
3.3.2 Centres of excellence in agriculture:
the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR).....................83
3.3.3 A transformative impact on global health:
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.......86
3.3.4 Towards sustainable energy:
the International Tokamak
Experimental Reactor (ITER)........................90
3.3.5 Capturing the initiative on CO2:
the global efforts to deploy carbon Map of China, from An embassy from
capture and storage (CCS) technology.......93 the East-India Company of the United
Provinces to the Grand Tartar Cham,
3.4 Co-ordinated efforts to tackle by John Nieuhoff, 1669. From the
Royal Society library and archive.
global problems...................................................97

4 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Executive summary
Science is a global enterprise. Today there are over • There are particular countries where this increased
7 million researchers around the world, drawing activity is especially striking, with investment and
on a combined international R&D spend of over scientific productivity outstripping general trends
US$1000 billion (a 45% increase since 2002), and of growth. The rise of China has been especially
reading and publishing in around 25,000 separate notable, overtaking Japan and Europe in terms
scientific journals per year. These researchers of its publication output in recent years. Beyond
collaborate with each other, motivated by wishing to China, rapid developments have also taken place
work with the very best people and facilities in the in India, Brazil and new emergent scientific
world, and by curiosity, seeking new knowledge to nations in the Middle East, South-East Asia and
advance their field or to tackle specific problems. North Africa, as well as a strengthening of the
Knowledge, Networks and Nations reviews, based smaller European nations.
on available data, the changing patterns of science, • However, the traditional ‘scientific
and scientific collaboration, in order to provide a basis superpowers’ still lead the field. The USA,
for understanding such ongoing changes. It aims to Western Europe and Japan all invest heavily
identify the opportunities and benefits of international in research and receive a substantial return in
collaboration, to consider how they can best be terms of performance, with large numbers of
realised, and to initiate a debate on how international research articles, the lion’s share of citations on
scientific collaboration can be harnessed to tackle those articles, and successful translation, as seen
global problems more effectively. through the rates of patent registration.
From Singapore to South Africa, new researchers • The continued strength of the traditional centres
and research communities are reshaping the of scientific excellence and the emergence of new
landscape for science and innovation, so long players and leaders point towards an increasingly
dominated by the USA, Japan and Europe. This multipolar scientific world, in which the
report explores this changing geography of science distribution of scientific activity is concentrated in
and innovation. In Part 1, it maps and investigates a number of widely dispersed hubs.
where and how science is being carried out around • Beyond these hubs, science is also
the world and the ways in which this picture is flourishing. The recognition of the role
changing. that science can play in driving economic
• Science in 2011 is increasingly global, development, and in addressing local and global
occurring in more and more places than ever issues of sustainability, has led to increased
before. Science is addressing questions of global research activity and the application of scientific
significance. It is supported by governments, method and results within less developed
business, philanthropists and charities. countries.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 5
Part 2 reveals the shifting patterns of international • The connections of people, through formal and
collaboration. International science is largely informal channels, diaspora communities, virtual
conducted through bottom-up, informal connections, global networks and professional communities
as scientists become more mobile and as large of shared interests are important drivers of
and often complex data are shared at the click of a international collaboration. These networks
button. But top-down, solutions-oriented initiatives span the globe. Motivated by the bottom-up
are also helping to shape the research landscape, exchange of scientific insight, knowledge
as scientists organise themselves, or are being and skills, they are changing the focus of
organised, to tackle shared concerns. science from the national to the global level.
• The scientific world is becoming increasingly Yet little is understood about the dynamics of
interconnected, with international networking and the mobility of scientists, how
collaboration on the rise. Today over 35% these affect global science and how best to
of articles published in international journals harness these networks to catalyse international
are internationally collaborative, up from 25% collaboration.
15 years ago. • Collaboration brings significant benefits, both
• Collaboration is growing for a variety of measurable (such as increased citation impact
reasons. Developments in communication and access to new markets), and less easily
technologies and cheaper travel make it easier quantifiable outputs, such as broadening research
than ever before for researchers to work horizons. The facilitation of collaboration, therefore,
together; the scale of research questions, and has a positive impact not only on the science
the equipment required to study demands conducted, but on the broader objectives for
that researchers are mobile and responsive. any science system (be that enhancing domestic
Collaboration enhances the quality of prosperity or addressing specific challenges).
scientific research, improves the efficiency
and effectiveness of that research, and is
increasingly necessary, as the scale of both
budgets and research challenges grow.
• However, the primary driver of most
collaboration is the scientists themselves.
In developing their research and finding answers,
scientists are seeking to work with the best
people, institutions and equipment which
complement their research, wherever they
may be.

6 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Part 3 of this report explores the role of • Global challenges are being addressed via a
international scientific collaboration in addressing number of different organisational mechanisms:
some of the most pressing global challenges of our through intergovernmental or international
time. The report concentrates on five case studies, bodies, through national systems, and by private
and considers the strengths and shortcomings individuals and corporations. These mechanisms
of existing mechanisms which bring scientific often deploy novel and innovative forms of
communities together to address global challenges. partnership, some of which work well, others
IPCC, CGIAR, the Gates Foundation, ITER and less so. Valuable lessons can be drawn from
efforts to deploy carbon capture and storage existing models in designing, participating
technology demonstrate how science is already in and benefiting from global challenge
being used to respond to these challenges, and research.
provide models and lessons for how it might be • Science is essential for addressing global
better deployed in the future. challenges, but it cannot do so in isolation.
• The global scientific community is increasingly A wide range of approaches will be required,
charged with or driven by the need to find including the appropriate use of financial
solutions to a range of issues that threaten incentives, incorporating non-traditional forms of
sustainability. These ‘global challenges’ have knowledge, and working with the social sciences
received much attention in recent years, and and wider disciplines. Science is crucial but it
are now a key component of national and is unlikely to produce all the answers by itself:
multinational science strategies and many the science infrastructure works best when it is
funding mechanisms. supported by, and enables, other systems.
• Global challenges are interdependent and • All countries have a role in the global effort
interrelated: climate change, water, food and to tackle these challenges, both in defining
energy security, population change, and loss of and prioritising them and in using global research
biodiversity are all interconnected. The dynamic output to inform local, national and regional
between these issues is complex, yet many responses. This need is increasingly being
global assessment and research programmes acknowledged for inclusivity and capacity building
are managed separately, often reflecting a lack of across regions and continents, in helping to
co-ordination in the policy sphere. Governments, meet (national) needs, and in developing a global
civil society and the private sector need to take a infrastructure that is resilient to new challenges.
broader perspective on global challenges in order
to appreciate how they are interrelated.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 7
Knowledge, Networks and Nations • Commitments to multinational research
concludes with a set of recommendations efforts and infrastructures should not be
to further strengthen global science. This seen as easy targets for cuts during a period
report calls for more creative, flexible and better- of economic turbulence. To cut subscriptions
resourced mechanisms to co-ordinate research to joint research endeavours, without due
across international networks and to ensure that diligence and assessment, is a false economy. By
scientists and science can fulfil their potential. It also disengaging from these efforts, countries run the
calls for more comprehensive and inclusive ways risk of isolating their national science and losing
of measuring and evaluating the science which is relevance, quality and impact.
delivered and applied in all its forms around the
world. Finally, the report highlights the importance 2. Internationally collaborative science should be
of science—and the wider evidence base—in encouraged, supported and facilitated
underpinning robust policy making, especially around • Research funders should provide greater
shared global challenges. support for international research
Understanding global science systems, their collaboration through research and mobility
mechanisms and motivations, is essential if we are grants, and other mechanisms that support
to harness the very best science to address global research networks.
challenges and to secure the future of our species • National border agencies should minimise
and our planet. barriers to the flow of talented people,
ensuring that migration and visa regulations are
Recommendations not too bureaucratic, and do not impede access
1. Support for international science should be for researchers to the best science and research
maintained and strengthened across the world.
• Even in difficult economic times, national • National research policies should be flexible
governments need to maintain investment and adaptive in order to ensure that international
in their science base to secure economic collaboration between talented scientists is not
prosperity, tap into new sources of innovation and stifled by bureaucracy.
growth, and sustain vital connections across the
global research landscape. Sustained investment 3. National and international strategies for
builds a nation’s capacity to assimilate excellent science are required to address global
science, wherever it may have been conducted, challenges
for that country’s benefit. • Recognising the interconnectedness of global
• International activities and collaboration challenges, funders of global challenge
should be embedded in national science programmes should devise ways to better
and innovation strategies so that the domestic co-ordinate their efforts, share good practice,
science base is best placed to benefit from the minimise duplication and maximise impact.
intellectual and financial leverage of international Where possible, these should draw on existing
partnerships. infrastructure or shared technology.

8 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
• National research funding should be 5. Better indicators are required in order to
adaptive and responsive to global challenges, properly evaluate global science
supporting the interdisciplinary and collaborative • UNESCO (and other agencies such as the
nature of the science required to address these OECD) should investigate new ways in which
issues. trends in global science can be captured,
• In devising responses to global challenges, quantified and benchmarked, in order to
governments worldwide need to rely on help improve the accuracy of assessments of
robust evidence-based policy making, and the quality, use and wider impact of science,
bring excellent scientists into the policy advisory as well as to gauge the vitality of the research
process. environment.
• There is a specific lack of data on the flow
4. International capacity building is crucial to and migration of talented scientists and
ensure that the impacts of scientific research their diaspora networks. UNESCO, OECD and
are shared globally others should investigate ways of capturing this
• Researchers and funders should commit to information as a priority, which would enable
building scientific capacity in less developed policy makers to better understand, nurture and
countries to help improve their ability to conduct, oversee global science for the benefit of society as Instructive memoire on the new
access, verify and use the best science, and to a whole. chronological table of the history
of China, by the Viceroy of Canton,
ensure that they can contribute to global scientific 1724. From the Royal Society library
and archive.
debates and develop local solutions to global
• Scientific capacity building must involve
financial support for authors in developing
countries to publish in open access journals.
Open access publishing has made a wealth of
scientific literature available to the developing
world, but conversely has made it harder for
their scientists to publish under the ‘author pays’
• National academies, learned societies and
other similar institutions should actively
promote public and wider stakeholder
dialogue to help identify, shape and
respond to global challenges and their local

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 9
The Advisory Group
Advisory Group Royal Society Science Policy Centre
Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS (Chair), Luke Clarke, Policy Adviser
Director of Energy Research, University of Oxford Laura Dawson, Senior Policy Adviser
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz KBE FRS, Vice Natalie Day, Senior Policy Adviser
Chancellor, University of Cambridge Dr Tracey Elliott, Head of International
Professor Lorna Casselton FRS, Foreign Secretary Harriet Harden-Davies, Intern
and Vice President, The Royal Society Tony McBride, Head of Strategy
Professor Sir Gordon Conway KCMG DL FRS FRGS, James Meadway, Senior Policy Adviser
Professor of International Development, Imperial Sarah Mee, Policy Adviser
College London Ian Thornton, Policy Adviser
Professor Mohamed Hassan, Co-Chair, Dr James Wilsdon, Director of Science Policy
InterAcademy Panel (IAP); Executive Director of the Rapela Zaman, Senior Policy Adviser
Academy of Sciences for the Developing World
(TWAS) (until March 2011) Review Panel
Professor Melissa Leach, Director, STEPS Centre, The Royal Society gratefully acknowledges the
Institute of Development Studies, University of contribution of the reviewers. The Review Panel
Sussex was not asked to endorse the conclusions or
Professor Angela McLean FRS, All Souls Senior recommendations of the report, nor did they see
Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, University the final draft of the report before its release.
of Oxford
Professor Goverdhan Mehta FRS, CSIR Bhatnagar Professor John Pethica FRS (Chair), Physical
Fellow and Honorary Professor, Department of Secretary, Royal Society
Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Professor Bruce Alberts ForMemRS, Department of
Professor John Mitchell OBE FRS, Director of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California
Climate Science, Met Office San Francisco
Dr Colin Osborne, Royal Society University Research Professor Juan Asenjo, President, Chilean Academy
Fellow, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, of Sciences
University of Sheffield Dr Matthew Freeman FRS, Head, Division of Cell
Professor Martyn Poliakoff CBE FRS, Research Biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Professor in Chemistry, The University of Nottingham Professor Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS, Former Director,
Dr Phil Ruffles CBE FREng FRS, Former Director, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research
Engineering and Technology, Rolls Royce plc Professor Geoffrey Oldham CBE, Honorary
Professor Caroline Wagner, School of International Professor, SPRU—Science and Technology Policy
Affairs, Pennsylvania State University Research, University of Sussex

10 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Conduct of the study
The study leading to this report was overseen by an • Identify and assess illustrative examples
Advisory Group of Fellows of the Royal Society and of opportunities and challenges these
other distinguished experts, supported by the staff of changes present for policy makers, scientists,
the Royal Society Science Policy Centre. Elsevier has intergovernmental agencies and business.
provided financial support, and full access to their • Examine and discuss how international scientific
publication databases and analytical services collaboration can be better utilised to address
throughout the study. The drafting of the report, its global problems such as climate change, food
conclusions and recommendations are those of the and water security, and infectious diseases.
Royal Society alone. • Draw conclusions about the collaborative nature
Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific of research in the 21st century, and consider the
collaboration in the 21st century has been approved by potential implications for policy makers.
the Council of the Royal Society.
The study was formally launched in January 2010.
Advisory Group and terms of reference
The Royal Society established an Advisory Group Collection of evidence
made up of internationally renowned scientists Evidence gathering for the project took place in
and science policy experts from around the world, five ways:
chaired by Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS. The aim • a formal process, through a detailed Call for
of the study, as outlined in the Terms of Reference, Evidence;
was to provide an analysis of the global scientific • a special discussion session for members of the
landscape in 2011 for a global audience of scientists, InterAcademy Panel, held to coincide with its
governments, business, international organisations General Assembly at the Royal Society in January
and NGOs. Its specific goals were to: 2010;
• Provide an overview of how, where, why and • face-to-face and telephone interviews with key
by whom scientific research is being carried out figures in international science and science policy
across the world, and the ways in which this from around the world;
picture is changing. • extensive desk research;
• Compile both quantitative and qualitative evidence • data analysis, including work with Elsevier.
to offer an overview of these developments
through the use of Elsevier’s and other databases
such as UNESCO and OECD, and by making use
of the Society’s extensive international networks,
including its global Fellowship of over 1,400
outstanding individuals from all areas of science,
mathematics and engineering.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 11
Call for evidence Defining global science
The Call for Evidence was sent out on 27 April The Royal Society defines ‘science’ as ‘natural
2010 to Fellows of the Royal Society, Royal Society knowledge’. In practice, this includes the natural
Research Fellows and the world’s science academies, sciences, mathematics and engineering. For the
through the InterAcademy Panel (IAP), the Academy purposes of this report, where we discuss overall
of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), totals of publications, these include social sciences,
and the UK Government’s Science and Innovation the arts and humanities (in practice, these represent
Network (SIN). a very small proportion of publication output—8.9%);
We received 80 responses from individuals, this coverage is used to match the ‘input’ statistics,
academies, research institutions, government which all register ‘research’ and ‘researchers’, which
departments and other organisations from around are discipline neutral. However, our examples,
the world. These are listed at the end of the report. case studies and observations are drawn from
the scientific community.
Elsevier methodology Throughout this report, we use a number
Unless otherwise indicated, all of the data relating of sources to characterise and quantify what
to publication output and impact in this report is happening globally in science. In this we are
have been provided by Elsevier. We would like to constrained, to certain extents, by the available data.
acknowledge the analysis and insights provided by In order to achieve the widest international coverage,
the following individuals: we have made use of UNESCO data on the numbers
• Dr Andrew Plume, Associate Director, of researchers,1 and the expenditure on research
Scientometrics & Market Analysis—Research & and development as indicators of expenditure and
Academic Relations manpower in science (although a large proportion
• Mayur Amin, Senior Vice President—Research & of ‘research and development’ is spent on D rather
Academic Relations than R and, as such, reaches beyond strict ‘science
• Dr Henk Moed, Senior Scientific Advisor— spending’).
Academic & Government Markets
• Niels Weertman, Vice President, SciVal—
Academic & Government Markets
Publication data are derived from Scopus, the
world’s largest abstract and citation database of
peer-reviewed literature. Scopus contains over 41
million records across 18,000 journals and covers
regional as well as international literature. Publication
outputs in this report are defined as articles, reviews
and conference papers published in these journals.
Where we consider overall totals of publications,
these include outputs in all disciplines.

12 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Page from a notebook on scientific
expeditions to Mato Grosso, Brazil,
1967 to 1969, by Iain Bishop. From
the Royal Society library and archive.

These statistics are available through the UNESCO

Institute of Statistics, and have been comprehensively
presented and analysed in the recent UNESCO
Science Report, published in November 2010.
Publication and patent data are incomplete proxies
for scientific output and scientific translation, the
first being predominantly the output of academic
science, and the other relating to the exploitation of
ideas and concepts rather than necessarily being
specifically scientific. However, they are the two main
quantifiable, globally collated, and commonly used
sources of data on the production and consumption
of science. By using these data, we are reflecting
the current ‘terms of reference’ for discussions of
global science. It is widely accepted that they are
inadequate to fully explore the richness of 21st
century science. The paucity of richer sources of data
offers a challenge to national, multilateral and global
bodies to explore ways of better measuring the
inputs, outputs and impacts of the global scientific

1  he OECD defines researchers

as ‘professionals engaged in the
conception or creation of new
knowledge, products, processes,
methods and systems and also in
the management of the projects
concerned’. See OECD (2002).
Frascati manual: proposed standard
practice for surveys on research
and experimental development.
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development:
Paris, France.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 13
Introduction: going global
When Henry Oldenberg founded the world’s first but there are few places which are not in some way
scientific publication in 1665,2 it drew on emerging part of the scientific landscape.
ideas from Germany, Italy, Hungary, France and even Science is conducted in more places than ever
the Bermudas. It enjoyed a wide international before, but it is also more interlinked. Over one-third
readership. Oldenburg, and the other founding of research papers are the direct result of international
fellows of the Royal Society, dedicated this first collaboration, with authors’ addresses from more
edition of ‘Philosophical Transactions’ to sharing ‘the than one country.5 The number of internationally
Happy inventions of obliging Men all over the world, co-authored papers has more than doubled since
to the General Benefit of Mankind’. 1990.6 Researchers are increasingly mobile, travelling
But Oldenberg could never have imagined long distances to work with the best colleagues
how many ‘obliging men’ and women would be in their field, to access resources and share ideas
contributing to scientific knowledge across the world and facilities. And they are being supported
in 2011. Science has transformed our lives in ways internationally through cross-border funding from
which would have been inconceivable in 1665. Just international organisations (charities, philanthropic
how it will evolve over the coming century is equally funding and business), multilateral initiatives between
inconceivable. Yet one thing seems certain: science is governments and research councils, multinational
inherently international and will only become more so. funding bodies and shared scientific infrastructure.
As Louis Pasteur once put it, ‘Knowledge belongs The scientific community is influenced by
to humanity, and thus science knows no country globalisation, and is also driven by its own dynamics.
and is the torch that illuminates the world.’ Largely Scientists have been both motivated and enabled to
funded at a national level and conducted primarily in work across disciplinary and international borders
national institutions, science is still more determined by technological advances and shifts in geopolitics.
by place than Pasteur’s declaration would suggest. But science has always pushed boundaries, be they
And yet, it is a worldwide endeavour. In 2008, 218 technological or national and political. Global science
countries produced over 1.5 million research papers, is increasing, but it is also nothing new. The founding
from Tuvalu’s one paper, to the UK’s 98,000, China’s members of the Royal Society 350 years ago looked
163,000, and the USA’s 320,000.3 In 2007, Sweden beyond national borders to extend the frontiers of
spent nearly 3.7% of its gross domestic product natural knowledge. Today’s scientific pioneers will
(GDP) on research and development (R&D), Canada need to know how to navigate the changing global
spent 2%, ‘emerging’ India spent 0.8%, and oil rich scientific landscape if they are to keep extending
Saudi Arabia 0.04%.4 Research investment and those frontiers. This report is intended to help them
output are far from evenly spread across the world, understand the dynamics of this complex and fast-
evolving phenomenon.

2 On 6 March 1665, the first issue 3 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. 6  eydesdorff L & Wagner C (2005).
L collaboration has grown overall
of Philosophical Transactions was Mapping global science using and at the regional level, see
published under the editorship of 4  ata from the UNESCO Institute
D international co-authorships: a Wagner C & Leydesdorff L (2005).
Henry Oldenburg, who was also for Statistics Data Centre, comparison of 1990 and 2000. Network structure, self-organization
the Secretary of the Society. Montréal, Canada. International Journal of Technology and the growth of international
5 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. and Globalization 3. For a collaboration in science. Research
discussion of how international Policy 34, 10, 1608–1618.

14 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

Part 1
Scientific landscape
in 2011

A new manifestation of the

celebrated “Mollow triplet”,
one of the fundamental
spectral shapes of light-
matter interaction, from
Dr Elena del Valle, Royal
Society Newton International
Fellow, School of Physics
and Astronomy, University
of Southampton. The triplet
as found by Mollow emerges
in the light emitted by an
atom when excited by a
laser. The depicted triplet
is the counterpart emission
from an atom when excited
incoherently inside a cavity.
© Dr Elena del Valle, 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 15
Science is growing globally. Since the beginning of 1.1 Trends and developments in global
Part 1 the 21st century, the global spend on research and science
development has nearly doubled, publications have The USA leads the world in research, producing
Scientific landscape grown by a third, and the number of researchers 20% of the world’s authorship of research papers,10
in 2011 continues to rise (see Table 1.1). North America, dominating world university league tables,11 and
Japan, Europe and Australasia have all witnessed investing nearly US$400 billion per year in public and
growth, with each increasing spending by around private research and development.12 The UK, Japan,
one-third between 2002 and 2007. In the same Germany and France each also command strong
period, ‘developing countries’,7 including the positions in the global league tables, producing high
emerging economies of China, India and Brazil, more quality publications and attracting researchers to their
than doubled their expenditure on R&D, increasing world class universities and research institutes. These
their contribution to world R&D spending by 7 five countries alone are responsible for 59% of all
percentage points from 17% to 24%.8 spending on science globally.13
However, these countries do not completely
Table 1.1. Global science by numbers.9 dominate global science. Between 1996 and 2008
Spend on research Numbers of Number of the USA lost one-fifth of its share of the world’s
and development researchers publications article authorship, Japan lost 22% and Russia 24%.
US$ % GDP The UK, Germany and France also fell back in relative
2007 1145.7bn 1.7 7.1m 1.58m terms.14 Figure 1.1 shows how the number of articles
2002 790.3bn 1.7 5.7m 1.09m has grown and how their distribution across the
world has changed in recent years, between the
The architecture of world science is also changing, periods 1999 to 2003 (Figure 1.1a) and 2004 to 2008
with the expansion of global networks. These involve (Figure 1.1b).
networks of individuals, mostly self-organised but The traditional scientific leaders have gradually
sometimes orchestrated (as in the Human Genome lost their ‘share’ of published articles. Meanwhile,
Project). Some networks are based on collaborations China has increased its publications to the extent that
at international organisations (such as CERN); others it is now the second highest producer of research
are funded internationally, by multinational businesses output in the world. India has replaced the Russian
(which fund their own laboratories and work in Federation in the top ten, climbing from 13th in 1996
universities across the globe), by major foundations to tenth between 2004 and 2008. Further down the
(such as Gates), or by cross-national structures such list South Korea, Brazil, Turkey, South East Asian
as the EU. These global networks increasingly exert a nations such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia,
significant influence on the conduct of science across and European nations such as Austria, Greece and
the world. Portugal have all improved their standings in the
global scientific league tables.15

16 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Changes in the ranking of nations within the Figure 1.1. Proportion of global publication
league tables are shifting at the same time as total authorship by country17
output is increasing. For example, Italy maintained a The top ten producing countries in each period
steady share of publications between 1996 and 2008 are shown. Fig a. 1999-2003. Fig b. 2004-2008
(3.5% of world production in both years, fluctuating
between 3% and 4% over the whole period); but in
order to hold this position it increased its number of
articles by 32%. All over the world, some countries
are running to stand still16 while others are breaking
into a sprint. 30% 26%

Fig a Fig b
3% 7% 7%
4% 2%
4% 5% 7% 3%
3% 6%
4% 6%

7  ased on the standard United
B 10 D
 ata from Elsevier’s Scopus. If an (Cambridge in the UK is ranked 12 N
 ational Science Board (2010).
Nations Statistics Division author on a paper gives a country first, and the other three are also Science and engineering indicators United States
classification (composition of as his or her address, that paper in the UK). In the Times Higher 2010. National Science Foundation: Japan
macro geographical (continental) is assigned to that country. So Education World University Arlington, VA, USA.
United Kingdom
regions, geographical sub-regions, a paper which has been written Rankings the USA holds the top
and selected economic and other by authors in the UK, Spain and five positions, seven of the top 13 D
 ata from UNESCO Institute for Germany
groupings). Germany would be assigned as a 10 places and 27 of the top 50 Statistics, published in UNESCO France
single paper in each country (that (the remaining three in the top Science Report 2010 (p 2, Table 1).
8  NESCO (2010). UNESCO science
paper therefore being accounted ten are in the UK). In the ARWU 14 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. Italy
report 2010. Data from UNESCO for three times as a ‘national’ Rankings the four top positions
Institute for Statistics, published in paper). Figure 1.1 shows the and 17 of the top 20 are US 15 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. Canada
UNESCO Science Report 2010 (p total number of individual papers universities (the remaining three Russian Federation
2, Table 1). UNESCO Publishing: 16 R
 oyal Society (2010). The scientific
without any multiple counting. in the top 20 are the Universities India
Paris, France. Data are provided century: securing our future
The total number of ‘national’ of Cambridge, Oxford and Tokyo). Spain
in US$ pegged at current prices prosperity. Royal Society:
papers (ie. with papers counted Source: Academic Ranking
(2007 prices in 2007, 2002 prices in London, UK. Other
multiple times if there are authors of World Universities (2010)
2002) and reflect purchasing power based in more than one country) available online at http://www. 17 D
 ata from Elsevier’s Scopus. These
parity. in 2007 was 1,580,501; in 2002; QS charts show the top 10 countries
9 Spend on research and this was 1,093,564. The USA Top University Rankings (2010) by number of publications, with
development: data from UNESCO produced 316,317 ‘national’ papers at http://www.topuniversities. all other countries included in the
Institute for Statistics, published in in 2008 (221,707 with the USA as com/university-rankings/world- ‘other’ segment. The pie charts are
UNESCO Science Report 2010 (p the sole authors, and 94,610 in university-rankings/home; Times scaled to represent the increased
2, Table 1). Number of researchers: collaboration internationally); this Higher Education World University volume of publications in the
data from UNESCO Institute for represents 19.97% of all ‘national’ Rankings (2010) at http://www. two time periods. In 1999–2003
Statistics Data Centre, UNESCO papers globally. there were 5,493,483 publications
Institute for Statistics: Montréal, university-rankings/index.html, globally, and in 2004–2008 there
11 T
 he QS rankings have six accessed 29 September 2010.
Canada. Number of publications: were 7,330,334.
US universities in the top 10
data from Elsevier’s Scopus.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 17
Part 1 Box 1.1. in whichever sector, but it is assumed that this has
A note on the data some relationship to the upstream investment in
Scientific landscape Expenditure on research and development science that precedes it.
in 2011 (R&D) is used throughout this report as a proxy Unless otherwise stated, where changes in
for spending on science. Gross expenditure on expenditure over time are discussed in the report,
research and development (GERD), as collated by the figures used are based on current US$ prices
the OECD and UNESCO, and used in this report, (2004 dollars in 2004, 2008 dollars in 2008) and
includes investment by government and business purchasing power parity,18 as calculated by either
enterprise, funding from overseas sources, and the OECD or UNESCO.
‘other’ sources, which can include funding by When we refer to ‘papers’ in the report, this
private foundations and charities. In areas of the refers to peer-reviewed articles which have
report we distinguish between the proportion appeared in international journals. These data
of this gross expenditure spent by business have been drawn, unless otherwise noted, from
enterprise (BERD), and that spent by government Elsevier’s Scopus database.19 Where we discuss
(GOVERD). This is a commonly used, yet largely overall totals of publications, these include social
unsatisfactory proxy for science (and/or research) sciences, the arts and humanities (in practice,
spending. A large proportion of ‘research and these represent a very small proportion of
development’ is spent on D rather than R (with the publication output—8.9%); this coverage is used
largest proportion spent on product development). so as to match the ‘input’ statistics, which all
As such, this figure goes beyond the actual register ‘research’ and ‘researchers’, which are
amount of money dedicated to funding research, discipline neutral.

Article: ‘Croonian Lecture: On the

anatomical stucture of the eye’, by
Everard Home, drawings by Franz
Bauer. PT vol 112, 1822, pp76-85.
From the Royal Society library and

18 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
1.1.1 Emerging scientific nations populous country, succeeded in sending its first
China’s rise up the rankings has been especially unmanned flight to the moon, becoming only the
striking. China has heavily increased its investment fourth country to land a craft on the lunar surface.
in R&D, with spending growing by 20% per year Brazil, in line with its aspiration to be a ‘natural
since 1999 to reach over US$100 billion a year today knowledge economy’, building on its natural and
(or 1.44% of GDP in 2007),20 in pursuit of its goal environmental resources, is working to increase
of spending 2.5% of GDP on R&D in 2020.21 China research spending to 2.5% of GDP by 202225 (from
is also turning out huge numbers of science and just over 1.4% in 2007).26 South Korea has pledged
engineering graduates, with 1.5 million leaving its that R&D spending, (3.2% of GDP in 2007), will reach
universities in 2006.22 5% of GDP by 2012.27
China, India, South Korea and Brazil are often cited These countries are not alone in rapidly growing
as rising powers in science.23 India produces roughly their science bases. Over the last 15 years, each of
2.5 million science and engineering graduates each the G20 countries has been increasing its research
year.24 In 2008, India, the world’s second most production and most have scaled up the proportion

18 P
 urchasing power parity (PPP) 0.66% of the Chinese population January 2011; UNESCO Institute 15 and 24 was projected to be
measures the amount of a given aged between 15 and 24, which for Statistics website: http://www. just under 234 million according
currency needed to buy the same was projected to be 228,663,000, accessed 13 to the UN. If all those 2.5 million
basket of goods and services in 2010 according to the United January 2011. graduates were within that age
as one unit of the reference Nations Population Division. range, they would represent 1.07%
currency—in this report, the UNESCO statistics indicate 23 S
 ee Bound K (2007). India: the of the population in that age range.
US dollar. It is helpful when that the most recent figures uneven innovator; Webb M (2007). Source: United Nations website.
comparing living standards in of total science, engineering, South Korea: mass innovation World population prospects: the
different countries, as it indicates manufacturing and construction comes of age; Wilsdon J & 2008 revision. Population Division
the appropriate exchange rate to graduates, expressed as a Keeley J. China: the next science of the Department of Economic
use when expressing incomes and percentage of their projected superpower?; Bound K (2008). and Social Affairs of the United
prices in different countries in a population of15–24-year-olds Brazil, the natural knowledge Nations Secretariat. Available
common currency. for 2010 (as per the UN statistics economy. Demos: London, UK; online at,
above), would equal 0.95% in Adams J & Wilsdon J (2006). accessed 7 January 2011.
19 F
 or further information on the the USA (428,256 graduates in The new geography of science:
methodology used by Elsevier, these disciplines in 2008 against a UK research and international 25 K
 ugler H (2011). Brazil releases
please see the Conduct of the projected population aged 15–24 collaboration; Adams J & King science blueprint. SciDev.Net, 7
Study on page 11. of 44,880,000 in 2010), and 1.73% C (2009). Global research report: January 2011. Available online at
in the UK (140,575 graduates in Brazil; Adams J, King C & Singh
20 O
 ECD (2006). China will become V (2009). Global research report: brazil-releases-science-blueprint.
world’s second highest investor in these disciplines in 2007 against a
projected population of 8,147,000 India; Adams J, King C & Ma N html, accessed 17 January 2011.
R&D by end of 2006, finds OECD. (2009). Global research report:
Press release, 4 December 2006. in 2010). These are not perfect 26 P
 etherick A (2010). Science safe
comparisons, as the most recent China. Evidence, a Thomson
Office for Economic Co-operation Reuters business: Leeds, UK. in Brazil elections. Nature online,
and Development: Paris, France. year for which we have graduate 29 September 2010. Available
data available varies by country, Battelle (2009). 2010 global
R&D fund-ing forecast. Battelle: online at
21 T
 he State Council of the People’s and it does not take into account news/2010/100929/full/467511b.
Republic of China (2006). The graduates above this age range, Columbus, OH, USA. Wilsdon
J (2008). The new geography of html, accessed 17 January 2011.
national medium- and long-term or the proportion of people in the
program for science and technology lower end of this age range who science. Physics World, October 27 S
 tone R (2008). South
development (2006–2020): an are unlikely to graduate at their 2008. Gilman D (2010). The new Korea aims to boost status
outline. Beijing, China. age. Sources: Population Division geography of global innovation. as science and technology
of the Department of Economic Goldman Sachs Global Markets powerhouse. Science Insider,
22 M
 inistry of Science and Institute: New York, NY, USA. 23 December 2008. Available
and Social Affairs of the United
Technology of the People’s at
Nations Secretariat (2008). World 24 B
 ound K (2007). India: the uneven
Republic of China (2007). S&T scienceinsider/2008/12/south-
population prospects: the 2008 innovator. Demos: London, UK.
statistics data book 2007. Beijing, korea-aim.html.
revision. Available online at http:// India’s population aged between
China. This is the equivalent of, accessed 7

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 19
in 2011
Scientific landscape
Part 1

Korea, Republic of
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Figure 1.2. Science in the G20


20 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States
Fig a

Fig b. Annual growth in GDP spending on R&D 1996-200729

G8 labelled in red. Fig a. Annual growth in publications 1996-2008.28

Republic of Korea
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States
Fig b
of their GDP spent on R&D (see Figure 1.2). Increased 4% of GDP (0.59% of GDP in 2006), and increasing
investment and increased publications have taken education to 7% of GDP by 2030 (5.49% of GDP in
place in tandem. The growth of commitment 2007).34
to science in a number of the non-G8 nations is Since 1996, R&D as a percentage of GDP in
especially striking. Tunisia has grown from 0.03% to 1.25% in 2009.35
Turkey has improved its scientific performance at During the same period, a substantial restructuring
a rate almost rivalling that of China. Having declared of the national R&D system saw the creation of 624
research a public priority in the 1990s, the Turkish research units and 139 research laboratories, of which
Government increased its spending on R&D nearly 72 are directed towards life and biotechnological
six-fold between 1995 and 2007, and now spends sciences.36 Life sciences and pharmaceuticals remain
more annually in cash terms than either Denmark, a top priority for the country, with the government
Finland or Norway.30 Over this period, the proportion announcing in January 2010 that it wanted to increase
of Turkey’s GDP spent on R&D rose from 0.28% to pharmaceuticals exports five-fold in the next five
0.72%, and the number of researchers increased by years while also aiming to have 60% of local medicine
43%.31 Four times as many papers were published in needs covered by the country’s own production.37
2008 as in 1996.32 In 1996, Singapore invested 1.37% of GDP in
The number of publications from Iran has grown R&D. By 2007 this had reached 2.61% of GDP.38 The
from just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008—making it number of scientific publications has grown from
the fastest growing country in terms of numbers of 2,620 in 1996 to 8,506 in 2008, almost half of which
scientific publications in the world.33 In August 2009, were co-authored internationally.39 The Agency for
Iran announced a ‘comprehensive plan for science’ Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is central
focused on higher education and stronger links to the government’s commitment to investment in
between industry and academia. The establishment world class research and infrastructure, and oversees
of a US$2.5 million centre for nanotechnology Singapore’s 14 research institutes and associated
research is one of the products of this plan. Other centres within flagship developments such as Biopolis
commitments include boosting R&D investment to and Fusionopolis.40 At a cost of over US$370 million,

28 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. edition. Organisation for Economic website. Available online at http:// Available online at http://www.
Co-operation and Development: english.globalarabnetwork.
29 D
 ata from UNESCO Institute for Paris, France. files/55545/11998913265Tunisia. com/201001134357/
Statistics Data Centre, Montréal, pdf/Tunisia.pdf. Science-Health/tunisia-to-
Canada. Note that statistics for 32 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. boost-pharmaceutical-a-
some countries across the period 36 M
 adikizela M (2005). The science biotechnological-industry.html.
are incomplete. The closest 33 S
 cience-Metrix, Thirty years of and technology system of the
accountable years in the period science. Montreal: http://www. Republic of Tunisia. From ‘Country 38 D
 ata from the UNESCO Institute
are used where complete statistics, accessed Studies: Arab States’, UNESCO for Statistics Data Centre.
are not available. November 2010. website. Available online at http:// Montréal, Canada.
34 S
 awahel W (2009). Iran: 20-year
30 O
 ECD (2010). Main science and files/55545/11998913265Tunisia. 39 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus.
technology indicators (MSTI): 2010 plan for knowledge-based
economy. University World News. pdf/Tunisia.pdf. 40 S
edition, version 1. Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and 37 G
 lobal Arab Network (2010). AboutASTAR/Overview/tabid/140/
35 M
 adikizela M (2005). The science Default.aspx, accessed 29
Development: Paris, France. and technology system of the Tunisia to boost pharmaceutical &
biotechnological industry. Global September 2010.
31 O
 ECD (2009). Main science and Republic of Tunisia. From ‘Country
Studies: Arab States’, UNESCO Arab Network, 13 January 2010.
technology indicators (MSTI): 2009

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 21
Biopolis is a high-tech biomedical park which the house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses focused
Part 1 government launched in 2003. Since then, the on renewable energy and sustainable technologies.44
country’s biotech expertise has continued to expand GE, BP, Shell, Mitsubishi and Rolls-Royce are among
Scientific landscape and is attracting some big players such as Novartis, those who have joined as strategic partners.45
in 2011 GlaxoSmithKline and Roche.41 Elsewhere, many of the world’s poorest countries
The picture of scientific research is also starting have placed science behind more immediate
to change across the Middle East, where there priorities, such as healthcare and primary education.
are a number of significant new commitments to This is not to say that science and research are not
science. Gas-rich Qatar aims to spend 2.8% of having an impact in the less developed world at
GDP on research by 2015. With a population of just all, or that there are no signs of growth. Cambodia
over 1.4 million (of which around 85% are foreign produced only seven articles in 1996, but increased
workers) and a current GDP of US$128 billion, this this to 114 by 2008. Both Uganda and Peru, in the
target, if realised, would combine to give GERD per same period, increased their outputs four-fold, albeit
capita of US$2,474.42 Since the mid-1990s, the Qatari from low bases (Uganda from 116 to 477 papers, Peru
Government has introduced a number of education from 153 to 600).46 In these countries, as elsewhere,
reforms and has invested around US$133 billion there is often also a wealth of informal innovation
in infrastructure and projects designed to create a carried out by farmers,47 local health practitioners and
knowledge-based economy.43 The United Arab small firms—frequently drawing on local knowledge
The King of Tonkin and retinue on Emirates is attempting to create the world’s first fully and largely unacknowledged in formal metrics, let
their way to a ceremonial blessing of sustainable city and innovation hub—the Masdar alone published in research papers.48
the ground. An illustration for Samuel
Baron’s A description of the kingdom Initiative. Due to open in 2011, Masdar will eventually
of Tonqueen, 1685. From the Royal
Society library and archive.

22 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Box 1.2. Measuring global science the indexing services. Regional, national and
through publications local journals in the non-English-speaking parts
Traditionally, global scientific output has been of the world are often not recognised and,
measured through the analysis of published papers as a consequence, journals, conferences and
in peer-reviewed journals. Peer review means that scientific papers from some countries are not well
the science that is published has been subjected represented by abstracting services.
to independent scrutiny and approved by qualified Much scientific literature is also produced for
scientists, and thereby assures its quality and non-peer-reviewed publications (and hence not
credibility. The volume of scientific literature in covered by Scopus or Web of Science). Often
peer-reviewed journals is vast. Individual articles referred to as ‘grey’ literature, this can include:
are abstracted and collected onto databases which technical reports from government agencies and
are then searchable by their users, usually through NGOs; working papers from research groups
subscription. The most comprehensive of these or committees; government white papers;
services are Scopus (maintained by Elsevier) and conference proceedings and symposia; and a
Web of Science (maintained by Thomson Reuters). growing level of publication on internet sites. All
These services provide access to information of these are potentially valuable contributions
about titles, authors, abstracts, key words and to the global stock of knowledge, but they are
references for thousands of journal articles each not accounted for in traditional assessments of
year. These data are used to assess the quality research output.
of research and, through its use as measured by In its analyses of global science through
citations, its impact. bibliometric data, this report draws exclusively
There are, however, notable gaps in the on these peer-reviewed sources of research,
coverage of the bibliometric databases. In some and specifically on Elsevier data. It is clear that
cases this may mean that the official publication bibliometric data alone do not fully capture the
figures under-represent the true extent of dynamics of the changing scientific landscape.
scientific activity. For example, there are many However, they presently offer the only recognised
peer-reviewed journals which do not appear in and most robust methodology for doing so.

41 S
 ingapore Economic Development See 44 S
 ource: Masdar (2008). See http:// 46 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus.
Board (2010). Pharmaceutical ei/bgn/5437.htm, accessed 8
and biotech companies partner February 2011. 2.8% of 128 billion newsDesc.aspx?News_ 47 S
 coones I & Thompson J
Singapore to accelerate innovation is 3,584 million, which when ID=40&MenuID=0, accessed 29 (2009). Farmer first revisited:
in Asia. Press release, 4 May 2010. divided by the population gives us September 2010. Masdar (the Abu innovation for agricultural research
Singapore Economic Development a figure of 2,474.38. Dhabi Future Energy Company): and development. Institute of
Board: Singapore. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Development Studies at the
43 S
 ource: Qatar Foundation website. University of Sussex: Brighton, UK.
42 A
 uthors’ calculations. Qatar’s See 45 E
 ngland A (2007). Abu Dhabi eyes
population is 1,448,446 and it has output/page559.asp, accessed 30 renewable energy future. Financial 48 S
 TEPS Centre (2010) Innovation,
a GDP of US$128 billion. Source: September 2010. Times, 4 April 2007. sustainability, development: a new
US State Department website. manifesto. STEPS Centre: Brighton,

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 23
Some governments and development partners than publications—between the periods 1999 to
Part 1 are embracing the fact that science is not a luxury 2003 and 2004 to 2008 publications grew by 33%
which is the preserve of developed countries. and citations by 55% (see Figure 1.3).57 However,
Scientific landscape They recognise that technology and innovation are when examining citation patterns, the movement in
in 2011 key to achieving long-term economic and social national performance has not been as dramatic as
development,49 and that science and scientific with publication numbers. Switzerland and Australia
advice are vital assets in governance.50 Paul Kagame, fell down the rankings, to be replaced by China and
President of Rwanda, has been a strong advocate for Spain in the latter period, but the performance of
science for development, saying ‘We in Africa must China, for example, does not mirror that nation’s
either begin to build our scientific and technological growth in investment or publication output. Citations
training capabilities or remain an impoverished continue to be much more concentrated than the
appendage to the global economy.’51 African science journal articles themselves.
ministers resolved in March 2010 that 2011 would be It will take some time for the absolute output of
the start of an African decade for science, promising emerging nations to challenge the rate at which this
increased research budgets and attempts to use research is referenced by the international scientific
science and technology to drive development.52 community. There is also diversification with some
Although encouraging, political commitments to countries showing leadership in specific fields, such
invest in science are greeted cautiously by many as China in nanotechnology,58 and Brazil in biofuels,59
scientists across Africa and in other poor countries. but the scientifically advanced nations continue to
It was in 1980 that African presidents agreed to dominate the citation counts.
increase research spending to 1% of GDP, as part of Citations are, however, only one means of
the Lagos Plan of Action,53 but by 2007 Sub-Saharan benchmarking the excellence of research output.
African countries still spent an average of just 0.5% With over US$1,000 billion each year being spent on
of their GDP on science and technology.54 African R&D, it is unsurprising that funders and governments
leaders reiterated their 1% target, this time agreeing want to know what value they are getting for their
to reach it by 2010,55 but South Africa is the only sub- money.
Saharan country that is close, spending 0.92% in the In the UK, the impact and excellence agenda
2008 to 2009 financial year.56 has developed rapidly in recent years. The Research
Assessment Exercise, a peer review based
1.1.2 Assessing research quality and impact benchmarking exercise which measured the relative
As research output has grown, so have the levels at research strengths of university departments,60 is
which researchers cite one another’s work. Citations due to be replaced with a new Research Excellence
are often used as a means of evaluating the quality Framework, which will be completed in 2014.61
of publications—recognition by an author’s peers The UK Research Councils now (somewhat
indicates that the scientific community values the controversially) ask all applicants to describe the
work that has been published. They are, however, a potential economic and societal impacts of their
lagging indicator, as well as a sometimes crude one. research. The Excellence in Research for Australia
Looking at the global picture in recent years, we (ERA) initiative assesses research quality within
can see that citations are increasing at a greater rate Australia’s higher education institutions using a

24 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
combination of indicators and expert review by Figure 1.3. Comparative proportion
committees comprising experienced, internationally of global citations by country62
recognised experts. The top ten cited countries in each period are shown.
The impact agenda is increasingly important for Fig a. 1999-2003. Fig b. 2004-2008
national and international science (in Europe, the
Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
has spoken about the need for a Europe-wide
‘innovation indicator’).63 The challenge of measuring
the value of science in a number of ways faces all
of the scientific community. Achieving this will offer 27% 30%
new insights into how we appraise the quality of 21%

science, and the impacts of its globalisation. 36%

2% Fig a Fig b
3% 3%
4% 3%
5% 9%
7% 4% 8%
4% 7%
5% 5%

United States
United Kingdom
49 C
 onway G & Waage J (2010). 1980–2000. The Organization of Technology: Cape Town, South 62 D
 ata from Elsevier’s Scopus. Germany
Science and innovation for African Unity was disbanded in Africa. These charts show the top ten Japan
development. UK Collaborative on 2002 and replaced by the African countries by number of citations, France
Development Sciences: London, Union. 57 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. with all other countries included
UK. in the ‘other’ segment. The pie
58 R
 oyal Society (2010). The scientific
54 D
 ata from UNESCO Institute for charts are scaled to represent the Italy
50 R
 oyal Society (2010). Science: an Statistics, published in UNESCO century: securing our future
prosperity. Royal Society: London, increased volume of publications Netherlands
undervalued asset in governance Science Report 2010 (p 2, Table 1). in the two time periods. In
for development. Royal Society: UK. Australia
55 A
 frican Union (2007). Assembly of 1999–2003 there were 23,639,885 Switzerland
London, UK. 59 B
 ound K (2008). Brazil, the natural citations globally, and in 2004–
the African Union, eighth ordinary China
51 K
 agame P (2006). Speech by session, 29–30 January 2007, knowledge economy. Demos: 2008 there were 36,562,135.
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: decisions London, UK. Spain
63 F
 innegan G (2010). Geoghegan-
at the Royal Society on 18 and declarations. Assembly/AU/ 60 S
Quinn: we must communicate our
September 2006. Dec.161 (VIII). African Union: Addis further-and-higher-education/ R&D. (European
Ababa, Ethiopia. higher-education/role-structure- Union Information Website), 5
52 N
 ordling L (2010). African nations
vow to support science. Nature 56 D
 epartment of Science and he-division/he-research-policy/ May 2010. Available online at
465, 994–995. Technology, South Africa (2010). research-assessment-exercise.htm.
South Africa maintains steady innovation/geoghegan-quinn-
53 O
 rganization of African Unity 61 S
growth in R and D expenditure. we-must-communicate-our-rd-
(1980). Lagos plan of action for the research/ref/, accessed 7 January
Press release, 9 September 2010. interview-493702.
economic development of Africa 2011.
Department of Science and

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 25
1.1.3 Global scientists Andre Geim FRS, along with Konstantin Novoselov,
Part 1 Recent decades have seen significant increases in was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010.
the global competition for talent, with the workforce Professor Geim obtained his PhD at the Russian
Scientific landscape in places like Silicon Valley highlighting the role that Academy of Sciences in Chernogolovka, moved
in 2011 skilled migrants can play in innovation and wealth to the UK for postdoctoral positions at Nottingham
creation. Countries like the UK, Australia, Canada and Bath, before then moving on to Copenhagen
and the USA have grappled with contentious policy and Nijmegen, and returning to the UK in 2001 to
decisions, aiming to strike the right balance between the University of Manchester. Now a Royal Society
encouraging the highly skilled on the one hand, and Research Professor, Professor Geim maintains links
discouraging ‘unskilled’ potential migrants on the with colleagues in Russia, and is still a professor in
other. the Netherlands. The 2009 winner for Physics, Sir
With inaccurate data and inconsistent definitions Charles Kao FRS, was born in China. He obtained
of ‘highly skilled’ across the world, it is difficult to his PhD from the University of London, worked at
measure highly skilled migration, particularly among the Standard Telecommunications Laboratory in the
scientists. There is no internationally agreed definition UK, and in both the USA and Germany. Ada Yonath
of ‘highly skilled workers’, although the OECD’s (the first woman from Israel to win a Nobel Prize,
Canberra Manual provides one useful basis for the and currently based at the Weitzmann Institute in
measurement of ‘human resources in science and Rehovot) held postdoctoral positions in the USA
technology’ (HRST). Their definition includes those and worked in Germany before she won the 2009
who have ‘completed education at the third level Chemistry prize. Her co-winner Venkatraman
in a S&T field of study and/or those not formally Ramakrishnan FRS was born in Tamil Nadu, India,
qualified but employed in a S&T occupation where undertook graduate degrees in the USA, and now
such qualifications would normally be required’.64 works in Cambridge, England.
According to OECD analysis the USA, Canada,
Australia and the UK attracted the largest numbers 1.1.4 Brain gain, drain and circulation
of highly skilled expatriates from OECD countries The Nobel Prize examples show the attractive force
in 2001, followed by France and Germany.65 Of the of the strong scientific nations, in particular the USA
UK’s 4.5 million foreign-born adult population, 34.8% and Western Europe. Today issues of ‘brain drain’
had a university-level education. Approximately are usually associated with developing countries, but
19.5% of these migrants had a scientific background, the original phrase was coined by the Royal Society
many of whom hailed from emerging economies in 1963. At the time, the UK was struggling to stem
such as China and India.66 However, we are far the exodus of its top brains to the USA. The Society
from understanding what factors influence these found itself at the centre of a fierce debate as to how
individuals’ choice of location. How long do they to counter this phenomenon,67 with the then Minister
intend to stay? And how do they connect back to of Science, Lord Hailsham, lamenting the ‘parasitising
their research networks from their new home? of British brains’.68
The career paths of recent Nobel prizewinners Today, the focus of discussion has moved from
demonstrate the international outlook of many of preventing ‘brain drain’ to making the most of ‘brain
the world’s most successful scientists. Professor circulation’. It has been argued that old patterns of

26 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
one-way flows of technology and capital from the Indians—to organise policy relating to remittances
core to the periphery are slowly breaking down, and investment flows, as well as relaxing previously
creating far more complex and decentralised two- stringent citizenship requirements to make it easier
way flows of skills, capital and technology, with for potential returnees. Other initiatives to connect
scientists following the best science and the best India with its diaspora have also proven fruitful. The
resources.69 Some governments appreciate the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), for example, was originally
value of ‘brain circulation’ and allocate resources for founded by Indian entrepreneurs based in Silicon
attracting national talent back home to start a new Valley and it now has a global membership of 12,000
business or take up a senior position in academia, people within 11 countries, and has assisted in the
while maintaining useful links back to the USA or creation of businesses worth over US$200 billion in
Europe. India.72
Of the 1.06 million Chinese who studied abroad Elsewhere, Malaysia recently established a
between 1978 and 2006, over 70% did not return.70 It new ‘Talent Corporation’ which will be charged
has been a policy priority for the Chinese Government with connecting with diaspora communities.
to attract this diaspora back. The Thousand Talents Ecuador’s President also announced a US$1.7
Program, established in 2008, has brought more million ‘Prometheus Old Wiseman’ plan to attract
than 600 overseas Chinese and foreign academics senior scientists who see Ecuador as ‘the retirement
back to China. Launching further measures in May destination of brilliant minds’.73
2010, Premier Wen Jiabao announced that, ‘We will Yet attracting back the diaspora is only one
increase spending on talent projects and launch a part of the equation. Finding new ways to connect
series of initiatives to offer talent-favourable policies with diaspora and other communities, and their
in households, medical care and the education of associated global networks, is also critical. Nomadic
children.’71 A range of facilities, both personal and scientists are often keen to maintain scientific and
professional, is essential to ensure that returning informal links with their home countries. Many are
home is an attractive option. eager to contribute but are unsure where to start. In
India, meanwhile, has created a specific supporting international collaboration, these diaspora
government ministry—the Ministry of Overseas communities are an untapped resource.

64 O
 ECD (1995). The measurement of 66 O
 ECD (2008). A profile of immigrant social science. Notes & Records of 71 C
 hen J (2010). Nation aims to
scientific and technological activities: populations in the 21st century: data the Royal Society 63, 4, 339–353. increase talent pool. China Daily, 6
manual on the measurement of from OECD countries. Organisation June 2010.
human resources devoted to S&T: for Economic Co-operation and 69 S
 axenian A (2006). The new
‘Canberra manual’. Organisation Development: Paris, France. Argonauts: regional advantage in a 72 B
 ound K (2007). India: the uneven
for Economic Co-operation and global economy. Harvard University innovator. Demos: London, UK.
Development: Paris, France. 67 R
 oyal Society (1963). The Press: Cambridge, MA, USA.
emigration of scientists. The Royal 73 H
 irschfeld D (2010). Ecuador opens
65 O
 ECD (2002). The global Society: London, UK. 70 S
 ource: its doors to senior scientists. SciDev.
competition for talent: mobility of (Chinese Government’s official Net, 16 August 2010. Available
the highly skilled. Organisation 68 B
 almer B, Godwin M & Gregory J web portal). See http://www. online at
for Economic Co-operation and (2009). The Royal Society and the news/ecuador-opens-its-doors-to-
Development: Paris, France. ‘brain drain’: natural scientists meet content_1622015.htm, accessed senior-scientists.html.
13 October 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 27
In reality, brain drain is still a major problem. At a and computer sciences have seen the highest
Part 1 recent event at the Royal Society, Princess Sumaya growth, both increasing their output by over 100%,
of Jordan reflected on the success of Jordanian but the share of papers in ‘energy’ publications
Scientific landscape graduates in the region and the wider world. ‘Human among scientific output has grown from only 0.73%
in 2011 capital is our greatest natural resource,’ she said, ‘yet to just 1.03%; in computer sciences this share has
it has been exported for many years. It is said that grown from 2.47% to 3.42%. This substantial growth
the French keep the best champagne for themselves. in absolute output has not translated into dramatic
Perhaps we should learn from them.’ Depending on leaps in market share.
the level of scientific capacity at home, migrating Looking more closely at the data we can,
scientists from developing countries are generally however, see some trends in particular fields which
more likely to stay permanently in their new homes reflect emerging or pressing research areas. Keyword
than return to where there are fewer opportunities searches in the Elsevier database on specific terms
and poorer infrastructure. This is a significant highlight some trends. ‘Climate change’, for example,
problem for Africa, a continent which arguably has seen a six-fold increase in usage in research
needs its skilled workers most, but offers the least publications between 1996 and 2008. Such analyses
to keep them or attract them back. The challenge can only be partial—they pick up on ‘buzz words’
for governments in emerging centres of science is which reflect trends in language as much, perhaps,
how to reward talented scientists and enable them to as they do scientific content. That these areas are
foster global networks, while still using them to build growing rapidly, though, is undeniable.
national capacity. The geographic changes in global science do not
themselves appear to have had a direct impact on
1.1.5 Disciplinary shifts? the types of research being conducted. The domestic
With the growth in science globally, it is interesting to conditions of a country, such as government priorities
ask whether the large rise in the number of scientific and the availability of natural, human and economic
publications in recent decades has varied greatly resources have a distinct bearing on scientific
across the disciplines. Indeed, the use of bibliometric output. Considering again the disciplinary spread of
data across the whole of research can mask very research as identified through journal classification,
different patterns in publication activity across the ‘developed’ G7 countries have similar research
disciplines with, for example, life scientists displaying profiles, which are balanced between broad research
a greater propensity to publish than engineers. disciplines, By contrast, the BRIC grouping of major
Available headline data suggest that there has emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India and
not been a dramatic shift in the broad disciplinary China—are weighted towards specific fields; in the
breakdown of research. Between 1996 and 2008 case of China, India and Russia towards engineering,
the total number of academic publications rose by and in Brazil, agriculture and biosciences. In Africa,
43%; looking at the number of articles in specific the focus is on agriculture and medicine. However,
disciplines (as defined by the disciplinary focus of the the emergence of these areas has not to date
journal),74 the overall share by subject area has not changed the global balance of research.
altered dramatically over the same period. Energy Research challenges and interests are changing

28 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
as global science grows, but these changes reflect last decade.76 The Royal Society’s own journals
more the different types of questions being posed, follow a similar trend. In the year from June 2009
rather than the nationality of the people posing the to June 2010, US and UK audiences accounted
questions. for nearly 51% of the readership for the Society’s
seven journals. China now accounts for the third
1.1.6 Reading the research highest number of downloads and subscribers to the
The world’s research papers are produced to be read journals; the four BRIC countries make up 12% of the
by peers in the scientific community, and for the total readership.77
ideas and conclusions to be put to use. So where the Readership has been far from universal. A World
science is being picked up and exploited is just as Health Organisation (WHO) study in 2000 identified
important as where in the world it is being written up. that 56% of institutions in countries with annual
The spread of access to academic journals across the incomes of US$1,000 and less per person had no
world is a key factor in the globalisation of research. current subscriptions to international journals, thereby
Publishers have actively pursued new reader cutting off their scientists from recent developments
markets. Nature launched its China website in 2007, in their fields.78
highlighting research from the Chinese mainland A number of initiatives such as Research4Life
and Hong Kong. Nature India followed in February (R4L)79—set up in direct response to these findings—
2008. The Royal Society now has specific portals and the International Network for the Availability
for those interested in research from Brazil, China, of Research Publications Programme for the
India, Malaysia, Russia and Turkey, and provides Enhancement of Research Information (INASP
information on the website in Chinese, Farsi, Korean, PERii)80 have been established to explicitly improve
Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish.75 access to research journals in the developing world,
The pattern of downloads from Elsevier’s journals allowing free or low-cost access to universities and
show that, unsurprisingly, the largest consumers research institutes which had previously been unable
of their publications are based in the USA, Japan to afford subscription fees. Take-up of R4L has been
and Western Europe. China and South Korea impressive. Bringing together three strands—one
have witnessed a surge in readership over the for biomedical and health literature, a second for

74 T
 his will result in duplication indexing service—Thomson 78 U
 K National Commission for Microsoft, the partnership’s goal
across fields, as a journal such Reuters (Scientific) Inc. Web UNESCO (2008). Improving is to help attain six of the UN’s
as the Royal Society Philosophical of Science. UNESCO (2010). access to scientific information eight Millennium Development
Transactions A will cover each UNESCO Science Report 2010 (pp for developing countries: UK Goals by 2015, reducing the
of the mathematical, physical 10–11). UNESCO Publishing: Paris, learned societies and journal scientific knowledge gap between
and engineering sciences. There France. access programmes. UK National industrialised countries and the
will also be fluctuation between Commission for UNESCO developing world. See http://www.
years, as journal subject areas 75 S
 ee http://royalsocietypublishing. Secretariat: London, UK., accessed 30
are redefined. This, therefore, org/librarians, accessed 29 September 2010.
provides an imperfect indication September 2010. 79 R
 esearch4Life is a public–private
of the disciplinary breadth of partnership of the WHO, 80 S
76 D
 ata from the Elsevier Science FAO, UNEP, Cornell and Yale 5f65fc9017860338882881402d
publication output, but it does Direct database.
indicate the general rate of output. Universities and the International c594e4/perii.html, accessed 29
A similar outcome can be seen in 77 D
 ata from Royal Society Association of Scientific, Technical September 2010.
the UNESCO Science Report 2010, publications, July 2009–June & Medical Publishers. Working
which uses data from another 2010. together with technology partner

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 29
agricultural publications, and a third for environmental of their entire catalogue to institutional libraries that
Part 1 sciences—the platform allows access to material of previously had only subscribed to specific journals.
particular practical interest to developing nations. These deals were done at greatly reduced prices and
Scientific landscape Since its introduction in 2002, the biomedical and most large institutions now have such arrangements
in 2011 health platform ‘HINARI’ alone has provided 2 in place, meaning that readers have access to vastly
million downloads per year of Elsevier’s output. more research outputs than ever before. The second
Individual publishers are also instigating their own was the enormous increase in the capacity to
initiatives. The Proceedings of the National Academy search for and access published research, initially via
of Sciences in the USA has been free online since specialist search engines such as PubMed, and later
1997 to the developing world. In 2006 the UK’s Royal by more general tools, most notably Google (which
Society of Chemistry (RSC) made all of its journal now accounts for almost 60% of all referrals).83
output free through its Archives for Africa project. The ability to search for articles simply and rapidly
Professor Shem O. Wadinga, Director of the using subject keywords, authors or abstract text has
Centre for Science Technology Innovations in Nairobi, opened up much wider access to the entire breadth
and Chair of the Pan Africa Chemistry Network of research outputs.
Kenya hub, is a keen advocate of the RSC’s scheme. Also highly significant has been the birth of
‘Archives for Africa has opened up a rare window the Open Access movement. Recognising that a
for African researchers and libraries in keeping up great deal of published research was funded by the
to date with the latest scientific information. It has public purse (via research councils and universities),
become the point of free access to a wealth of demands arose from various quarters for the resulting
scientific information for African scientists through publications to be made freely available to the public
their libraries.’81 It will take some years to identify who funded them, rather than being limited to
any direct, long-term impact that these schemes subscribers. Publishers, some initially resistant to this
may have on scientific output. An early study notion, have now largely embraced open access,
suggests that there has been a significant increase in not least because most funding bodies now make it
research output in countries eligible for R4L access, a requirement for their grantees. The overwhelming
which outstrips the rate of growth seen in non-R4L majority of the traditional publishers now operate
countries, over the period in which the initiative has an open access option (in exchange for an article
been introduced.82 processing charge secured from authors or their
institutions) and a number of newer publishers have
1.1.7 Opening access emerged who operate an exclusively open access
In the mid-1990s, the advent of the online availability model.
of scientific journals had two highly significant effects The demand for access to published scientific
on the scholarly communications process. The knowledge is set to grow as global science continues
first was a result of the dramatic fall in the costs of to expand. The ‘author pays’ model of Open
dissemination of published content (which no longer Access and the subsidised subscription schemes of
relied solely on physical shipping of printed copies). Research4Life and INASP cater for this demand in
This led to the growth of the so-called ‘big deal’ different ways. The latter have considerably improved
whereby publishers were able to offer online editions access to research literature in the developing world,

30 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Benjamin Franklin’s letter to Peter
Collinson describing the Philadelphia
Experiment, 3 October 1752. From
the Royal Society library and archive.

but there is not yet a corresponding scheme in place 1.2.1 Business R&D
to assist authors with open access charges in these Science is not restricted to academia, nor does
very countries. However, the demand for more it necessarily result in the publication of research
access is not only coming from the developing world. papers. It takes place in many different areas outside
A variety of economic models will be required to universities and research institutes, and is funded
ensure that access is maximised across a range of by a range of different sources. The proportion of
different markets. investment in research as compared to development
varies significantly across the different industrial
1.2 Applying science sectors. For example, in the UK’s telecommunications
A wealth of economic literature describes the impact sector, companies invest roughly four and a half
of knowledge on economic performance.84 For times more money in experimental development
example, studies have shown that technological than they do in research, while companies in the UK
change drives up income levels,85 the relationship aerospace sector spend roughly twice as much on
between high levels of patenting and GDP growth,86 research as they do on development.88
and the positive impact of innovation on business In most of the developed world, R&D activities are
productivity and performance.87 This body of primarily funded by private enterprise, whereas the
evidence has underpinned the efforts of governments public sector plays a more significant role in most
the world over to stimulate economic performance developing countries.89 However, the balance varies
by investing in science and technology—from considerably between nations. In some countries
undirected academic science to research of strategic business investments in R&D far outweigh those of
national importance conducted in government government, universities or other funders. In 2007
laboratories, to support for near-to-market the proportion of total R&D which was funded by
technologies in the private sector. business was 84% in Malaysia, 70% in China, 66% in

81 Interview with Professor Shem O. 84 S

 ee Romer D (1990). Endogenous economic growth. Research Policy in the UK’s private sector between
Wadinga. Quote courtesy of the technical change. Journal of 31, 2, 191–211. 2000 and 2007 was attributable to
Royal Society of Chemistry. Political Economy 98, 5, S71–102; innovation including technological
Mokyr J (1992). The lever of 86 S
 ee Chen D & Dahlman C (2004). advances. National Endowment for
82 S
 ee riches: technological creativity Knowledge and development: a Science, Technology and the Arts:
find/authored_newsitem.cws_ and economic progress. Oxford cross-section approach. World London, UK.
home/companynews05_01269, University Press: Oxford, UK; Bank Policy Research Working
accessed 13 October 2010. Lipsey R, Carlaw K & Bekar C Paper No. 3366. This paper argued 88 S
 ource: UK National Statistics
(2005). Economic transformations: that between 1960 and 2000, (2009). Research and development
83 F
 igure based on analysis of access a 20% annual increase in the in UK businesses 2009—datasets
to Royal Society Publishing general-purpose technologies
and long-term growth. Oxford number of patents granted in the (Table 5). Available online at
journal content. See Rees M USA—whether the technologies
(2010). Speech by Lord Rees, University Press: Oxford, UK; Hall
B & Rosenberg N (eds) (2010). originated locally or overseas— downloads/theme_commerce/
President of the Royal Society, at produced an increase in economic berd-2009/2009-dataset-links.pdf,
Science Online, British Library, 3 Handbook of the economics of
innovation. Elsevier: Amsterdam, growth of 3.8 percentage points. accessed 17 January 2011.
September 2010. Available online World Bank: Washington, DC,
at The Netherlands. 89 U
 NESCO (2009). A global
site/includefiles/Keynote_speech. 85 F
 reeman C (2002). Continental, perspective on research and
pdf. national and sub-national innovation 87 N
 ESTA (2009). The innovation development. UNESCO Institute for
systems—complementarity and index. This report showed that two- Statistics Fact Sheet No 2, October
thirds of the productivity growth 2009 (pp 9–11).

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 31
the USA, and 57% in Australia. In the UK, business previous years. The surveyed companies expect R&D
Part 1 enterprise funded 47% of all expenditure on R&D. investment to continue growing strongly outside the
By contrast, business was responsible for only 29% EU, especially in India and China.93
Scientific landscape of total R&D spending in Argentina and the Russian
in 2011 Federation, 19% in Sri Lanka and 14% in Tunisia.90 Location of business R&D
The role of business in science has grown in Business R&D has become increasingly mobile since
recent years, with the proportion of R&D funded by the mid-1980s, following the internationalisation of
the private sector increasing steadily. In 1981, 52% manufacturing during the 1970s.94 There are now
of the OECD countries’ spending on research and many more large businesses with global research
development was funded by industry; by 2008 this operations, many of whom have located laboratories
had reached nearly 65%.91 in different parts of the world for strategic reasons.
A case in point is Microsoft Research who have set
Is business R&D recession proof? up a number of laboratories and businesses not only
In the aftermath of the global economic crisis in in their core expertise of software, but also in other
2008, private sector R&D investors have struggled fields such as healthcare, energy, environment and
to maintain their levels of investment in R&D. After robotics. Many companies have followed similar
four years of 5% growth in investment year on year, models, such as Sanofi-Aventis (who have R&D
in 2009 R&D spending by the world’s leading 1,400 operations in China, Japan, South Korea, India, the
business R&D investors fell by 1.9% on the previous USA, France, UK and Denmark) and Shell (which
year.92 has technical centres in the USA, the Netherlands,
The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, Norway, Oman,
2010 shows that in 2009 the leading companies Qatar and Singapore). In the period from 1993 to
in Europe had decreased their R&D investment 2002, R&D spending by foreign investors grew
by 2.6% since 2008, and in the USA this fell by from 10% to 16% of global business R&D (from an
5.1%. However, there was an increase of 40% in estimated US$30 billion to US$67 billion).95
China and 27.3% in India. Within Europe there was Developed economies are still the favoured
considerable fluctuation too: French private R&D locations for foreign R&D investors,96 but the
investment fell by 4.5%, but in Spain it grew by growth in the amount of R&D investment flowing to
15.4% on the previous year. Individual sectors have developing countries has been pronounced; the share
also experienced differing fortunes; pharmaceutical of foreign-owned business R&D in the developing
companies increased investment in R&D by over 5%, world grew from 2% to 18% between 1996 and
while the automobile industry’s spend fell by 11.6%. 2002.97
The impact of global recession has not had a uniform The increasingly international profile of business
effect on the patterns of corporate R&D investment. R&D investment is, in part, a reflection of intensifying
Recent survey evidence from the European global competition for leadership and talent in
Commission shows that leading EU-based investors the most important and fastest growing markets.
expect their R&D spending to continue growing Companies that site their R&D activities close to new
between 2010 and 2011, albeit at lower rates than in and emerging markets gain valuable insights into

32 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
how best to meet the needs of those markets. support through defence and other government
The ever more global footprint of business R&D is expenditure.100 Just as business is competitive,
also the result of ‘distributed’ or ‘open’ innovation.98 so policies to attract foreign investment are
Companies using these business models innovate competitive too. Singapore has become a magnet for
by looking outward for new knowledge (eg. pharmaceutical companies, drawn by infrastructure
collaborating or buying/licensing new processes such as A*Star’s Biopolis. More recently, some
or inventions from other companies or locating countries (notably South Korea) have targeted new
their activities in close proximity to scientific and economic stimulus investments in low-carbon
technological centres of excellence) as well as technologies to attract researchers and companies
inward (eg. through their own research). In these investing in R&D.101
cases, firms respond to science and technology that
they see being developed elsewhere, for example 1.2.2 Patent growth
in other companies, universities or overseas. They The application of scientific knowledge can be
promote collaborations and coalitions with others, measured to some extent by the registration of
such as suppliers, customers or academics, to solve overseas patents. Patents are granted for original,
their problems in innovative, competitive ways. non-obvious ideas, processes or products. The
Recruitment of the most talented individuals also registration of patents by individuals and companies
occurs on an international basis.99 not resident in a territory indicates a clear desire
At the same time, governments are doing more to commercialise the research in that region.
to exert an influence on the investment decisions of Registrations in the world’s biggest single market, the
high-spending and increasingly mobile companies. USA, are a good indicator for this, reflecting also the
Policies designed to attract foreign investment size of the US market and the growing integration of
include incentives such as tax credits, direct support R&D. Approximately 50% of patents now registered
for capital facilities and R&D expenditure, and indirect in the US Patent and Trademark Office are from

90 D
 ata from the UNESCO Institute 94 K
 arlsson M (ed) (2006). The (Swedish Institute for Growth and practice. Oxford University
for Statistics Data Centre, internationalization of corporate Policy Studies): Stockholm, Press: Oxford, UK.
Montréal, Canada; 2007 figures R&D: leveraging the changing Sweden.
used, or last available year. geography of innovation. ITPS 99 L
 ittle A (2005). Internationalisation
(Swedish Institute for Growth 97 U
 NCTAD (2005). World of R&D in the UK: a review of the
91 T
 hese averages are of course over Policy Studies): Stockholm, investment report 2005: evidence. Office of Science and
figures which vary considerably Sweden. transnational corporations and Technology (now Government
between different members of the the internationalization of R&D. Office for Science): London, UK.
OECD. 95 U
 NCTAD (2005). World United Nations Conference on
investment report 2005: Trade and Development: Geneva, 100 UNCTAD (2005). Globalisation of
92 E
 uropean Commission (2010). transnational corporations and Switzerland. R&D and developing countries:
Monitoring industrial research: the internationalization of R&D. proceedings of the expert meeting,
the 2010 EU industrial R&D United Nations Conference on 98 C
 hesbrough H (2003). Open Geneva, 24–26 January 2005.
investment scoreboard. European Trade and Development: Geneva, innovation: the new imperative United Nations Conference on
Commission: Brussels, Belgium. Switzerland. for creating and profiting from Trade and Development: Geneva,
technology. Harvard Business Switzerland.
93 T
 uebke A (2009). The 2008 EU 96 K
 arlsson M (ed) (2006). The School Press: Boston, MA, USA;
survey on R and D investment internationalization of corporate Dodgson M, Gann D & Salter 101 Royal Society (2010). The scientific
business trends. European R&D: leveraging the changing A (2008). The management of century: securing our future
Commission: Brussels, Belgium. geography of innovation. ITPS technological innovation: strategy prosperity. Royal Society: London,

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 33
outside the USA—a figure that has remained largely great uncertainties, but it helps illustrate the shifts in
Part 1 constant since 1989.102 the commercialisation of science now taking place.
There are a number of countries, especially on the
Scientific landscape western edge of the Pacific, that have registered a 1.3 Drivers of research
in 2011 dramatic increase in the volume of patents they are The story of 21st-century science so far is one of
registering in the USA (see Table 1.2). The volumes dramatic growth and broadening horizons. There are
involved, relative to world-leading countries like more people conducting research, spending more
Japan, are still very small: China registered 1,655 money, publishing and accessing science than ever
patents in the USA in 2009 (up from only 52 in 1989, before.
and 90 in 1999); Japan registered 35,501. South The 2009 Turkish Academy of Sciences Science
Korea, having leapt from only 159 registered patents Report describes the motivation of researchers as ‘a
in the USA in 1989, is now the third highest patenting burning curiosity, a tormenting need to know.’104 This
overseas country in the USA, with 8,762 patents curiosity is unfailing. Science is growing because
registered in 2009. people are still trying to answer all types of questions
If these countries maintain this rate of patenting and solve problems. Today’s scientists are the heirs
growth, the impact will be dramatic. Extrapolating to the natural philosophers who established the
recent trends, China will overtake Japan in annual scientific societies of the 17th century. They are
US patents by 2028, and South Korea by 2018. Of seeking to ‘shape out a new philosophy or perfect
course, this simple extrapolation is subject to very the old’,105 to satisfy their curiosity, and to provide
solutions to the questions of the day.

Table 1.2. Top 11 overseas patent registrations at the US

Patent Office.103
1989 1999 2009
Japan 20,169 Japan 31,104 Japan 35,501
Germany 8,352 Germany 9,337 Germany 9,000
France 3,140 France 3,820 South Korea 8,762
UK 3,100 Chinese Taipei 3,693 Chinese Taipei 6,642
Canada 1,960 UK 3,576 Spain 6,472
Switzerland 1,362 South Korea 3,562 Canada 3,655
Italy 1,297 Canada 3,226 UK 3,175
Netherlands 1,061 Italy 1,492 France 3,140
Sweden 837 Sweden 1,401 China 1,655
Chinese Taipei 591 Switzerland 1,279 Israel 1,404
Australia 501 Netherlands 1,247 Italy 1,346
USA 50,184 USA 83,905 USA 82,382
Global total 95,537 Global total 153,485 Global total 167,349
Source: US Trademark and Patent Office

34 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
1.3.1 Securing prosperity and staying productivity and advance the overall economic and
competitive social development in a co-ordinated and sustainable
Science and innovation are recognised the world manner.’109
over as crucial to economic competitiveness. The As the world responded to the global financial
European Commission has a formal target to spend crisis in 2008 and 2009, many governments outlined
3% GDP on R&D across the Union, and research economic stimulus packages—short-term injections
policy is a key component of the Union’s strategy for of money combined with other policy measures
jobs and growth.106 In a speech to the Royal Society designed to kick-start their domestic economies.
in April 2010, German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel Science and innovation featured prominently in these
explained that ‘the prosperity of a country such as strategies110; investment in green technologies was
Germany […] must be sought through investment a priority in South Korea and Australia,111 and the
in research, education and science, and this to a USA pledged ‘the largest commitments to scientific
disproportionate degree’.107 research and innovation in American history.’112 The
The rapidly emerging economies have all recognition that science can drive economic growth
prioritised science and innovation, and have steadily is by no means new. In 1945, Vannevar Bush outlined
increased their investment in research to drive the role that science and technology could play in
development. In China, where many members of preserving the health and wealth of post-war USA.113
the government are themselves trained scientists Models of economic growth have increasingly
and engineers,108 the long-term plan for science recognised the role of science and new technology in
and technology (2006 to 2020) states ‘we need to promoting productivity increases.114
depend even more heavily on S&T progress and The Royal Society and other UK scientific bodies
innovation in order to achieve substantial gains in recently examined the contribution of science to

102 US Patent and Trademark Office 105 Royal Society (1662). First charter. the other seven members of the packages, innovation and long term
(2010). Patent counts by country/ See political bureau of the central growth. Organisation for Economic
state and by year: utility patents about-us/history/royal-charters/, committee of the Communist Co-operation and Development:
January 1, 1963–December 31, accessed 30 September 2010. Party of China are engineers or Paris, France.
2009. US Patent and Trademark scientists (the other two being a
Office: Alexandria, VA, USA. 106 European Commission (2010). lawyer and an economist). 112 Obama B (2009). Speech by US
Europe 2020: a European strategy President Barack Obama at the
103 US Patent and Trademark Office for smart, sustainable and inclusive 109 The State Council of The People’s 146th Annual Meeting of the US
(2010). Patent counts by country/ growth. European Commission: Republic of China (2006). The National Academy of Sciences.
state and by year: utility patents Brussels, Belgium. national medium- and long-term
January 1, 1963–December 31, program for science and technology 113 Bush V (1945). Science the endless
2009. US Patent and Trademark 107 Merkel A (2010). Speech by development (2006–2020): an frontier. A report to the President
Office: Alexandria, VA, USA. German Chancellor Angela Merkel outline. The State Council of The by Vannevar Bush, Director of the
on being awarded the King Charles People’s Republic of China: Beijing, Office of Scientific Research and
104 TUBA (2010). Turkish Academy II medal at the Royal Society on PR China. Development, July 1945. United
of Sciences 2009 science report. 1 April 2010. Transcript available States Government Printing Office:
Turkish Academy of Sciences: online at http://royalsociety. 110 Royal Society (2010). The scientific Washington, DC, USA.
Ankara, Turkey. Evidence provided org/chancellor-merkel-speech/, century: securing our future
by the Turkish Academy of accessed 30 September 2010. prosperity. Royal Society: London, 114 Solow R (1956). A contribution to
Sciences in response to the Royal UK. the theory of economic growth.
Society Global Science Report call 108 President Hu Jintao is a hydraulic Quarterly Journal of Economics
for evidence, February 2010. engineer, Prime Minister Wen 111 OECD (2009). Policy responses 70, 1, 65–94.
Jiabao is a geologist, and five of to the economic crisis: stimulus

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 35
the economic prosperity of the UK.115 Each of these 1.3.3 National science in a global age
Part 1 studies drew on economic history, recent academic The global science landscape is underpinned by
studies, and domestic and international examples,116 national infrastructures, which reflect the research
Scientific landscape to illustrate the strong relationship between priorities, capacity and strengths of individual
in 2011 investment in science, scientific productivity, countries. Science is a cross-border enterprise, but
innovation and economic growth. By creating these activities are still strongly connected to, and
new ideas, new industries and new technologies, in some cases anchored in, national systems, either
and training skilled people, science is crucial to through funding, governance arrangements or simply
economies at all stages of development, whether because of location.
they are manufacturing strongholds or dominated by Levels of research investment and activity vary
service industries.117 considerably between nations. Among the G7
economies alone the differences are striking. The
1.3.2 Addressing global challenges proportion of GDP spent on R&D varies from 1.14%
Science, technology and innovation are more than (Italy),119 to 3.45% (Japan).120 In Italy, research is
simply tools for advancing the cause of one nation. funded primarily by government (49% GOVERD). In
Recent meetings of global networks such as the G8 Japan, the lion’s share of R&D investment comes
and the G20, or regional meetings of the European from business (78% BERD).
Commission, the Association of Southeast Asian Comparisons of scientific architecture also reveal
Nations (ASEAN), and the African Union demonstrate important differences between countries. In the UK,
the contribution of science in addressing cross-border the majority of ‘academic’ research takes place in
issues. Global challenges such as climate change, universities, with non-university labs representing
food, water and energy security all feature highly only a small proportion of research activity. In
on the agenda, and require politicians to engage Germany, university research is complemented by
with science globally and locally in order to identify Gesellschaften and Gemeinschaften—the Max-Planck
sustainable solutions. There is also an important role and Fraunhofer Societies and the Helmholtz and
for science in addressing concerns such as poverty Leibniz Associations—non-profit, legally independent
alleviation, sustainability and diversity.118 research organisations, which between them run
The contribution that science can make to over 200 institutes, and employ over 65,000 people.121
combating these issues—both in identifying problems In China and Russia, the national academies are
and risks, and in providing technical solutions—will leading research organisations, running their own
be investigated further in Part 3. institutes (the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the
world’s most prolific publishing research organisation,

36 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Red chalk drawing of sand, Antoni
Van Leeuwenhoek, 1704. From the
Royal Society library and archive.

with over 50,000 papers coming from its institutes Science and Technology has set out as a key goal
in the period 2004 to 2008). In the US, specialised ‘actively expanding co-operation and international
national laboratories (run by the government or integration in S&T.’124
the private sector) are commonplace. The US
Department of Energy has 21 National Laboratories 1.4 Centres for science
and Technology Centers, employing over 30,000 Scientific activities are not only unevenly distributed
scientists and engineers between them, while the US between nations, but also within them (see Figure
Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research 1.4). In the USA in 2004, more than three-fifths of
agency, the Agricultural Research Service, employs R&D spending was concentrated in ten states—with
over 2,000 scientists in more than 100 laboratories.122 California alone accounting for more than one-fifth.125
A feature of almost all national science and In most countries there is a degree of concentration
innovation strategies is an acknowledgement of the of research activity in particular places. Moscow
importance of international collaboration. By being accounts for 50% of Russian research articles;
international in outlook, a nation can enhance the Tehran, Prague, Budapest and Buenos Aires each
quality of its domestic science, absorb expertise and top 40% of their national outputs, and London,
ideas from partners and competitors around the Beijing, Paris and Sao Paolo are each responsible for
world, share risk and pool resources. The Science over 20%.
and Technology Policy Council of Finland has clearly Among the most prolific publishing cities, Nanjing
articulated the importance of a strong international has leapt 66 places into the top 20 since 1996 to
strategy. ‘Through internationalisation, competition 2000. One of the Four Great Capitals of China,
and co-operation, Finland can improve the quality of Nanjing has long been a centre for education. Today,
research, reduce overlapping knowledge production, the city is home to seven national universities, the
pool existing resources into larger entities and deploy People’s Liberation Army University of Science and
them to important targets.’123 Other countries have Technology, several other national colleges and
also adopted a similar outlook; in its most recent S&T provincial universities, and numerous industrial parks.
Development Strategy, the Vietnamese Ministry of

115 Royal Society (2010). The scientific new manifesto. STEPS Centre: German research institutions at a Technology Policy Council of
century: securing our future Brighton, UK; Conway G & Waage glance. Bundesministerium für Finland: Helsinki, Finland.
prosperity. Royal Society: London, J (2010). Science and innovation for Bildung und Forschung (BMBF):
UK. development. UK Collaborative on Bonn, Germany. 124 See
Development Sciences: London, Desktop.aspx/Details-Article/
116 Lipsey R, Carlaw K & Bekar C UK. 122 USDA (2010). 2010 performance News/The_Conference_on_
(2005). Economic transformations: and accountability report (p 186). implementing_Vietnam_ST_
general purpose technologies 119 Data from the UNESCO Institute US Department of Agriculture: Development_Strategy_for_
and long-term economic growth. for Statistics Data Centre, Washington, DC, USA. See also the_2001-2010_period_reviewing_
Oxford University Press: Oxford, Montréal, Canada; 2006 figures ST_results_for_the_2006-
UK. used (last available year). AboutUs.htm, accessed 14 2010_period_task_directions_/,
January 2011. accessed 10 January 2011.
117 Royal Society (2009). Hidden 120 Data from the UNESCO Institute
wealth: the contribution of science for Statistics Data Centre, 123 Science and Technology Policy 125 Source: US National Science
to service sector innovation. Royal Montréal, Canada; 2007 figures Council of Finland (2003). Foundation (2007). Science and
Society: London, UK. used (last available year). Knowledge, innovation and engineering indicators 2008 (ch 4,
internationalisation. Science and p 5). National Science Foundation:
118 STEPS Centre (2010) Innovation, 121 Federal Ministry of Education Arlington, VA, USA.
sustainability, development: a and Research, Germany (2008).

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 37
Figure 1.4. Top 20 publishing cities 2004–2008, and their growth since 1996–2000.126
Part 1
Scientific landscape
in 2011


Toronto London Beijing

New York Madrid
Philadelphia Tokyo
Los Angeles Rome Nanjing
Washington DC
Hong Kong

Sao Paulo

Key City with highest publication output in the period 2004-2008;

growth is since period 1996-2000.

Decreased or stayed constant

Increased 5-10 places

Increased 10-20 places

Increased 20+ places

38 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
São Paulo’s rise of 21 places in the list of top educational and research excellence.130 Its publication
publishing cities in the last decade reflects the rapid output in 2004 to 2008 was greater than that of the
growth of Brazilian scientific activity, and the city’s whole of Argentina. The University of Cambridge
role as the capital of the state with the strongest (whose output in 2004 to 2008 was equivalent to
scientific tradition. The State of São Paolo’s 1947 more than the Ukraine) is a Nobel hothouse with
constitution includes an article which ensures that 88 affiliated scientists having been awarded the
1% of all state revenue goes towards research. accolade since the inception of the prize in 1904.131
According to Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, the Established research centres are no longer
scientific director of FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo necessarily confined to their geographic location.
à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo—the Research Universities and research organisations are not
Council for the State of São Paulo), ‘no other science merely national institutions, they are global brands—
funding agency in possibly the whole world has which exert a pull of their own on mobile students,
that kind of security and autonomy [from the federal researchers and investment. Some European and US
government].’127 universities have established outposts in Asia: the
In today’s competitive quest for corporate R&D Chinese campuses of the Universities of Nottingham
investment, scientific facilities or global talent, it is and Liverpool are two examples. Nor are research
increasingly regions and cities rather than countries funders restricted to their national borders. The
that are the relevant units and sites.128 Leading UK-based Wellcome Trust supports institutions in
scientific cities and their regions are successful South East Asia, India and across Africa, including a
because they facilitate knowledge exchange between network of 50 research centres through its African
clustered institutions and organisations. They usually Institutions Initiative.132
offer a higher concentration of diverse talent, capable The importance of strong institutional
of fostering a more knowledge-intensive economy. infrastructure is recognised in countries with
And the region or city itself provides an attractive developing scientific ambitions. Over the last 15
location in which to work, invest and research.129 years, Chile has created a programme of establishing
and funding ‘Centres of Excellence’ and ‘Millennium
1.4.1 Centres of research and infrastructure Institutes’ in fields as diverse as mathematical
Within these cities, individual research organisations modelling, oceanography, astronomy and systems
and universities are also major hubs of scientific biology.133 In India, the government’s 11th Five Year
activity. Harvard University has dominated university Plan (2007–2012) commits to the establishment of 30
league tables for the past decade as a beacon of new Central Universities, 20 Institutes of Information

126 Analysis by Elsevier based on data National Endowment for Science, 130 Harvard University and Harvard the Royal Society Global Science
from Scopus. Technology and the Arts (NESTA): Medical School. Report call for evidence, February
London, UK. 2010.
127 Petherick A (2010). High hopes 131 Source: University of Cambridge
for Brazilian Science. Nature 465, 129 Florida R (2008). Who’s your website. See 133 Evidence provided by the Chilean
674–675. city?: how the creative economy, Academy of Sciences in response
is making where to live the most accessed 5 October 2010. to the Royal Society Global
128 Athey G et al. (2007). Innovation important decision of your life. Basic Science Report call for evidence,
and the city: how innovation has Books: New York, NY, USA. 132 Evidence provided by the February 2010.
developed in five city-regions. Wellcome Trust in response to

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 39
Technology (IIITs), eight Institutes of Technology Rabi, the Nobel prizewinning physicist,137 explained
Part 1 (IITs), seven Institutes of Management (IIMs), and to UNESCO, the aim of this facility was to assist in
five Institutes of Science Education and Research ‘the search for new knowledge in fields where the
Scientific landscape (IISERs), each intended to foster future excellence in effort of any one country in the region is insufficient
in 2011 research.134 for the task.’138 Today, through core funding from
Developments in the Middle East are equally 20 European member states and contributions
striking. Saudi Arabia has recently opened its new from other observers, CERN’s powerful particle
King Abdullah University for Science and Technology accelerators and detectors are used by physicists
(KAUST). With an endowment of around US$20 hailing from nearly 600 institutes and 85 countries.139
billion, KAUST is attracting faculty and postgraduate The competition to host such facilities is fierce,
students from across the world. As a graduate-only as they can impact directly on the national science
institution, it aims to rival the California Institute system and community which is hosting the facility.
of Technology for prestige within 20 years.135 The dark skies above the Atacama desert in Chile
The university has also successfully established made it an ideal location for the European Space
partnerships with leading international universities, Observatory (ESO)’s ‘Very Large Telescope’. But as
including Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College, well as drawing European researchers to the country,
and expects these links to yield many new the telescope has provided a boon to Chilean
collaborative projects over the next decade. astronomy domestically. Chilean researchers are
Some of these research institutes are home entitled to up to 10% of the total observing time on
to large pieces of scientific equipment. KAUST ESO telescopes, which has made these researchers
has become the latest university to host a very popular as potential collaborative partners.140
supercomputer. Some of the top 25 most powerful There are two bids to host the proposed Square
computing facilities in the world are hosted at the Kilometre Array (SKA—an international effort to build
Universities of Edinburgh, Texas, Moscow State and the world’s largest radio telescope), one a consortium
Tennessee, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.136 from Australia and New Zealand, and the other from
These supercomputers can be a draw for researchers South Africa. In Australia, as part of the bid, the
in particular fields such as climate modelling and International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
astrophysics, where this capacity is essential. (ICRAR) was opened in Perth in 2009,141 and the
It is not only universities that are acting as Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP)
institutional hubs. The need for large, state-of-the-art is due for completion in 2013142 —both major
equipment, and the cost of building and maintaining domestic infrastructure projects financed, in part, to
these facilities has influenced research locations demonstrate their commitment to the SKA project.
for many years. The European Organization for The South African bid has received support from the
Nuclear Research (CERN) was established in 1954 African Union,143 and the MeerKAT telescope will also
on the Franco–Swiss border at Geneva. As Isidor be commissioned in 2013.

40 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
1.5 A new world order? decreasing their proportion of global spend and
Changes in the scientific league tables have output on R&D, they are still growing in absolute
concerned policy makers and observers in the terms. The USA may rank low in terms of its annual
‘leading’ scientific nations for some time. In ‘Rising growth rate for publications, but this is on the basis
above the Gathering Storm’, the US National of an increase of 23,804 publications over the period
Academies warned that ‘the world is changing 1996 to 2008, or an average increase of 1,831 papers
rapidly, and our advantages are no longer unique’, year on year—more than the total 2008 production
and called for a ‘renewed effort to bolster our of Algeria. China may ‘add an Israel’ each year, but
competitiveness’.144 More recently, Congress this is in the context of a relatively small base, with a
has asked the National Academies in the USA to rapidly growing scientific workforce.
investigate the competitive position of the USA’s Science is happening in more places but it
research universities in the global community.145 In remains concentrated. There continue to be
March 2010, the Royal Society warned that ‘[the major hubs of scientific production—flagship
UK’s] scientific leadership, which has taken decades universities and institutes clustered in leading cities.
to build, can be quickly lost.’146 The scientific league What is changing is that the number of these
tables are not just about prestige—they are a hubs is increasing and they are becoming more
barometer of a country’s ability to compete on the interconnected. The scientific superpowers of the
world stage. 20th century remain strong, and are being joined by
There is no doubt that the leading scientific relative newcomers—China, India, Brazil, South Korea
nations of the late 20th century face increasing and others—who are changing the dynamic of the
competition from around the world, but to say that global science community. The emergence of these
they are in decline would be premature. While the new hubs is creating opportunities for researchers to
USA, Japan, Germany, the UK and others may be work with new people in new places.

134 Planning Commission, 138 Royal Society (1986). John Bertram fund for astronomy: 10 years of and Institute of Medicine (2005).
Government of India (2008). Adams. 24 May 1920–3 March productive scientific collaboration. Rising above the gather-ing
Eleventh five year plan 2007–12: 1984. Biographical Memoirs of The European Space Observatory storm: energizing and employing
volume I: inclusive growth. Oxford Fellows of the Royal Society 32, (ESO) Messenger 125, 56. America for a brighter economic
University Press: New Delhi, India. 6. Royal Society: London, UK. Sir future. National Academies Press:
John Adams FRS spent much 141 Pockley P (2009). New labs boost Washington, DC, USA.
135 Corbyn Z (2009). Oasis in the of his career at CERN, and was Australian array bid. Physics World
desert. Times Higher Education, instrumental in building the giant October 2009. 145 US House Committee on Science,
5 November 2009. particle accelerators there. See Space and Technology (2009).
142 Westmeier T & Johnston S (2010). Four congressional leaders ask
136 Source: Top 500 Supercomputer also The Australian square kilometre
history/sirjohn.html, accessed 17 National Academies to assess
Sites (2010). See http://www. array pathfinder. Proceedings of condition of research universities., January 2011. Science (ISKAF2010), 056. Press release, 22 June 2009.
accessed 30 September 2010. 139 Source: CERN website. See http:// US House of Representatives:
143 African Union (2010). Assembly
137 Isidor Rabi won the Nobel Prize in of the African Union, fifteenth Washington, DC, USA.
Physics in 1944 ‘for his resonance About/Global-en.html, accessed ordinary session, 25–27 July 2010,
30 September 2010. 146 Royal Society (2010). The scientific
method for recording the magnetic Kampala, Uganda. Assembly/AU/ century: securing our future
properties of atomic nuclei’. See 140 Interview with Dr Ken Rice, Dec.303(XV) (p 1). African Union: prosperity. Royal Society: London, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. UK.
physics/laureates/1944/, accessed August 2010. See also The
7 January 2011. 144 US National Academy of Sciences,
Messenger (2006). ESO–Chile National Academy of Engineering

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 41
1.6 The world beyond 2011 South Korea and Brazil all maintain targets for R&D
Part 1 The balance of funding for science across the spending alongside other policies designed to boost
globe is likely to change over the coming years as inputs into their national science system. China
Scientific landscape new scientific hubs and leaders emerge. In most intends to increase its spending on R&D to 2.5%
in 2011 cases, these emerging hubs are supported by of GDP by 2020 from its value of less than 2% at
explicit government policy to support R&D: China, present,147 South Korea 5% by 2022,148 and Brazil
2.5% by 2022.149 Many longer established scientific
Figure 1.5. R&D spending, selected countries 2000–2015; nations also maintain targets for R&D spending,
the dotted lines indicate projections, based on announced targets.151 such as the USA’s new target of over 3% of GDP,150
and the EU’s similar Lisbon goal of 3% of member
600 countries’ GDP.
It is difficult to predict the course of R&D spending
over future years (for example, recent significant
500 reductions in the 2011 science budget in Brazil have
raised concerns about progress towards its 2022
target). However, by extrapolating current trends to
400 forecast the way in which the global league table of
spending might change if each country meets their
US$bn (ppp)

current spending targets for R&D, we can suggest

300 what the scientific world might look like within the
next decade.
Figure 1.5 shows the effects of countries meeting,
or being on course to meet, their respective R&D
targets.151 It can be seen that while the USA should
maintain its current dominance of global R&D
spending, China is set to leap above Japan in
spending terms, and to chase the USA. Similarly,
0 South Korea is highly likely to overtake the UK in
















coming years. Assuming these targets are met,

United States
Korea, Republic of
United Kingdom

42 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Russia and Brazil will also catch up rapidly with Figure 1.6. Linear extrapolation of future
longer established research spenders, from very low publication trends.155
bases at the start of the decade. The dotted lines indicate projections
These projections suggest that the global science 35%
system is breaking away from its earlier pattern,
at least as measured by the supply of inputs in the
form of R&D spending. China and South Korea meet 30%
their own ambitious R&D spending targets, driving
huge new expenditures into their respective science 25%

systems, while economies like Brazil and Russia also
promise substantially greater resources for R&D
spending.152 20%

In terms of publications, the landscape is set to
change even more dramatically if current trends 15%
continue, as can be seen in Figure 1.6. China has

already overtaken the UK as the second leading 10%

producer of research publications, but some time
before 2020 it is expected to surpass the USA.153
Projections vary, but a simple linear interpretation of 5%
Elsevier’s publishing data suggests that this could
take place as early as 2013.154 Of course, in practice, 0%
this will not follow a linear progression (we do not
expect that the USA will decrease their share of global

147 The State Council of the People’s the US National Academies of spending until 2007, forecasts from 154 See also Shelton R & Foland P Key
Republic of China (2006). The Science, 27 April 2009. that date. Some discrepancies will (2009).The race for world leadership China
national medium- and long-term occur between the forecast for of science and technology: status China
151 GDP figures from the IMF World United States
program for science and technology R&D spending as a percentage of and forecasts. Proceedings of the United States
Economic Outlook, forecasts United Kingdom
development (2006–2020): an GDP, and the forecasts for GDP 12th International Conference on United Kingdom
outline. The State Council of the from 2008 to 2009. R&D targets growth in the period 2007 to Scientometrics and Informetrics, Germany
are generally expressed as a Germany
People’s Republic of China: Beijing, 2009. OECD Science, Technology Rio de Janeiro, 14–17 July 2009 Korea, Republic of
China. fraction of GDP to be achieved and Industry Outlook 2008. Table (pp 369–380). Shelton and Foland
Korea, Republic of
by a set date. A simple linear 2.2 summarises R&D spending forecast, based on present trends, India
148 Ministry of Education, Science growth from current GDP to target France
targets. that China will near parity with France
and Technology (2009). Major provided the path towards the the USA and EU in scientific Japan
policies and plans for 2010 (p 20). target. Exceptions are: the USA, 152 See also Gilman D (2010). The new
publications in less than 10 years Brazil
Ministry of Education, Science and which has not provided a date geography of global innovation. Brazil
from this writing, when using a
Technology: Seoul, South Korea. for the 3% target established by Goldman Sachs Global Markets more complex model using GERD
President Obama to be met; we Institute: New York, NY, USA. share forecasts as further input
149 Kugler H (2011). Brazil releases have assumed 2014. Japan has set This suggests China will overtake
science blueprint. SciDev.Net, 7 into the model.
a target of 1% of GDP for public Japanese R&D expenditure by
January 2011. Available online at expenditure only, to be achieved as early as 2012, compared to 155 Analysis by Elsevier based on by 2010. We have assumed that the more conservative forecast data from Scopus. This indicates a
brazil-releases-science-blueprint. private expenditure continued to presented here. simple linear projection of the data.
html, accessed 17 January 2011 grow with GDP over the remainder
of the forecast period. OECD MSTI 153 Adams J (2010). Get ready for
150 Obama B (2009). Speech delivered China’s domination of science. New
by President Barack Obama at figures used for existing R&D
Scientist 2742, 6 January 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 43
publications to nothing in the next 50 years), but the How will, for example, France and Japan respond to
Part 1 potential for China to match US output in terms of the impending competition? Japanese policy makers
sheer numbers in the near to medium term is clear. are already considering how to reverse their decline,
Scientific landscape China’s rise is undoubtedly the most striking, introducing a ‘Global 30’ initiative to improve the
in 2011 but Brazil, India and South Korea are following fast international standing of their top universities,157 and
behind, and are set (on the basis of this simple the French Government has committed substantial
extrapolation of existing trends) to surpass the investment to research and higher education in order
output of France and Japan by the start of the to strengthen its global position.158
next decade. In many respects this should not We have seen that there continue to be leading
come as a great surprise. Brazil and India host two hubs for science—both those which are well
of the world’s largest populations, and both have established and a number which have emerged
committed to increasing their spending on science rapidly. Hubs will continue to operate, since much
as their economies grow. South Korea is home to of science requires a critical mass of people and
globally successful R&D-intensive industries such as equipment to produce at world class level. At the
Samsung; it is noted as a technology leader, and has same time, more science is also being produced
been called the ‘most wired’ nation on earth.156 away from these centres, on a smaller scale. How
These are, of course, publication statistics taken these hubs interact with each other, and with the rest
in isolation, and any number of external factors could of the scientific world, will help determine the shape
impact on the projected course for increased output. of the scientific landscape in 2020.

Map showing the route of H.M.S.

Challenger during its oceanographic
voyage,1873. From the Royal Society
library and archive.

156 McCurry J (2010). South Korea News Online, 3 January 2008. 157 See 158 Royal Society (2010). The scientific
counts the cost of being the most Available online at e-kokusaika/index.html, accessed century: securing our future
wired nation on earth. The Age, 30 September 2010. prosperity. Royal Society: London,
18 July 2010; Ash L (2008). South continents/7167890.stm. UK.
Korea’s ‘e-sports’ stars. BBC

44 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

Part 2
International collaboration
Figure demonstrating the methods used by Dr Tamar Makin, Royal Society
Newton International Fellow, FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, and
colleagues to construct functional maps in the human brain, using Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI). This image was published in Orlov T, Makin
T, Zohary E (2010). Topographic Representation of the Human Body in
the Occipitotemporal Cortex. Neuron 68, pp 586-600, 4 November 2010
Authors: Tanya Orlov, Tamar R Makin, Ehud Zohary. ©Elsevier 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 45
The second charter of the Royal Society in 1663 Figure 2.1. Increase in the proportion of the
Part 2 granted the right to its members ‘to enjoy mutual world’s papers produced with more than
intelligence and affairs with all and all manner of one international author, 1996–2008.161
International strangers and foreigners, without any disturbance
collaboration whatsoever in matters or things philosophical, 40%

mathematical or mechanical.’159 35%

There was good reason to look beyond 30%
17th-century England for scientific inspiration. The
foundations for the European scientific renaissance













had been laid by scholars from all over the world.
Algebra was introduced by a 9th-century Baghdad
scholar, Musa al-Khwarizmi, following study of
Indian number systems developed by Aryabhatta. advantage over other nations. Academic researchers
China, in the same century, saw the first reference rarely have nationalist motivations for their work,
in a Taoist text to ‘fire medicine’, or gunpowder. instead being driven by curiosity and competition.
Each continent has its own rich history of scientific These individuals often move and collaborate to
and innovative achievements, inspired not only by access funds, resources and data, and to ally with the
curiosity, but necessity—Mesoamerican and Egyptian most talented researchers.162
agriculturalists would read the stars to know when to Scientific research funded by national
cultivate their crops. governments is increasingly a joint venture and the
As science has expanded in the late 20th and benefits are spread more and more beyond national
into the 21st century, it has become increasingly borders. Governments have to consider how best
interconnected. Today, less than 26% of papers to ensure that their scientists are ‘tapped into’ the
are the product of one institution alone, and over a networked system of global science so as to derive
third have multiple nationalities sharing authorship as much benefit from the networks as possible.
(see Figure 2.1).160 Collaboration can enhance the
impact of research and bring together a diversity of 2.1 Patterns of collaboration
experience, funding and expertise to bear on a large In March 2010, Physics Letters B published the most
range of research questions. multi-authored research paper to date, when 3,222
One of the fundamental tensions at the heart researchers from 32 different countries contributed to
of today’s science is between the motives of a study of ‘charged-particle multiplicities’ measured
national governments and the choices of individual with the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron
researchers. National governments often fund Collider in Geneva.163 Similarly, the Human Genome
scientific research to boost national prestige, to Project,164 a government-sponsored consortium of
stimulate economic growth and to gain competitive 20 institutions in six countries engaged thousands

46 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
of scientists to successfully sequence the human growth of international collaboration is common to
genome in just 13 years.165 These large-scale all countries. However, while the USA, Europe and
collaborations demonstrate the extent to which Japan are demonstrating a growing propensity to
science can draw in a multitude of actors to address collaborate with global partners, China, Turkey and
research problems.166 Few research collaborations Iran are proportionally decreasing their collaborations.
occur on this scale or anything approaching it. Furthermore, ambitious scientific nations such as
Most collaborations are much smaller scale affairs, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are increasing their
involving just a few authors. relative collaboration.
These differences are not surprising. They reflect
2.1.1 Collaboration in a national context the strength of research, the availability of resources,
As a proportion of national output, the rapidly and the scale of the research community in each
growing scientific nations are collaborating less than country. In China, the overall numbers of international
most of their ‘developed’ counterparts. China, Turkey, collaborations are growing significantly, but this is
Taiwan, India, South Korea and Brazil produce over simply not keeping pace with the even more dramatic
70% of their publications from national researchers rise in its overall publication productivity. Established
alone. By contrast, small nations and less developed scientific nations such as the leading European
countries are collaborating at a much higher rate. nations are increasing their proportional collaboration,
Over half of the research published from Belgium, the by contrast; this is, in part, a direct response to the
Netherlands and Denmark in 2004-8 was the product increased and improved performance of the newly
of multinational authorship. In parts of Africa and emerging powers. The growth in overall collaboration
South-East Asia this is closer to 100%. globally indicates that the scientific landscape is
The research output of the established scientific increasingly interlinked. The level of collaboration
nations is also increasingly collaborative. Figure 2.2 may differ proportionately between countries, but it
(on page 48) shows how collaboration has grown in is clear that it is intrinsic to science on both a national
absolute terms in a selection of countries, and also and global level.
how this relates to their total publication output. The

159 Royal Society (1663). Second data; the data for these years interactions at √s = 900 GeV 165 The institutions were based in
charter. See shown have been interpolated measured with the ATLAS detector Canada, China, France, Germany,
about-us/history/royal-charters/, accordingly. at the LHC. Physics Letters B 688, India, Japan, New Zealand, the UK
accessed 30 September 2010. 21–42. and the USA.
162 Wagner C (2008). The new invisible
160 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. college: science for development. 164 See 166 Wagner C et al. (2002). Linking
Brookings Institution: Washington, techresources/Human_Genome/ effectively: learning lessons from
161 Analysis by Elsevier based on data DC, USA. project/about.shtml, accessed 30 successful collaboration in science
from Scopus. Data in some subject September 2010. and technology. Science and
fields in 2000, 2001 and 2002 163 Aad G et al. (2010). Charged- Technology Policy Institute, RAND
lacked complete author affiliation particle multiplicities in pp Corporation: Arlington, VA, USA.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 47
Figure 2.2. Growth in international collaboration for selected countries and
Part 2 the proportion of national output that this represents 1996–2008.167
collaboration 100000


Number of Collaborative Papers Published per year




1996 figures are shown with a 40000
dash, and 2008 figures with an
arrow, indicating progression
over time.
France 20000
South Korea
South Africa 0
Turkey 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
United Kingdom
United States Proportion of national publication output produced in collaboration with other countries

48 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
2.1.2 Who is collaborating with whom? countries represents between 5% and 50% of the
Figure 2.3 (on pages 50-51) shows the spread of overall publication output of one of the partners. A
collaboration globally, and its intensification over line is shown running clockwise from country A to
time, between 1996 and 2008. The dominant role country B; its thickness is relative to the proportion
of the USA is striking. Only 29% of research output of nation A’s output that the collaboration represents.
from the USA is internationally collaborative, yet So, we see lines running clockwise from many
international collaborations involving the USA countries into the USA, which is a significant partner
account for 17% of all internationally collaborative for many countries (but no lines that run clockwise
papers. from the USA, for which collaboration with no one
Other global and regional hubs for collaboration country represents more than 5% of its total output).
also stand out. The central role of traditional scientific When collaboration constitutes over 5% for both
nations is clear, but there is substantial growth partners, they are joined by two lines (one clockwise
elsewhere. Interesting trends can be identified, from A to B, representing the relative importance of
including the linguistic and historical ties which bind the collaboration for A; the other clockwise from B to
countries together. A striking example is the enduring A, representing the importance for B).168 Apparatus used to illustrate the
law of diffusion. Fig 12, ‘A Treatise
influence that France has as a major collaborative The two maps, covering the periods 1996 to 2000 on Chemistry’, Vol 1, H.E Roscoe &
C. Schorlemmer. From the Royal
partner with its former colonies and the rest of the and 2004 to 2008 show the spread of collaboration Society library and archive.
French-speaking world. globally, and its intensification over time. Also evident
These network maps represent patterns of are particular hubs for collaboration, both global
collaborations between countries, based on numbers and regional. The central role of traditional scientific
of jointly authored research papers. Connections nations is clear, but there is also much growth
are shown when the collaboration between two elsewhere.

167 Analysis by Elsevier based on data collaborative relationship tend to between countries in the total output is dominated by one
from Scopus. group together, while those that 2004–2008 period, and at least 15 other country to the extent that it
do not are placed further apart. in the period 1996–2000. The final represents over half, this would
168 Visualisation is by the Force The map is created by taking into visualisation then eliminates the suggest that the domestic science
Atlas algorithm, which treats the account all collaborations between lines of any relationships which base is particularly weak). Analysis
network of lines as a system of countries over a threshold of constitute less than 5% or more by Elsevier based on data from
interconnected springs with the 0.0002% of global collaborations— than 50% of an individual nation’s Scopus.
result that countries sharing a so at least 25 collaborations total output (if any country’s

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 49
Figure 2.3. Global collaboration see footnote 168
Part 2 Fig a. 1996-2000



Italy Netherlands

France Kingdom




50 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Fig b. 2004-2008






States Canada



Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 51
Figure 2.4. Collaboration between African countries169
Part 2 Fig a. 1996-2000
collaboration Uganda


Ghana Zimbabwe


Benin Togo South Africa

Nambia Swaziland

Côte d'Ivoire


Burkina Faso


Algeria Morocco


52 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Fig b. 2004-2008

Mozambique Nambia
South Africa
Botswana Lesotho Penicillin graph, c.1940. From the
Swaziland Royal Society library and archive.



Libya Egypt


Burkina Faso
Côte d'Ivoire
Niger Algeria



169 The methodology on producing from the region—at least 13

these maps is the same as the collaborative papers between two
global maps (see footnote [165]). countries in 1996–2000, and 25
The threshold for collaborations papers in 2004–2008. Analysis
to be included is a minimum of by Elsevier based on data from
0.02% of collaborative output Scopus.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 53
2.2 Regional collaboration over this period; patterns of collaboration do not
Part 2 Collaboration is not driven solely by geographical always necessarily follow the money.
proximity, although there are notable examples of Intra-regional collaboration is not, however, the
International regions which form important units for researchers dominant form of international co-operation. European
collaboration coming together to share resources and expertise. collaborations have increased since the 1990s (in
They may be addressing issues borne out of similar part as a result of EU funding initiatives), but the USA
environmental conditions, sharing hardware and continues to be a major partner for most European
physical resources or simply speaking the same countries. In South-east Asia, regional networks have
language. These patterns have been underpinned by strengthened over this decade but, as the Vietnam
political support; the European Union (EU), African example shows (Figure 2.5), the connections with
Union (AU), and the Association of South-east Asian partners beyond the region are more plentiful.
Nations (ASEAN) each have research strategies, and
can help to co-ordinate scientific efforts within their 2.2.1 South–South collaboration:
regions and broader spheres of influence. a growing trend
Emerging regional ties reflect the growing Beyond regional collaboration, there is also increasing
influence of certain nations as they develop on the ‘south–south’ collaboration—links between
international science scene. Before 2000 South Africa developing countries to build capacity and share
was an influential centre for collaboration between knowledge.172 India, Brazil and South Africa recently
African nations, but was one of many, with Senegal, joined forces to promote South–South co-operation
Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Morocco, also key through the ‘IBSA initiative’. Science and research
focal points in intra-African research (see Figure are key components of this agreement and meetings
2.4). By 2008 the network had grown substantially, have been held on issues such as nanotechnology,
with more countries producing many more research oceanography and Antarctic research.173 With support
papers, and South Africa had become more clearly from UNESCO and the Malaysian Government, the
the linchpin of the continent’s collaborative efforts. International Science, Technology and Innovation
Egypt and Sudan have emerged as bridges between Centre for South–South Co-operation (ISTIC) was
north and Sub-Saharan Africa, neither having been established in 2008. Based in Kuala Lumpur, ISTIC
drawn into the network in the earlier period. aims to be an international platform for countries
The strengthening of these countries in the of the G77 and the OIC to collaborate on science,
network coincided with increased overall domestic technology and innovation, and is already facilitating
production (South Africa and Egypt both growing discussions in areas such as water, energy, health and
by 43% and Sudan by 89% between the periods agriculture.174
1999 to 2003 and 2004 to 2008), and, in the cases of In some instances, multi-party North–South
South Africa and Egypt, substantial intensification of arrangements (where a developed country works with
investment by government and business. In Egypt, developing countries, providing funding or facilitation)
overall investment in science jumped from US$403 have provided the basis for successful collaborations.
million in 1996 to $911 million in 2007, and in South One such example is the Brazil–UK–Southern Africa
Africa investment more than doubled over the same biofuels taskforce, which the Stern Review on the
period.170 In Sudan, curiously, spending has declined economics of climate change suggested would build

54 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
capacity to address agricultural and energy security Figure 2.5. Vietnamese collaborative
in Southern Africa, and facilitate technology transfer papers as a proportion of total output
between the partners.175 (2004–2008).171
Individual countries are increasingly taking
United States
a leading role in South–South partnerships.
‘Developing countries’ or the ‘global South’ are
very heterogeneous groups, comprising countries
of vastly differing economic, natural resource and
human capital wealth. Within the group, there France
are different hierarchies and an emerging class of
leaders—China, India, Brazil and South Africa among
them. The China–Africa science and technology Philippines Lao People's Democratic Republic
partnership programme (CASTEP) was launched in
2009, with the Chinese partners providing funding for
African scientists to study in China, and for research
equipment on their return home.176 Germany Myanmar Viet Nam Cambodia
Collaboration between developing countries is, United Kingdom
however, still minimal. A recent study revealed that,
between 2004 and 2008, while 77% of African
biomedical research papers are produced with Indonesia
international partners, just 5% were the result of Korea, Republic of
collaborations with another African country.177
Brunei Darussalam
Figure 2.7 shows that, while links between the BRIC
countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have grown China
in recent years, they pale in comparison to the volume
of collaboration between these individual countries Netherlands
and their partners in the G7 (each leading economies,
and leading scientific nations). However, these
partnerships are a trend to watch, as they may prove The inner circle shows the collaborations with other South-east Asian neighbours,
to be a significant factor in the dynamics of global and the outer with the countries where the proportion of collaboration is highest.
science in the future. The thickness of the line indicates the volume of output.

170 Data from the UNESCO Institute in development. Task Force 174 See 176 See http://www.cistc.
for Statistics Data Centre, Montréal, on Science, Technology, and programs.htm, accessed 30
Canada. Figures in current US$ Innovation. United Nations September 2010. News_Events/News_Events4.
and at PPP. Development Programme: asp?column=114&id=72159,
Geneva, Switzerland. 175 Stern N (2006). The economics of accessed 13 October 2010.
171 Analysis by Elsevier based on data climate change: the Stern review.
from Scopus. 173 See http://www.ibsa-trilateral. Cambridge University Press: 177 Nwaka S et al. (2010). Developing
org/ and http://www.forumibsa. Cambridge, UK. ANDI: a novel approach to health
172 UN Millennium Project (2005). org/interna.php?ln=en&id=45, product R&D in Africa. PLoS
Innovation: applying knowledge accessed 30 September 2010. Medicine 7, 6, June 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 55
Figure 2.6a. Collaboration between Brazil, Figure 2.6b. Collaboration between Brazil,
Part 2 Russia, India and China 1996–2000. Russia, India and China 2004–2008.178
India India




Russian Federation

Russian Federation

Figure 2.6c. Collaboration between Brazil, Figure 2.6d. Collaboration between Brazil,
Russia, India and China and the G7 Russia, India and China and the G7
1996–2000. 2004–2008.179
Russian Federation Brazil
Russian Federation

France Germany France
Italy India
United States
United States Canada United Kingdom

United Kingdom

India Japan China

56 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
2.3 Why collaborate? all partners involved. Scientists can also use personal
There are various motivating factors that underpin ties to shape research agendas, or to gain access
global collaboration.180 It is important to understand to other knowledge networks. Such advantages are
why researchers collaborate, what drives them, likely to be particularly pronounced for scientists from
what enables that collaboration, and what the less developed economies, where access to high-
benefits of this joint working might be. By better quality equipment and knowledge networks may be
understanding the dynamics of collaboration, we can more limited.182
better understand the dynamics of emerging global Collaboration enables scientists to draw on wider
scientific networks and systems. stocks of knowledge or to apply learning in new
geographical settings. For example, experienced
2.3.1 Seeking excellence botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the
There are a number of reasons why collaboration UK, have joined up with colleagues in the University
is important in science. By working with partners, of Addis Ababa to catalogue Ethiopia’s fauna and
scientists can enhance the quality of their work, flora—sharing expertise and collaborating on this
increase the effectiveness of their research, and task. This enables the UK scientists to apply their
overcome logistical obstacles by sharing costs, tasks cataloguing expertise which is no longer required
and expertise. to the same extent in the UK, as that task has been
Scientists seek to work with the most completed.
outstanding scientists in their field. According to Collaboration brings with it the obvious
one scientist at Imperial College, ‘if you are the best, benefit of scale. The International Space Station
geography doesn’t exist.’181 Most scientists look for and the Large Hadron Collider are instances where
partnerships with researchers in their field, or indeed the scale or scope of research is too great for a single
other fields, in order to access complementary skills nation, even if that nation is scientifically advanced.183
and knowledge, with a view to stimulating new ideas. Sharing the burden of research activity,
These collaborations between individual scientists are breaking down complex tasks into manageable
mutually beneficial, and allow the partners to develop pieces, can be invaluable. The Human Genome
their expertise with resources that they would have Project is an obvious example. Another is the recently
otherwise lacked. Such partnerships can broaden the released First Census of Marine Life, which brought
dissemination (and subsequent impact) of the work of together 2,700 researchers from 670 laboratories

178 The methodology on producing of collaborations was applied. Office of Science and Technology 182 Conway G & Waage J (2010).
these maps is the same as the Analysis by Elsevier based on data Policy, offers a framework for Science and Innovation for
global maps (see footnote [165]). from Scopus. considering why scientists development. UK Collaborative
No threshold for the number collaborate, along with four case on Development Sciences:
of collaborations was applied. 180 See Wagner C et al. (2002). studies, each of which represents London, UK.
Analysis by Elsevier based on data Linking effectively: learning lessons one of four types of collaboration.
from Scopus. from successful collaboration in 183 Leydesdorff L & Wagner C (2008).
science and technology. Science 181 Day N & Stilgoe J (2009). International collaboration in science
179 The methodology on producing and Technology Policy Institute, Knowledge nomads: why science and the formation of a core group.
these maps is the same as the RAND Corporation: Arlington, VA, needs migration. Demos: London, Journal of Informetrics 2, 4,
global maps (see footnote [165]). USA. This documented briefing, UK. 317–325.
No threshold for the number prepared for the White House

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 57
in 80 countries to assess and explain the diversity,
Part 2 distribution and abundance of marine life.184 Box 2.1. The language of research?
Remote locations such as the Antarctic also tend to Although English is the ‘lingua franca’ of
International necessitate international collaboration, as do cross- research, there still remain significant language
collaboration country research where large datasets across regions barriers to global research. The Brazilian
are required.185 Academy of Sciences has difficulty in fully
There is also the push of external factors, evaluating science in Latin America, because a
not related to the science itself. In 2002 and significant amount of research output from the
2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), region is produced in Spanish and Portuguese
presented a very real and immediate epidemic threat. (according to Latindex, there are 13,446 Spanish
Over 8,000 people were infected, with over 770 language journals and 5,297 Portuguese
deaths.186 The World Health Organisation (WHO) was language journals produced in the 30 countries
charged with unravelling the fundamental questions of Latin America),189 and not captured in global
behind the cause, transmission, treatment and metrics. A similar issue arises with Chinese
containment of this dangerous disease. Fortunately, language journals, and indeed most non-
the existing infrastructure proved up to the task. English publications. This also has an impact on
In 1996, the WHO had set up FluNet, a global tool collaboration; a representative of the Brazilian
for influenza virological surveillance, which brings Academy explained that collaboration was
together data from a number of national influenza ‘blurred by the fact that the language spoken
laboratories in order to track epidemiological data [in Brazil] is relatively difficult’.190
on a global scale.187 FluNet identified the new Language barriers are not insurmountable.
coronavirus agent of SARS, rather than influenza, as In Brazil, FAPESP is trying to overcome them
the cause of an outbreak of severe febrile respiratory by offering two-year fellowships to overseas
illness in Hong Kong in 2003.188 Within a very short scientists which include Portuguese lessons.191
period, clinicians, epidemiologists, microbiologists There are initiatives in place to assist non-
and many others had joined the international effort. English speakers to improve their language skills
This was a global public health emergency, for which so as to be able to publish in English language
large scale global commitment and collaborative journals such as SciEdit and AuthorAID.192
research were essential, to ensure a rapid and English looks set to continue to be the dominant
effective response. The global challenges of the language for research, and the global research
21st century look to be drawing researchers community are, by and large, prepared to adapt
together to combat broad issues, which require to this.
a collaborative approach.

58 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
2.3.2 The benefits of joint authorship Figure 2.7. Citations per article versus
In citation terms, research collaboration is beneficial. number of collaborating countries.195
For each international author on an article, there is a
corresponding increase in the impact of that paper 14
(see Figure 2.7), up to a tipping point of around 10 12 2000
authors, after which the relative impact of extra 2008

Citations per article

country authors is less clear (in part, due to the
smaller numbers of articles which are produced with 8

this quantity of countries involved).193 6

The increase in citation rate has attracted
attention. For example the UK Government
annually commissions a report on the comparative 2

performance of the UK research base, citing the 0

strong impact gained from collaborations particularly 1 2 3 4 5
with Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium, as well as Number of collaborating countries (where 1=domestic)
Brazil, the USA, France and Germany.194
Citation impact is not a direct measure of quality.
A multi-authored piece may provide a ‘network Certain country ‘pairings’ deliver significant benefit
effect’ in that it is seen by more people (perhaps to the partners involved as Figure 2.8 demonstrates.
as a result of having multiple international authors) Using Elsevier data, this table reveals country
and therefore becomes more cited. This does not collaborations which have resulted in a three-fold
necessarily mean it is of higher quality than one increase on the publication’s impact compared to a
which is cited less. However, citation is a commonly standard domestic publication. This highlights some
used indicator for quality and how well ‘used’ a piece interesting examples of high-impact collaboration.
of research may be. Mexico, for example, achieved its strongest impact

184 First Census of Marine Life online at Portugal) offers a comprehensive 191 The Economist (2011). Go south,
2010. Highlights of a Decade of sars/country/table2004_04_21/ bibliographic account of Ibero- young scientist. The Economist, 6
Discovery. October 2010. en/index.html, accessed 29 American scholarly journals January 2011.
September 2010. worldwide. See http://www.
185 National Research Council (2008)., accessed 192 See
International collaborations in 187 See 26 January 2011. See also Cetto and,
behavioral and social sciences csr/disease/influenza/ A & Alonso-Gamboa J (2010). accessed 29 September 2010.
research: report of a workshop. influenzanetwork/flunet//en/, Ibero-American Systems for the
Board on International Scientific accessed 13 December 2010. 193 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus.
Dissemination of Scholarly Journals:
Organizations, National Research A Contribution to Public Knowledge 194 Evidence Ltd (2009). International
Council. National Academies 188 Nelson K & Williams C (2007).
Infectious disease epidemiology: Worldwide. Scholarly and comparative performance of the
Press: Washington, DC, USA. Research Communication 1, 1. UK research base. Department for
theory and practice (2nd edn,
186 World Health Organisation p 595). Jones and Bartlett Business, Innovation and Skills:
190 Evidence provided by the Brazilian London, UK.
(2003). Summary of probable Publishers: Sudbury, MA, USA. Academy of Sciences in response
SARS cases with onset of illness to the Royal Society Global 195 Analysis by Elsevier based on data
from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 189 Latindex (the regional co-operative
online information system for Science Report call for evidence, from Scopus.
2003 (based on data as of the 31 February 2010.
December 2003). World Health scholarly journals from Latin
Organisation website. Available America, the Caribbean, Spain and

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 59
Figure 2.8. Those countries (country y) in 2008 which achieved a three-fold increase
Part 2 on their standard domestic publication impact, through collaboration with ‘country x’.
Minimum of 1,000 papers published by each country in 2008.196
collaboration By collaborating with… (country x)

United Kingdom
Czech Republic
accrued by…

United States
South Korea

(country y)








Argentina 3.2
Australia 3.2
Brazil 4.5 3.1 3.7 3.9
China 3.8 3.6 3.5 4 5 3.9 4.1 4.8 3.5 4.2 3.1 3.2
Czech Republic 3.9 3.1 3.2
India 3.8 3.7
Japan 3.3 3.1
South Korea 3.8 3
Mexico 3.1 3.4
Poland 3.2 3.8 3.6 3.3 4.1 3.3 3 3.9 3.5 3.1
Russia 4.7 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.2 3.1 4.8 3.7 3.6 4.5 4.4 3.6 4.2 4 4.2 4 3.6
Slovakia 3
Spain 3.5 3.2
Taiwan 3.2

factors when collaborating with Germany and USA, UK, France and Germany have an impact on
Italy. When working with Russia, Chinese authors citation rates is perhaps not surprising, particularly
quadrupled the standard impact of their papers; given the size of the scientific communities and
Russian authors tripled the impact of their output the citation rates generated within these countries.
when working with China. Russian publications However, not unexpectedly in light of Figure 2.8,
also ‘gain’ significantly from being produced in these countries each benefit from working together,
collaboration with each of the country’s G8 partners. and in turn with other partners. It is rare to find a
That the leading collaboration ‘hubs’ such as the collaborating country which is solely a ‘donor’ in

60 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
terms of impact—scientists and funders are likely the latest developments in their field.197
to be motivated more by reciprocity than by Access to funding is an important factor. Many
altruism alone. governments’ science budgets barely cover salaries
Other collaboration pairs bring a noticeable and institutional running costs, let alone providing
increase in citation impact. Australia’s collaborations research grants. For example, the Kenya Medical
with Spain and China benefit from the strength of Research Institute (KEMRI) depended on international
research in those countries in medicine (mostly partners for two-thirds of its income in 2006–2007.198
clinical drug studies) and genetics/genomics The Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania expects to
respectively. Others, such as those between China receive 3.72 billion shillings (US$2.53 million) from
and Russia or Spain and Japan, are underpinned by international development partners in 2010–2011,
high-quality physics and astronomy in the partner compared with just over 150 million shillings from
countries. the country’s government.199 While there are some
arguments that international funding deters domestic
2.3.3 Capacity building through collaboration governments from making their own investments,200
For scientists in developing countries, the need international collaboration remains a highly effective
to collaborate can be acute. Collaborating with tool through which to complement (rather than
other nations enables access to facilities, funding, replace) the limited budgets available in poorer
equipment and networks that are often limited countries.
in their own countries. The economic realities of It is clear that science and research, and
many developing countries mean that equipment is particularly collaboration in science, build capacity in
often badly maintained or out of date. It is therefore all areas of the world. Strong domestic support for
common for a scientist from a developing country science and a flexibility which allows that science
to perform fieldwork locally, but then carry out data base to absorb experience and expertise from
analysis in labs overseas, due to the lack of up-to- outside provide the basis on which to build the
date facilities. In return, partners from overseas often capacity to become both an intelligent customer
get access to unique geographical resources (like and a responsible contributor on the global stage.
the fossils of the Afar region, or Malaysia’s rainforest This holds true regardless of a nation’s stage of
biodiversity) as well as being able to draw on local development. This is particularly clear, as we shall
knowledge and understanding. Similarly, due to the see in Part 3, when nations and individuals are drawn
disparity in information access, many scientists must together to address global problems which have both
work with international partners in order to access local and global consequences.

196 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. building capacity in developing 198 Nordling L (2010). African nations 200 IAC (2004). InterAcademy Council
countries?; C Wagner, E Horlings vow to support science. Nature realizing the promise and potential
197 For a detailed discussion of & A Dutta (2002). Can science and 465, 994–995. of African agriculture. InterAcademy
capacity building and the role of technology capacity be measured? Council. Amsterdam, The
developing countries in science, Rand Corporation: Santa Monica, 199 Nordling L (2010). African nations Netherlands.
see Wagner C et al. (2001). Science CA, USA. vow to support science. Nature
and technology collaboration: 465, 994–995.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 61
2.3.4 The geopolitical potential of scientific papers, an increase of 472%.204 Following the Iranian
Part 2 collaboration elections in June 2009, Iranian scientists called
When considering the motivations and benefits of out to the international research community to ‘do
International international collaboration, the political and diplomatic everything possible to promote continued contact
collaboration dimensions also warrant reflection.201 As Part 3 with colleagues in Iran, if only to promote détente
will explore in greater detail, many of the major between Iran and the West when relations are
global challenges of the 21st century have scientific contentious.205
dimensions. The tools, techniques and tactics of Such pleas reflect the potential of international
foreign policy need to adapt to a world of increasing collaboration to help repair fractious relations, or
scientific and technical complexity. Over the past 18 at least to maintain channels of communication. A
months, the Royal Society has continued to grapple distinct benefit of scientific collaboration is that it can
with the potential of science diplomacy.202 act as a bridge to communities where political ties
Throughout the Cold War, scientific organisations are weaker.
were an important conduit for informal discussion One example of this bridge-building is the
of nuclear issues between the USA and the Soviet Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and
Union. The Royal Society itself became an important Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) under
facilitator of scientific collaboration, and was party construction in Jordan. Modelled on CERN in Europe,
to numerous agreements with many of the newly SESAME is a partnership between Bahrain, Cyprus,
established academies within the Soviet Union in Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian
the late 1950s and 1960s. Such agreements proved Authority and Turkey. Synchrotrons are large and
extremely important for eastern European academies relatively expensive facilities, so pooling regional
and scientists as they provided the legal framework resources is the obvious way to construct SESAME,
to enable collaboration to take place, despite which has the potential not only to build scientific
sensitivities and often paranoia at government capacity in the region but also to foster collaboration.
Today, science continues to offer alternative 2.4 Underlying networks
channels of engagement with countries where It has been suggested that today’s scientific world is
relations may be strained at political levels. In characterised by self-organising networks, bringing
President Obama’s landmark speech to the Islamic together scientists who collaborate not because
world at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University in June 2009, he they are told to but because they want to.206 These
identified science as a tool with which to strengthen networks, motivated by the bottom-up exchange
relationships, and he stressed the importance of of scientific insight, knowledge and skills, span the
educational exchanges, scholarships and investments globe, and are changing the focus of science from
in research collaboration. the national to the global level. Policy makers have
Despite political tensions between the USA and not always recognised the importance of these
Iran, scientific collaboration has proven surprisingly linkages to quality and to the direction of science,
resilient. Between the periods 1996 to 2002 to 2004 tending to emphasise research investment to the
to 2008, co-authored papers between these two detriment of developing policies that support and
countries increased from just 388 papers to 1,831 foster such networks. Knowledge is being developed

62 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Different species of Hexastylus,
magnified up to 400x, from Report
on the scientific results of the voyage
of H.M.S. Challenger, by Sir C.Wyville
Thomson, 1880. From the Royal
Society library and archive.

in more places around the world; redundant Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral
capabilities may not always be the most efficient use researchers, which is awarded to approximately
of resources. 600 researchers annually to study for between six
The connections of people, through formal and and 24 months in Germany,207 and Marie Curie
informal channels, diaspora communities, virtual Fellowships which provide European placements for
global networks and professional communities of pre- and post-doctoral researchers in any scientific
shared interests are important drivers of international discipline that contributes to the objectives of the
collaboration. Yet little is understood about the European Commission’s Framework Programme.208
movements and networks of scientists and what they Over 15,000 researchers have received Marie
mean for global science. Curie Fellowships since they were introduced in
1990,209 which equates to approximately 750 per
2.4.1 Tapping into the global networks of year. Another 750 fellowships and scholarships are
science awarded to individuals of member countries through
Within the global networks of science, many good the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the
scientists move about physically and virtually, UK. The UK Academies run Newton International
looking for new ideas, complementarities, and new Fellowships which bring early-career researchers
connections (as discussed in Section 1.1.4) which across the sciences, engineering, humanities and
will enhance the efficiency of their work. Where social sciences to the UK each year, building links
they travel to or where their networks are strongest between the UK and the future global leaders of
is often determined by where they can find the best science.
minds, the best equipment and the best science. These schemes are important in facilitating
Scientists can be ruthlessly meritocratic—wanting to collaboration, particularly at the earlier stages of
work with the best people and facilities in their fields, researchers’ careers, but more could be done. Only
wherever they may be. a tiny fraction of the global budget for scientific
Scientists should be enabled to build these research is directed towards international mobility.
global networks. While there are some prestigious The challenge for policy makers is how to ensure that
schemes and scholarships to encourage scientific the fluid networks of science are able to flourish and
exchange, the number of awards is small and grow, and then how to tap the knowledge emerging
competition is fierce. Examples include the from them.

201 For a discussion of the relationship 203 Cox S (2010). The Royal Society 206 Wagner C (2008). The new invisible 209 Source: (2010).
between geopolitical factors in cold war Europe. Notes and college: science for development. Record number of applications
and scientific activity, based Records of the Royal Society. Brookings Institution: Washington, for Marie Curie research grants.
on publication data from a 30 Published online 14 July 2010. DC, USA., 13 September 2010.
year period (1980 to 2009), see Available online at http://euroalert.
Archambault E (2010). 30 years 204 Data from Elsevier’s Scopus. 207 Source: Alexander von Humboldt net/en/news.aspx?idn=10490.
in science: secular movements Foundation website. See http:// is a website providing
205 Nature (2009). We are all Iranians.
in knowledge creation. Science- Nature 460, 11–12; An appeal to news and information from the EU.
Metrix: Montréal, Canada. web/humboldt-fellowship-postdoc.
President Ahmadinejad. Nature html, accessed 30 September 2010.
202 Royal Society (2010). New frontiers 457, 511; Butler D (2007) Academic
in science diplomacy: navigating the freedom under threat in Iran. Nature 208 See
changing balance of power. Royal 447, 890–891. improving/fellowships/home.htm,
Society: London, UK. accessed 11 January 2011.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 63
2.5 Enabling collaboration to promote
Part 2 Box 2.2. Access denied? excellent science
After the 9/11 attacks, US scientists complained As the cumulative number of researchers grows,
International that the country became a ‘closed shop’ to so too does the number of potential collaborators.
collaboration the international research community, with The well documented rise of China, India and Brazil,
students being deterred from travelling to the the new found ambition in science in the Middle
USA to study.210 The situation in the USA has East and the Islamic world214 and in other places are
now improved dramatically, but researchers all providing new opportunities for the production
still experience difficulties. In 2007 Microsoft of science, for international collaboration and for
opened a software centre in Vancouver, citing efficient sharing of resources.
explicitly the more ‘welcoming’ immigration Whether underpinned by historical connections,
regulations in Canada in comparison to the by expanding networks, by global problems or other
States.211 motives, it is clear that the factors which enable
In the UK, universities and businesses have international collaboration have also undergone
joined forces to campaign against immigration significant changes in recent decades.
caps imposed in 2010 which have meant
that non-EU overseas scientists are finding it 2.5.1 Technology
increasingly difficult to visit the UK.212 The UK’s Research collaboration is usually a very personal
Nobel laureates agree. In October 2010, eight activity, with scientists meeting face to face and
of the 11 laureates based in the UK signed a working together on areas of mutual curiosity.
letter warning of the impact of immigration However, one of the most obvious enablers has
caps on British science. ‘The government been rapid technological advances. Whether through
has seen fit to introduce an exception to the email, the internet, data-sharing tools or mobile
rules for Premiership footballers,’ they said. ‘It phones, technology has made it easier to collaborate
is a sad reflection of our priorities as a nation with colleagues beyond one’s own country. As
if we cannot afford the same recognition for one Fellow of the Royal Society explained, ‘I can
elite scientists and engineers.’213 While some co-author papers with others in widely dispersed
concessions have been made, there remain parts of the world at the push of a button.’215
concerns about the impact of the proposed The internet is a big factor. It has changed almost
changes on the UK’s ability to compete in the every aspect of modern life, contributing hugely
global market for scientific talent. to globalisation. Quantifying its specific effect
on science is almost impossible, but a wealth of
anecdotal evidence supports its role in making
collaboration easier. Indeed, the development of the
World Wide Web technology at CERN was motivated
by the need to facilitate international collaboration at
Observations on duckweed. Antoni its Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP).216
Van Leeuwenhoek to The Royal
Society, 25 December 1702. From the
Royal Society library and archive.

64 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
The countries showing the fastest rate of growth side of the globe. The rise of cloud computing is
in publication output and those rising up the global also presenting some exciting opportunities for
league tables as collaborative hubs show strong collaboration: different people, using different
trends of growth in mobile phone usage and in devices, can access the same documents and
internet penetration. Internet growth in Iran, for resources more easily and cheaply.218
example, has grown 13,000% since the turn of the While allowing for instant communication, these
century (albeit from a starting point of only 250,000 developments have also provided the means by
users). Internet use in China has grown over 1,800% which a potential barrier has turned out also to yield a
in the same period (from 22.5 million users to 420 benefit. Whereas researchers previously were solely
million) and in Tunisia, penetration has grown 3,600% reliant on making telephone calls to collaborators at
(from 100,000 users to 3.6 million).217 a suitable hour in both time zones, now one partner
Email provides a free, near instant method for can send data and drafts from Delhi at the end of the
communicating with multiple individuals around the working day, only for their colleague in Sao Paolo to
world. This allows for rapid and effective sharing continue working on the same piece of work at the
of information, and a forum for posing questions start of their day, and then send it on to Vancouver
and ideas. Free telephone calls over the internet for the day’s work to carry on. Global collaboration,
(VOIP) and video conferencing offer augmented with the assistance of immediately accessible
communication possibilities, providing another technology, need never sleep.
medium for effective communication. Applications In addition, the rise of the social web and, in
such as Skype have made this kind of face-to- particular, social networks has the potential to
face remote communication both accessible and dramatically change the way scientists collaborate.
affordable. Could an aspiring PhD student find a supervisor
The possibilities heralded by the internet continue through Facebook or Twitter? Will it become as
to evolve. Scientific conferences often now include normal to ‘meet’ online as at a conference? Although
a Twitter hashtag: in this way anyone can follow about 90% of all collaborations begin face-to-face,219
the discussion and share their ideas, whether they these advances in communication reduce the
are sitting in the plenary session or on the other dependency on physical place but do not (yet) render

210 US National Academy of Sciences, release, 29 June 2010. Campaign 215 Evidence provided by Professor Telecommunications Union,
National Academy of Engineering for Science and Engineering in the Jenny Clack FRS in response to and the
and Institute of Medicine (2005). UK: London, UK. the Royal Society Global Science Computer Industry Almanac Inc.
Rising above the gathering storm: Report call for evidence, February
energizing and employing America 213 Letter to the Times from eight 2010. 218 Leadbeater C (2010). Cloud
for a brighter economic future. Nobel laureates: Sir Paul Nurse culture—the future of global cultural
National Academies Press: FRS, Sir Martin Evans FRS, 216 Gillies J & Cailliau R (2000). How relations. Counterpoint, the think
Washington, DC, USA. Professor Andre Geim FRS, Sir Tim the web was born: the story of the tank of the British Council: London,
Hunt FRS, Sir Harry Kroto FRS, Dr world wide web. Oxford University UK.
211 Day N & Stilgoe J (2009). Konstantin Novoselov, Sir John Press: Oxford, UK.
Knowledge nomads: why science Sulston FRS, Sir John Walker FRS. 219 Wagner C (2008). The new invisible
needs migration. Demos: London, The Times, 7 October 2010. 217 Source: Internet World Stats college: science for development.
UK. website. See http://www. Brookings Institution: Washington,
214 Royal Society (2010). A new golden, DC, USA.
212 CaSE (2010). Official estimates age? The prospects for science and accessed 29 September 2010.
show migrant loss—immigration innovation in the Islamic world. This website draws on data from
cap threatens brain drain. Press Royal Society: London, UK. Nielsen Online, The International

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 65
Part 2 Box 2.3. The European framework for individual researchers (Marie Curie) to ‘frontier’
The European Commissioner for Research, research projects (the European Research Council).
International Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan- The European funding mechanisms have
collaboration Quinn, has asserted that there is ‘no more had their critics. Some fear that the widespread
efficient investment in the future than research requirement for collaboration has led to
and innovation.’220 The European Commission’s unbalanced and incompatible partnerships, or
Framework Programme (FP) is the main tool that excellence has been the price of increasing
through which Europe collectively delivers this participation. The combined objectives of building
investment.221 Between 2007 and 2013 FP7 capacity in some areas of the Union, increasing
will spend €53.2 billion on a range of schemes the competitiveness of all countries and Europe
and sub-programmes aimed at increasing the as a whole, and pursuing research excellence, do
competitiveness of the EU, and encouraging not always sit well together. The FP is also often
collaboration and co-operation between labelled as being overly bureaucratic—the priority
European Member States. FP funding is for each appraisal being ‘simplification’.223
equal to approximately 5% of the funding Yet despite these concerns, the FP is seen
available for European research through as a potential model for regional collaborations
national budgets. in Africa and elsewhere. Under its auspices, the
The FPs have been running since 1984 and, Commission is forging scientific links with other
over this period, intra-European collaboration has regional groupings, such as South-East Asia and
grown substantially (see Figure 2.9). Among the Latin America, through high-level interregional
27 countries of the EU, collaboration grew from dialogues and specific networks, SEA-EU NET
32% of total publication output in 1996, to 46% and EULARINET.224
in 2008, outstripping the increase witnessed at The Framework Programmes have become an
a global level. In the five years to 2000, France essential part of the European research funding
and Germany co-authored 12,516 articles. In the landscape. As the Commission and Member
five years to 2008 this had grown to 23,291— States prepare to identify the future shape of this
an increase of nearly 100%. It is clear that the research support beyond 2013 in FP8, science and
increase in funding from the Commission’s innovation has also been put at the centre of the
programmes has contributed to this level of Commission’s vision for the future of Europe.225
growth. €32 million of current funding requires The interplay between science and European
that scientists collaborate internationally.222 policy more broadly looks set to be an important
FP7 draws together a number of initiatives, dynamic for the future of both European research
from large-scale infrastructure projects (eg. some and European politics, and engagement with the
projects funded by EURATOM), to mobility funding wider world in both fields.226

66 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
face-to-face communication unnecessary. Some cuts are frequent in many universities across Africa
question whether they ever will. Yet actual travel has and the internet connection speed is low. Scientists
become easier and cheaper too, with the explosion in at these universities are philosophical about such
commercial air travel and the rise of low-cost carriers. challenges—doing other things like marking when
As dramatic a change as the internet has brought, the computers are off.
it is still not ubiquitous. In 2006 fewer than 5% of
Africans used the web compared with more than 2.5.2 Funding mechanisms
50% in the G8 countries. Even within ‘richer’ regions International research collaboration is inexpensive,
such as Europe there are huge disparities. In 2007 yet despite the arrival of low-cost airlines and
only one-fifth of Bulgarians and Romanians were developments in communications technologies, it is
connected to the web, compared with more than still not cheap. Being able to travel around the world
75% in the Nordic countries. Access to the net is to work with colleagues or to host overseas scientists
growing fast in some middle-income developing costs a significant amount of money. These simple
countries, such as South Korea (where access is logistical costs can make or break research projects.
almost universal) and Brazil.227 But it is rising only International engagement has increasingly become
very slowly in low-income countries: 0.06% of the a priority for research funders. In 2008, Germany’s
population in low-income countries had access to the cabinet adopted the ‘Strategy for Internationalisation
web in 1997, rising to 6% 10 years later.228 of Science and Research’, which specifically aims
In each of these areas, however, the scientists to promote an internationally co-ordinated research
are one community who are most likely to have agenda and boost collaborative research with
good access. More troublesome for researchers developing countries.229 The Chinese Ministry of
is internet bandwidth which may be limited, or Science and Technology has now signed science and
infrastructure issues which may hinder the ability technology co-operation agreements with more than
to communicate effectively. For example, power 100 countries.230 National bodies are also increasingly
Continued on page 70

220 Geoghegan-Quinn M framework_programme_en.htm, for smart, sustainable and inclusive relations. Counterpoint, the think
(2010). Speech by European accessed 30 September 2010. growth. European Commission: tank of the British Council: London,
Commissioner for Research, Máire Brussels, Belgium. UK.
Geoghegan-Quinn, on the Seventh 223 European Commission (2010).
Framework programme calls for Communication from the 226 EASAC (2009) Memorandum 229 Federal Ministry of Education
proposals, 19 July 2010. Commission to the European for incoming MEPs and and Research, Germany (2008).
Parliament, the Council, the Commissioners. European Strengthening Germany’s role in the
221 The European Commission’s European Eco-nomic and Social Academies Science Advisory global knowledge society: strategy
Framework Programme is also the Committee and the Committee Council: London, UK. of the Federal Government for the
world’s largest research funding of the Regions: simplifying the Internationalization of Science and
programme. See Parliamentary implementation of the Research 227 According to the World Bank, Research. Bundesministerium für
Office of Science and Technology Framework programmes. European South Korea had the 54th highest Bildung und Forschung (BMBF):
(2010). EU Science & Technology Commission: Brussels, Belgium. gross national income per capita Bonn, Germany.
Funding. Postnote 359, June 2010. in 2009 (calculated using the Atlas
Parliamentary Office of Science 224 SEA-EU NET is the South-east method and PPP), while Brazil had 230 Technopolis Group (2008). Drivers
and Technology: London, UK. Asia–European Union Network, the 84th. See http://siteresources. of international collaboration in
and EU-LARINET is the European research. Background report 4:
222 Source: EUROPA (European Union–Latin America Research Resources/GNIPC.pdf, accessed conference report Brussels 13–14
Commission website). See http:// and Innovation Network. 14 December 2010. October 2008. Technopolis Group: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
instruments/instruments/seventh_ 225 European Commission (2010). 228 Leadbeater C (2010). Cloud
Europe 2020: a European strategy culture—the future of global cultural

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 67
Figure 2.9a. Collaboration between EU27 countries 1996–2000.231
Part 2
Greece Romania
International Bulgaria





France Luxembourg
Czech Republic
United Kingdom

Germany Malta


Slovenia Denmark


Latvia Finland


68 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Figure 2.9b. Collaboration between EU27 countries 2004–2008.

Romania Cyprus




United Kingdom
France Netherlands

Czech Republic

Germany Belgium

Austria Denmark


231 The methodology on producing
Slovenia Latvia these maps is the same as the
global maps (see footnote 168).
The threshold for collaborations
to be included is a minimum of
0.0007% of collaborative output
from the region—at least 16
Estonia collaborative papers between
two countries in 1996–2000,
and 25 papers in 2004–2008.
This visualisation eliminates the
lines of any relationships that
Lithuania constitute less than 5% of an
individual nation’s output. Analysis
by Elsevier based on data from

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 69
working together. In 2010 the Research Councils of 2.6 Harnessing collaboration
Part 2 the G8 countries announced their first joint call for We have described significant changes in the
proposals for multilateral research projects in their global scientific landscape, underpinned by an
International participating countries.232 The Joint Programming increase in international collaboration, driven by
collaboration Initiative among the member states of the EU is individual researchers seeking to work with the best
intended to pool national funding related to specific scientists in the world, and by governments seeking
calls for research activity, with a view to reducing to improve the quality, scope and critical mass of
fragmentation in European research; the pilot relates national science bases. This co-operation helps
to research into neurodegenerative diseases, and leverage new and existing knowledge and resources,
further initiatives are forthcoming in the areas of attract incoming talent, tackle intrinsic research
health, food security and agriculture.233 questions and build research capabilities. It has led
Recent years have also seen the emergence to an increasing number of players emerging in the
of new regional and global funders, whether they international scientific arena at the individual, regional,
be pan-continental bodies such as the European national and global levels, creating and disseminating
Framework Programme, specifically the European knowledge around the world in ever more complex
Research Council,234 or philanthropic organisations and interconnected networks.
such as the Leverhulme Trust and Sloan Foundation, Increasingly, a significant driver behind
among many others. international scientific collaboration is the urgency
These funding initiatives are all welcomed by of the problems facing human society in the 21st
scientists keen to collaborate internationally, but century, and the recognition that science has a role
implementation is not always straightforward. to play in their solution. These ‘global challenges’,
Funders are becoming better at delivering flexible such as climate change, biodiversity, food, energy
conditions for international collaboration, and are and water security, and global health dominate
actively trying to dismantle barriers to cross-border the contemporary scientific agenda. In Part 3, we
funding (the role of the UK Research Councils investigate how global science systems and scientists
overseas offices in dealing with the problem of are responding to these societal challenges, how they
double jeopardy in joint agency funding applications have done so in the past, and we discuss how they
has been successful to date).235 But there is more can address the unidentified challenges of the future.
work to be done in this area to ensure that the
funders of research are meeting the requirements
of an increasingly mobile research community.

232 Research in Germany (2010). nl-ausgabe-7/44440/multilateral- 234 See, accessed be accepted by one funder but
Multilateral research funding. research-funding.html. 30 September 2010. not by the other, and the research
Research in Germany, 7, April/ project therefore is not viable.
May. Available online at http:// 233 See 235 Double jeopardy refers to the
www.research-in-germany. era/areas/programming/joint_ difficulty in applying to multiple
de/media-service/newsletter/ programming_en.htm, accessed agencies for ‘joint’ funding of a
13 December 2010. research project—applications may

70 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

Part 3
Global approaches
to global problems

The image, acquired with two-photon excitation

microscopy, shows failing cardiac cells on the edge
of a region that suffered degenerative damage
following infarction (rat cardiac tissue provided by
Dr A. Lyon) from “Lighting up muscle contraction”
by Dr Valentina Caorsi, Newton International
Fellow, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial
College London. © Dr Valentina Caorsi, 2010.
Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 71
At a meeting at the Royal Society in January 2010, Science can help measure and predict impacts,
Part 3members of the InterAcademy Panel on International identify solutions, evaluate pathways for adaptation
Issues—the network of the world’s science and assess risks for mitigation. In recent decades,
Global approaches academies—identified climate change, global health, science-based innovations have eradicated or
to global problems food security, biodiversity, water security, population attempted to eradicate life-threatening diseases,
and energy security as humanity’s most pressing increased agricultural productivity and pioneered
concerns.236 These are frequently referred to as low-carbon technologies.243 The challenge for
‘global challenges’ or ‘grand challenges’—those governments, scientists, NGOs and others is how
which transcend national boundaries and pose best to orchestrate research efforts to address such
significant threats to societies and ecosystems. issues collectively, while combining scientific with
Science is critical to finding solutions to such wider social, political and economic perspectives.
challenges, although there are many other economic, In order to discuss how science can address these
social and political factors at play.237 problems, we begin by highlighting two examples
Global challenge science looks set to increase in of successful global responses to global challenges:
terms of importance, scale and impact. It requires tackling the depletion of the ozone layer, and the
international co-operation on a large scale because eradication of smallpox. We then briefly survey a
of the nature and magnitude of the potential range of bodies that have global responsibilities
consequences of these problems. No one country and could play a crucial role in bringing scientists to
or scientific discipline will be able to offer complete bear on global problems. Some examples are then
solutions. This presents challenges of its own in the outlined of collaborative research initiatives which
organisation and governance of the science, and as have been established in response to such problems.
such requires special consideration. Policy makers Following a brief discussion of some of the issues
around the world recognise this. US President surrounding the governance of global challenge
Barack Obama has pledged ‘to harness science and research initiatives, and their wider implications in
technology to address the grand challenges of the terms of capacity and infrastructure, we then look at
21st century’.238 The EU’s renewed research agenda five more detailed case studies of global responses
places grand challenges at its core.239 In May 2010, to global problems, in order to identify how the
Canada launched a ‘Grand Challenges’ fund, backed problems were brought to the attention of those in a
up by 225 million Canadian dollars (US$220 million), position to take action and initiate a response, and to
which helps scientists from the developing world to consider whether additional mechanisms are needed.
solve health problems facing their regions.240 Such We conclude by examining the pros and cons of the
initiatives build on more established frameworks way these initiatives were organised, and discuss the
such as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit,241 which defined lessons for the future.
a framework for sustainable development, and
the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which
pioneered measurable objectives and targets to guide
poverty eradication across the world.242

72 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
3.1 Scientific solutions aerosol sprays in 1978, and eventually to the 1985
On 16 September 1987, scientists, diplomats, Vienna Convention, which established a framework
governments, NGOs and industry representatives for the international regulation of ozone-depleting
from 24 countries came together in Montreal to substances (a precursor to the Montreal Protocol).245
tackle one of the most pressing global environmental In the absence of the Montreal Protocol, scientific
challenges of recent times: the depletion of the modelling has projected a world in which nearly two-
ozone layer. The link between ozone depletion and thirds of the earth’s ozone layer would be gone by
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was first discovered 2065, with UV radiation up by 650% and catastrophic
in the 1970s by Professor Sherwood Rowland consequences for life on Earth.246 Instead, the hole in
ForMemRS and Professor Mario Molina, building on the ozone layer appears to have stopped widening in
earlier work by Richard Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone, recent decades.247
now President of the US National Academy of Professor Bob Watson, whose work greatly
Sciences, who had been examining the effects of influenced the Protocol and who was awarded
chemical emissions from NASA rockets. Perhaps the Blue Planet prize partly for his achievements,
partly because of the link with NASA, and the argues that the research effort was underpinned by
greater awareness it engendered of the upper a number of principles. ‘It had to be international,
echelons of the atmosphere, the ozone depletion transparent, open, credible and peer reviewed’,
theory became an area of major public concern in he argues. ‘In the end the policy options were
the USA, which was reflected in the media and then straightforward. In order to get rid of the Antarctic
taken up by members of Congress.244 This led to the ozone hole, we showed that there was a clear need
USA banning CFCs as propellants for non-essential to stop the industrial use of chlorine and bromine

236 Highfield R & Lawton G (2010). and politicians gathered at the 242 The eight Millennium Development 244 Benedick R (2007). Science,
Global challenges: what the world’s ‘New world—new solutions’ Goals (MDGs)—which range diplomacy, and the Montreal
scientists say. New Scientist, 14 conference in Lund to discuss from halving extreme poverty to Protocol. In: Encyclopedia of Earth.
April 2010. the future development of halting the spread of HIV/AIDS Cleveland C (ed). Environmental
European research. They agreed and providing universal primary Information Coalition, National
237 UN Millennium Development on a document—the Lund education, all by the target date of Council for Science and the
Task Force on Science, Declaration—which states that 2015—stem from the Millennium Environment: Washington, DC,
Technology, and Innovation (2005). ‘European research must focus on Declaration agreed to by 189 world USA.
Innovation: applying knowledge in the Grand Challenges of our time’. leaders in September 2000. See
development. New York: United 245 European Commission (2007).
Nations 2005. Available online at 240 Campbell C (2010). Canada fast-facts/FF-mdg.pdf, accessed The Montreal Protocol. Office
http://www.unmillenniumproject. launches ‘unique’ Grand 30 September 2010. for Official Publications of
org/reports/tf_science.htm. Challenges fund. SciDev.Net, 12 the European Communities:
May 2010. Available online at 243 Dowdle W (1998). The principles Luxembourg.
238 Executive Office of the President, of disease elimination and
National Economic Council, Office canada-launches-unique-grand- eradication. Bulletin of the World 246 Newman P et al. (2009). What
of Science and Technology Policy challenges-fund.html. Health Organisation 76 (Suppl would have happened to the
(2009). A strategy for American 2), 22–25; Royal Society (2009). ozone layer if chlorofluorocarbons
innovation: driving towards 241 UN (1992). Report of the United Reaping the benefits: science and (CFCs) had not been regulated?
sustainable growth and quality jobs. Nations Conference on Environment the sustainable intensification of Atmospheric Chemistry and
Executive Office of the President and Development. Annex 1: Rio global agriculture. Royal Society: Physics 9, 2113–2128.
of the United States: Washington, Declaration on Environment and London, UK; Omer A (2008). Focus
DC, USA. Development. United Nations 247 BBC (2006). Ozone hole stable,
on low carbon technologies: the say scientists. BBC News Online,
General Assembly: New York, NY, positive solution. Renewable and
239 The Lund Declaration (2009). On USA. 23 August 2006. Available online
8 July 2009, 350 researchers, Sustainable Energy Reviews 12, 9, at
research funders, business people 2331–2357. tech/5276994.stm.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 73
compounds. But one of the things that really helped US Geological Survey noted after the event, ‘had
Part 3us get there was the interplay between scientific they had tide gauges installed, many of these people
experts, the private sector, social scientists, and that were farther away from the epicentre could
Global approaches large funders.’ Reversing the depletion of the ozone have been saved’.252 Eighteen months later, an
to global problems layer may be more manageable than some of Indian Ocean tsunami warning system was finally
today’s global challenges, but the Montreal Protocol set up,253 to add to a number of other local initiatives
stands as a model of what can be achieved through established since the 2004 disaster, such as the UK
international collaboration. Natural Hazards Working Group—set up by Prime
Another example, of a much longer standing Minister Tony Blair in 2005 to advise government
global problem that was solved by international on detecting natural hazards and providing early
collaboration, is even more remarkable. For at warnings.254
least three millennia, smallpox has been one of
the deadliest diseases known to humanity, and a 3.2 Global research governance
common scourge which has afflicted civilisations There are many models of partnerships between
throughout the world, killing up to 30% of those scientists, governments, industry, philanthropists,
infected.248 Although the major breakthrough charities and civil society which are designed to
was made by Edward Jenner FRS in 1798, who address global challenges. There is no uniform
demonstrated that inoculation against cowpox could approach. The governance structures which shape
protect against the disease, it was not until 1979, just such partnerships and initiatives are diverse, and
12 years after the World Health Organisation (WHO) targeting specific challenges can be tough. They are
launched an intensified plan to eradicate it, that often interdependent, and characterised by a diverse
the global eradication of smallpox was confirmed, array of local effects. Climate change, for example,
after a multi-faceted campaign which mobilised is expected to lead to flooding in some areas and
local bureaucratic, political and civilian support for drought in others.255 Research requires co-ordination
a public health programme reliant on large-scale across different disciplines and regions, working
immunisation and isolation.249 with local knowledge systems to understand such
Other problems have been identified but impacts and define solutions.
not solved in time, often with catastrophic At the global level, there are a number of
consequences. Perhaps the most devastating organisations with mandates in these areas, such as:
example of this was the 2004 tsunami, which was UNESCO and the UN Committee on Science and
picked up by satellites and seismometers minutes Technology for Development (UN-CSTD) under the
before it hit the shore. There was no in-built warning UN umbrella; the International Council for Science
system to alert people in sufficient time, with the (ICSU), that co-ordinates programmes across its
resultant loss of over 220,000 lives.250 This was scientific members, representing 141 countries and
despite the fact that the disaster had been predicted, incorporating a wide range of activities, including
notably by Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, Director General global sustainability research256; and the European
of Thailand’s Meteorological Department in 1994, Co-operation in Science and Technology programme
but such warnings were not heeded.251 As Waverly (COST), an example of an intergovernmental
Person, a geophysicist and seismologist from the framework endeavouring to co-ordinate nationally

74 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
funded research, minimise duplication, avoid inception in 2000. ‘The presence of an international
fragmentation and provide a platform for regional programme like G4, along with the credible partners
co-operation with partners beyond Europe.257 that make it up, will have acted as a major factor
Bodies such as these are not necessarily optimised in decisions by responsible governments to put up
to address the global problems of the 21st century, appropriate funding for what would usually be done
taking into account the interdependencies of global by national laboratories. Without G4, it would have
challenges. been difficult for the individual labs to make their
cases. It clearly saves money to pool resources, and
3.2.1 Challenge-led research initiatives Generation IV has brought together a range of world
Specific global challenges have inspired a range of experts, and stimulated a great deal of collaboration
internationally collaborative research initiatives. To and positive relationships.’ Although most of the
meet the challenge of providing renewable energy, work is done by national laboratories, there is also
the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) was set involvement of industry,259 which has in turn raised a
up by the US Government’s office of Nuclear Energy, number of issues surrounding intellectual property.
Science and Technology in 2000, and joined by According to Abram, “Generation IV has forced
eight other governments with the aim of identifying people, especially scientists in government labs and
and developing a new generation of nuclear universities who might not otherwise have thought
energy systems with enhanced safety and minimal about IPR issues, to confront them early in the
waste.258 This involves a partnership between various process and reach a clear understanding of the rights
countries’ energy agencies, aiming to minimise costs, and obligations of all parties before the research
share ideas and avoid duplication. It also actively begins.”
involves regulators, which should speed up licensing In the area of environmental assessment, major
when demonstrators get built. international initiatives include the Group on Earth
Professor Tim Abram, Chair in Nuclear Fuel Observation (GEO),a partnership of governments and
Technology at the University of Manchester, international organisations which aims to develop a
co-authored part of the Generation IV roadmap, global observation system to enable more effective
and has been involved in the programme since its responses to environmental challenges260; the

248 See scientist-gets-belated-recognition. research/issues/naturalhazards/, review of the state of the science.
mediacentre/factsheets/smallpox/ html. accessed 7 January 2011. Energy Policy 36, 4323–4330;
en/, accessed 30 November 2010. The Independent (2001). UK
252 Voice of America (2004). Experts 255 IPCC (2007). Climate change 2007: signs up to nuclear power pact.
249 See http://www.smallpoxhistory. say tsunami warning system would synthesis report. Intergovernmental The Independent, 16 September, accessed 2 December have saved lives. Available online Panel on Climate Change: Geneva, 2001. GIF now has 13 members
2010. at Switzerland. which comprise 12 countries and
english/news/a-13-2004-12-28- Euratom. See http://www.gen-4.
250 See voa5-67486957.html, accessed 7 256 ICSU (2010). Earth system science
articles/2005/2005_tsunami.html, for global sustainability: the grand org, accessed 30 September 2010.
January 2011.
accessed 2 December 2010. challenges. International Council 259 Interview with Sue Ion, Chair of
253 See for Science: Paris, France. the UK Fusion Advisory Board, 5
251 Tima R (2010). ‘Mad’ scientist gets ev.php-URL_ID=33442&URL_
belated recognition. South-East 257 See October 2010.
Asian Press Alliance, 12 May 2010. SECTION=201.html, accessed 7 about_cost, accessed 30 260 See http://www.earthobservations.
Available online at http://www. January 2011. September 2010. org/documents/200904_geo_info_ sheets.pdf, accessed 6 October
fellowship-2005-program/57-mad- 254 See 258 Abram T & Ion S (2008).
Generation-IV nuclear power: a 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 75
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, modelled on the HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through genuine
Part 3Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),261 partnership between European and sub-Saharan
and its successor, the Intergovernmental Platform on African countries,271 and has been commended for
Global approaches Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)262; and introducing a new model of international research
to global problems the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Network co-operation which promotes African ownership.272
(HoA-REN), a network of environmental organisations More generally, the Global Research Alliance brings
and higher education institutions which promotes together nine R&D organisations from around the
the exchange of environmental knowledge in the world to co-ordinate large-impact projects in support
region.263 of the Millennium Development Goals.273
To tackle the challenge of sustainable food Among the long established global research
production, the International Assessment of programmes in the life sciences with an outstanding
Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology track record of success are the Human Genome
for Development (IAASTD) was initiated by the Project discussed earlier, and the Human Frontier
World Bank in partnership with a multi-stakeholder Science Program (HFSP), an international
group of organisations, with a mission to reduce intergovernmental scientific programme that funds
hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods and basic research focused on the complex mechanisms
facilitate sustainable development through agricultural of living organisms and which has funded thousands
knowledge, science and technology.264 In its final of scientists worldwide to perform cutting edge
report in 2009,265 it called for a fundamental rethink research since 1989. The HFSP has been a highly
of agricultural knowledge, science and technology, in imaginative programme which has continually refined
order to achieve sustainable global food production. its mechanisms as it has developed. For the first 10
In the field of infectious disease, the Wellcome years of the programme, a reductionist, analytical
Trust has been at the forefront of attempts to address approach prevailed, but this has now been supplanted
the most pressing problems in human and animal by an emphasis on the interaction of scientists
health for 72 years.266 The Structural Genomics from different disciplines in investigating biological
Consortium (SGC) is an international public–private questions.274
partnership which aims to determine the structures Prize schemes dedicated to addressing global
of proteins involved in a wide range of diseases.267 An challenges, such as the US Congress’s H-prize and
idea championed by Alan Williamson, former vice- the Grainger Challenges prize,275 provide further
president for worldwide research strategy at Merck, incentives. They can stimulate competition and offer
who played an important role in brokering the SNP a novel way of identifying and mobilising scientific
consortium (a non-profit foundation that put single- excellence while also capturing the public imagination.
nucleotide polymorphisms—differences in single A 2009 report from McKinsey and Co found that
DNA base pairs between individuals—into the public the total number of prizes offered is going up, as
domain),268 the SGC began operations in 2004,269 is the number of incentive prizes (as opposed to
and in April 2010 supported research that identified a retrospective prizes that recognise past work, such
potential treatment for sleeping sickness.270 as the Nobel Prizes).276 In November 2010, the US
Elsewhere, the European and Developing Countries Government’s Office of Management and Budget
Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) seeks to combat sent a memorandum to all federal agencies urging

76 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
them to use incentive prizes to stimulate innovation of new approaches and governance mechanisms for
and to solve tough problems, following a September multilateral scientific co-operation to address global
launch of a dedicated website to act as a clearing challenges,278 which may offer some important
house for government sponsored prizes.277 insights into how best to move forward.
While the direction of basic scientific research will
3.2.2 Integrating challenges and maximising continue to be driven by the curiosity of individual
resources scientists and the goals of those funding the research,
Global research partnerships such as these do it has also been argued that research agendas could
important work, but it could be asked whether further, benefit from being informed by a more diverse range
overarching mechanisms are needed for prioritising or of interests, with greater involvement of civil society
integrating work on challenges, reducing duplication and marginalised communities.279 This would also
and maximising resources (and to what extent this help ensure engagement and ‘buy-in’, and would
is actually possible in practice). Although there is require sufficient flexibility in governance structures to
unlikely to be a single, general purpose framework enable this. The influence of private sector research
appropriate for such a range of endeavours—the and innovation is also significant, for example in the
diversity of these may be a source of strength in delivery of healthcare in the developing world.280
itself—attempts are being made to better understand Matching industrial strengths, scientific capacity and
how global challenge research can be orchestrated policy objectives is a priority for future governance
to best effect. The OECD has embarked on a study structures.

261 Reid W et al. (2002). Millennium Technology for Development:, 277 Feder T (2010). Incentive prizes
ecosystem assessment methods. Washington, DC, USA. accessed 6 October 2010. reinvented to solve problems.
The Millennium Ecosystem Physics Today, November 2010.
Assessment was completed in 266 The Lancet (2008). The Wellcome 272 Van Velzen W (2009). Independent See also,
2005. Trust: an unsung hero in health external evaluation report of the accessed 12 January 2011.
research. The Lancet, 371, 9612, European and developing countries
262 Kinver M (2010). ‘Green light’ for 531. clinical trials partnership. European 278 OECD (2010). New approaches
global biodiversity science panel. and Developing Countries Clinical and governance mechanisms
BBC News online, 14 June 2010. 267 See, Trials Partnership: The Hague, The for multilateral co-operation
Available online at accessed 6 October 2010. Netherlands. in science, technology and 268 Butler D (2000). Wellcome innovation to address global
273 See http://www.research-alliance. challenges: project rationale
263 See discusses structural genomics net/aims&structure.html, accessed
effort with industry. Nature 406, and relevance. DSTI/STP(2010)7.
php/about, accessed 6 October 30 September 2010. Organisation for Economic
2010. 923–924.
274 Reddington M (2010). Funding Co-operation and Development:
264 IAASTD (2003). An assessment of 269 See the frontier—the Human Frontier Paris, France.
agricultural science and technology Funding/Biomedical-science/ Science Program. Bioessays 32,
Funded-projects/Major-initiatives/ 279 STEPS Centre (2010) Innovation,
for development: the final report 842–844. sustainability, development: a new
of the steering committee for Structural-Genomics-Consortium/
index.htm, accessed 10 January 275 See and manifesto. STEPS Centre: Brighton,
the consultative process on UK. See also Wynne B, Stilgoe J &
agricultural science and technology. 2011.
GraingerChallenge.aspx, accessed Wilsdon J (2005). The public value
International Assessment of 270 Frearson J et al. (2010). of science. Demos: London, UK.
Agricultural Knowledge, Science 30 September 2010.
N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors as
and Technology for Development: new leads to treat sleeping sickness. 276 McKinsey & Company (2009). 280 Green A (1987). The role of non-
Washington, DC, USA. Nature 464, 728–732. ‘And the winner is ….’ Capturing governmental organizations and
the promise of philanthropic prizes. the private sector in the provision of
265 IAASTD (2009). Agriculture 271 Interview with Professor Charles health care in developing countries.
at a crossroads. International McKinsey & Company: Sydney,
Mgone, Executive Director, Australia. International Journal of Health
Assessment of Agricultural EDCTP. See also http://www. Planning and Management 2, 1,
Knowledge, Science and 37–58.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 77
Greater funding for multi- or interdisciplinary capabilities from a low base through investment
Part 3research into global challenges is needed. and collaboration. Continued investment (both
Universities, research funders and systems of domestically and multi-nationally) and international
Global approaches research assessment too often reinforce disciplinary collaboration—along with support from developed
to global problems borders and prohibit more creative collaborations.281 countries—will help these countries to develop faster,
Meanwhile, national funding structures and and enhance their ability to contribute to, and benefit
reporting requirements can form barriers to effective from, global science structures and networks.
international co-operation and more coherent Given the pervasive nature of global challenges,
governance structures. International scientific national priorities may need to align more closely
organisations could take the lead in harmonising with global challenge priorities and obligations.
these structures, and the ethical norms and This shift is already underway in some areas.
intellectual property policies that surround them.282 For example, the crucial role that science and
innovation can play in international development
3.2.3 Building capacity and resilience has received more emphasis over the last decade.
Research directed towards global challenges could Some development agencies, such as Canada’s
usefully be complemented by broader initiatives to International Development Research Centre (IDRC),
enhance access to education as well as building have explicitly put scientific and technical research at
stronger scientific capacity and infrastructure.283 the heart of their agenda.284 The UK’s Department for
This local capacity needs to be resilient and well International Development (DFID) has also scaled up
networked into both local and global scientific research into climate change, health and agriculture
networks. As we have seen, a number of developing through its research strategy.285
countries are gradually improving their scientific

Kiangsi boat, from Voyages a Peking,

Manille et l’Ile de France, by Chretien
Louis Joseph de Guignes, 1808. From
the Royal Society library and archive.

78 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
3.3 Case studies • to reflect a range of organisational mechanisms
There are many examples of ambitious projects (intergovernmental forum, network of research
which seek to address particular global challenges. centres, large-scale philanthropy, government–
These are based on a range of governance, industry collaboration and large facilities/
co-ordination and financing mechanisms, and infrastructure)
engage different combinations of stakeholders. They • to reflect a balance of global regions and countries
may involve the construction of large facilities and (the IPCC is truly global; CCS has been largely
state-of-the-art infrastructure, the creation of joint led by the G8; CGIAR has research centres in
research or delivery partnerships, the provision of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas; the Gates
comprehensive global assessments of the state of Foundation is based in North America and works
research in a given field, or large-scale collaboration mainly in the developing world; ITER, while based
between government and industry. Others are in Europe, has a global membership)
driven by philanthropic foundations, which have • to reflect the involvement of a range of different
had a significant impact on research in health and stakeholders (governments in the case of CCS,
agriculture. IPCC and ITER; research institutes in the case of
Here we select five such high-profile international CGIAR; private philanthropy in the case of the
research efforts as case studies, discuss the origins Gates Foundation; and the involvement of industry
of these different challenge-based models, and in the case of CCS, the Gates Foundation and
assess their effectiveness in more detail. The five CGIAR)
considered here—the Intergovernmental Panel on • to assess projects which are high-profile, key
Climate Change (IPCC), the Consultative Group on initiatives in the research on global challenges
International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Bill which they seek to address.
and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International
Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER), and the global Of course, there are many other mechanisms and
efforts to develop and deploy carbon capture and projects which address the global challenges of the
storage (CCS) technology—were chosen according to 21st century, some of which have been mentioned
the following criteria: earlier in Part 3. These five examples offer valuable
• to reflect a balance of global challenges (climate lessons, as well as pointers for future efforts to
change, food production, infectious disease, and design global challenge initiatives.
environmentally responsible provision of energy)

281 Royal Society (2009). Hidden 282 Leshner A & Turekian V (2009). 284 IDRC (2010). IDRC at 40: a brief International Development:
wealth: the contribution of science Harmonizing global science. history. International Development London, UK.
to service sector innovation. Royal Science 326, 5959, 1459. Research Centre: Ottawa, Canada.
Society: London, UK.
283 Discussions around this theme were 285 DFID (2010). Research strategy
held at the STI Global Forum 2009. 2008–2013. Department for

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 79
3.3.1 The world’s largest ‘warning system’: On any reckoning, climate change is a challenge
Part 3 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate of enormous scale and complexity. Rising global
Change (IPCC) temperatures are likely to affect the world’s most
Global approaches The IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize is a tribute to vulnerable people and have serious consequences
to global problems what is the largest and most complex orchestration for biodiversity and ecological systems. In his 2006
of sustained international scientific co-operation the economic assessment of climate change, Lord Stern
world has ever seen. It originated from proposals referred to it as ‘the greatest market failure the world
put forward at the World Meteorological Association has ever seen’.289
(WMO) Congress in 1987 by several directors of
national meteorological services, especially from Achievements
developing countries, for a mechanism that would The successful completion of the IPCC’s
enable them to respond to increasingly frequent intergovernmental climate assessments is an
requests to brief their governments authoritatively extremely difficult task. It requires the co-ordination
on the threat of global warming.286 These were given of large numbers of people all over the world
added weight by an influential report in the same with varying expertise, cultures, interests and
year by the UN World Commission on Environment expectations, and the synthesis of information that is
and Development which increased the profile extensive, multidisciplinary and international, extends
of climate change as a threat to human society across time and space, and is subject to different
and the environment.287 In the 22 years since its interpretations with a wide range of uncertainties.290
formation by the WMO and the UN Environment It is widely agreed that the IPCC, through its
Programme (UNEP), the IPCC has engaged over assessments, has been instrumental in informing
3,000 scientists and cited over 40,000 peer-reviewed national and international climate policy, climate
publications. It has yielded a landmark sequence of change knowledge, and in raising public awareness
global assessments related to climate change, and of climate change.291 It has shaped research
sustained the interest and support of the world’s networks around the world (there were 170 lead
governments around a critical agenda. and contributing authors for the First Assessment
Yet less than three years after receiving the prize, report and more than 560 for the Fourth),292 raised
the IPCC has found itself under increasing scrutiny the profile of climate science in the developed and
after the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report was developing world, and has been instrumental in
found to contain a very small number of mistakes creating research and analytical capacity worldwide.
which were then widely reported. The difficulties This global infrastructure is founded largely on
that the IPCC has undergone in recent years illustrate the voluntary participation of thousands of scientists
three main points: the highly polarised nature of the and the goodwill of hundreds of institutions. As such,
debate around climate change; the political diversity the IPCC is a fascinating case study in why and how
of an organisation made up of 194 nations; and the scientists work together, and with policy makers,
difficulties involved in synthesising and managing for the global good. In its very design, it represents
a wide range of research data, including ‘grey’ a ‘significant social innovation’.293 Furthermore, the
literature.288 IPCC also directly contributes to building the capacity

80 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
of the climate science research base, through new with the IPCC’s assessment process—is now central
IPCC scholarships for vulnerable and developing to a multi-trillion dollar energy economy, further
countries, established with Nobel Prize funds.294 raising the stakes. So many competing interests are
Critically, the IPCC treads a fine line between at play—not least the 194 UN member nations.
policy relevance and policy prescription,295 The annual Plenary, attended by all member
culminating in a pressured line-by-line negotiation nations, is presently the only decision-making body
process with government representatives to produce in the IPCC framework. This can impede the pace,
intelligible summaries for policy makers. Working momentum and agility of the organisation, so much
in this way, the IPCC has stimulated and sustained so that its governance framework is now outdated.
policy debate over two decades, and has served as The recent review by the InterAcademy Council
a model for the establishment of similar assessment called for an executive committee to be formed,
programmes on biodiversity, including the Millennium comprising representative IPCC members, NGOs,
Ecosystem Assessment (and its successor, the academics and the private sector, to improve the
Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and responsiveness of the IPCC, and to enhance its
Ecosystems Services (IPBES)). The IPCC acts as a credibility and independence. Correspondingly
comprehensive warning system for climate change: the IPCC has set up a task group to look at
it lays bare the evidence that helps policy makers governance issues.
identify and prioritise where and when mitigation and The IPCC’s critics argue that it has moved from
adaptation strategies should be deployed. being an impartial scientific assessment body
towards policy advocacy. The involvement of
Criticisms governments has laid the IPCC open to criticisms
Recent widely reported inaccuracies in parts of of politicisation. Any perceived bias in the synthesis
its last assessment report (in truth, a very small reports risks the complexity and nuance of the
proportion of the total report) have heightened public science being lost, a concern further exacerbated by
scrutiny of the IPCC.296 Climate change—together cultural and linguistic diversity.

286 Zillman J (1997). The IPCC: a view this information is invaluable IPCC. InterAcademy Council: processes and procedures of the
from the inside. Australian APEC at regional and local levels for Amsterdam, The Netherlands. IPCC. InterAcademy Council:
Study Centre: Melbourne, Victoria, the development of effective Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Australia. adaptation strategies that are 291 Hulme M & Mahony M (2010).
cost effective, participatory and Climate change: what do we 294 See
287 World Commission on sustainable. See Robinson J & know about the IPCC? Progress ipcc-scholarship-programme/
Environment and Development Herbert D (2001). Integrating in Physical Geography, published ipcc_scholarshipprogramme.html,
(1987). Report of the World climate change and sustainable online, 18 June 2010. Available accessed 30 September 2010.
Commission on Environment and development. International Journal online at
Development: our common future. content/early/2010/06/18/0309133 295 IPCC (2006). Principles governing
of Global Environmental Issues 1, IPCC work. Intergovernmental
United Nations: New York, NY, 2, 130–149. 310373719.abstract.
USA. Panel on Climate Change: Geneva,
289 Stern N (2006). The economics of 292 Christ R (2010). IPCC products, Switzerland.
288 The term ‘grey literature’ covers climate change: the Stern review. procedures and processes.
material typically produced by Presentation to IAC Review 296 Kintisch E (2010). IPCC/Climategate
Cambridge University Press: criticism roundup. Science Insider,
OECD, the World Bank, UN Cambridge, UK. panel, 14 May 2010. Available
agencies and the commercial/ online at http://reviewipcc. 15 February 2010. Available
private sector. While not 290 IAC (2010). Climate change online at http://news.sciencemag.
quality assured as robustly assessments: review of the org/scienceinsider/2010/02/
as conventional peer review, processes and procedures of the 293 IAC (2010). Climate change an-overview-of-ipccclimategate-
assessments: review of the criticism.html.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 81
Others are concerned that the consensus nature participation of many developing countries being
Part 3of the IPCC favours only majority views and excludes constrained by poor research capacity and access
minority views. This is not helped by accusations to data and publications. Engendering a collective
Global approaches that IPCC reports emphasise the negative in how global sense of ownership and action is critically
to global problems they articulate risk and likelihood.297 Prejudices important. Knowledge that is claimed by its
and criticisms are further fuelled by the lack of producers to have universal authority is interpreted
transparency in many of the IPCC’s processes and very differently according to the political and cultural
procedures.298 context.301 In order to address global challenges,
scientists and policy makers need to develop a better
Lessons understanding of the diversity of local contexts for
As the Stern Review noted, any action to address the production and use of expert knowledge. The
climate change will be serious and potentially life- difficulties the IPCC has faced foreshadow a wider
changing,299 and will involve significant economic debate about future global challenge initiatives (and
cost. In contrast to the successful international specifically their scientific authority, credibility and
efforts to stop ozone depletion discussed earlier, relevance), which is likely to intensify in the years
solutions to climate change—whether preventive, ahead.
adaptive or mitigative—will be far more expensive, Second, the IPCC must mobilise the voluntary
and will probably involve major changes in lifestyles. dedication of thousands of scientists, yet also be
This will no doubt lead to serious political and social completely open and accountable. Its integration of
consequences, and may help to explain why the scientists, social scientists and policy makers, and
IPCC has faced the amount of pressure and public its decentralised and geographically representative
scrutiny that it has. This pressure is now amplified by researcher network is a source of strength and
modern communication tools such as online media, vitality. However, it also lays the IPCC open to
blogs and social media, which were not as ubiquitous criticism of its governance and management, and
when the IPCC was set up, and with which its to questions about whether the science should be
communications structure is now forced to contend. entirely separate from its translation into policy.
Despite this, the IPCC offers some interesting Finally, the IPCC engages a wide range of
pointers for the governance of global challenge disciplines in a large number of countries. There
initiatives in the future. First, by combining traditional are contrasts, and sometimes conflicts, in the way
peer-reviewed science with ‘grey literature’, it is scientists, social scientists and economists work.
forced to strike a balance between maintaining These differences can sometimes be difficult
scientific credibility and quality control, while to reconcile, but the value of multidisciplinary
retaining political buy-in through the involvement approaches to global problems is increasingly
of national governments.300 It must be inclusive recognised.
and geographically representative, despite the

82 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
3.3.2 Centres of excellence in agriculture: combined with dire predictions of a global food
the Consultative Group on International shortage,307 paved the way for a series of independent
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) ‘centres’ of agricultural research, funded and driven
The food price spikes that sparked riots in several by the donor community. However, the foundations
countries in 2008, and the fears of a possible repeat were not able to continue support in perpetuity on
as global food prices hit a record high in December their own.308 Eventually, following a series of policy
2010,302 served as a stark reminder that food security consultations in 1969–1971, led by the World Bank,
is one of today’s most pressing global challenges.303 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United
Increasing food production alone cannot ensure food Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the
security for all, but it is a key part of meeting the Rockefeller and Ford foundations,309 the donors
challenge, especially in the face of pressures from agreed to establish the CGIAR in May 1971, with its
climate change, changing consumption patterns and own Executive and Scientific Councils, supported by a
an increasing global population. Agricultural science small secretariat at the World Bank.
has a key role to play in sustainable food production.304 Agriculture and rural development were central
The roots of the CGIAR can be traced back to to the World Bank’s poverty reduction mission.310 Its
a research programme funded by the Mexico- President Robert McNamara’s support and influence
Rockefeller Foundation in the 1940s. This programme were instrumental in helping to set up and shape
led to varieties of wheat with yields three times the CGIAR to reduce poverty and hunger through
higher than traditional varieties, resulting in Mexican high-quality research in some of the world’s poorest
self-sufficiency in wheat and a Nobel Peace Prize for regions.311 CGIAR was the first global programme to
research champion Norman Borlaug ForMemRS.305 receive grants from the World Bank’s net income,312
The success of this research initiative and other and its expansion continued with 15 autonomous
efforts by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations,306 centres in countries as diverse as Malaysia, Peru,

297 Von Storch H (2010). Presentation 301 Jasanoff S (2010). A new climate for borlaug.html, accessed 5 October 310 Shah M & Strong M (1999). Food
to IAC review panel, 15 June society. Theory, Culture & Society 2010. in the 21st century: from science to
2010. Available online at http:// 27, 2–3, 233–253. sustainable agriculture. Consultative
reviewipcc.interacademycouncil. 306 World Bank (2003). The CGIAR at Group on International Agricultural
net. 302 Kim Y (2011). G20 to tackle food 31: celebrating its achievements, Research (CGIAR): Washington,
prices as countries reassure facing its challenges. Précis DC, USA.
298 IAC (2010). Climate change consumers., 7 published by World Bank’s
assessments: review of the January 2011. Available online at Operations Evaluation Department 311 CGIAR (2006). A partnership for
processes and procedures of the (OED). World Bank: Washington, research and development: World
IPCC. InterAcademy Council: idUSL3E7C70I120110107. DC, USA. Bank and the CGIAR. Consultative
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Group on International Agricultural
303 Evans A (2008). Rising food 307 Shah M & Strong M (1999). Food Research: Washington, DC, USA.
299 Stern N (2006). The economics prices: drivers and implications for in the 21st century: from science to See also
of climate change: the Stern development. Available online at sustainable agriculture. Consultative who/index.html, accessed 30
review. Cambridge University Group on International Agricultural September 2010.
Press: Cambridge, UK. 300 uk/files/11422_bp0408food.pdf. Research (CGIAR): Washington,
Hulme M & Mahony M (2010). Chatham House: London, UK. DC, USA. 312 World Bank (2003). The CGIAR at
Climate change: what do we 31: celebrating its achievements,
know about the IPCC? Progress 304 Royal Society (2009). Reaping the 308 See facing its challenges. Précis
in Physical Geography, published benefits: science and the sustainable history/origins.html, accessed 11 published by World Bank’s
online, 18 June 2010. Available intensification of global agriculture. January 2011. Operations Evaluation Department
online at Royal Society, London, UK. (OED). World Bank: Washington,
309 See
content/early/2010/06/18/03091333 305 See history/origins.html, accessed 11 DC, USA.
10373719.abstract. nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1970/ January 2011.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 83
Mexico, Kenya and Syria. These centres continue to • world food production would be 4–5% lower;
Part 3benefit from contributions from the World Bank and • world grain prices would be 18–21% higher;
other multinational donors including the UN, and from • some 13–15 million more children would be
Global approaches over 60 countries. malnourished.318
to global problems In 2003, an independent review highlighted the
CGIAR system’s need for a formal legal charter, The success of the CGIAR lies in combining
and the requirement for system-level responses to cutting-edge global research with practical local
developments in biotechnology, genetic resource impact. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
management, intellectual property rights and private in the Philippines is one of the Consultative Group (CG)
sector research.313 In response to this, and a growing Centres. Bob Zeigler is its Director General, and a firm
mood for change within the donor community, advocate of the centres’ mission, the opportunities
in 2007 the CGIAR initiated radical reforms to its presented by their freedom to evolve, and their critical
organisation, governance, finance and management to role in engaging and mobilising local communities.
enhance its coherence and strategic impact. This led Benefits flow in both directions—to the local
to the establishment of a centrally administered global community (through employment) and to the global
fund for research, a legally constituted consortium to research community via CG Centres themselves
manage the separate centres, as well as mechanisms by harnessing local knowledge (on traditional rice
to monitor performance and delivery. Under the new varieties, soil conditions, farming practice and social
system, the bulk of the CGIAR research agenda will and dietary preferences). This local knowledge in turn
be delivered through eight ‘mega-programmes’ which drives, enriches and broadens the scope for research
are yet to be fully defined—but it is hoped that this will and impact. In the case of IRRI, Zeigler acknowledges
ensure a more efficient and effective framework for that the centre’s research portfolio has evolved
research.314 significantly from its original focus on production and
yield. Education is also important in developing and
Achievements maintaining local capacity: ‘IRRI was founded with
The CGIAR has become a major hub for agricultural a clear mandate to develop, and conduct education
research in the developing world. Although its annual in, the production of rice in Asia. Research and
research budget of approximately US$550 million education were seen to be equally important.’ As a
pales in comparison to the private sector’s budget,315 major research hub in the developing world, it is not
it is estimated that for every $1 invested in CGIAR surprising that IRRI has developed a complex network
research, $9 worth of additional food is produced in of partners. Zeigler notes that ‘the challenge now is in
developing countries.316 A 2010 review concluded bringing the different partners together in a coherent
that, ‘CGIAR research contributions in crop genetic way’.
improvement, pest management, natural resources
management, and policy research have, in the Recent reforms
aggregate, yielded strongly positive impacts relative As the reforms that began in 2007 reach completion,
to investment, and appear likely to continue doing their longer term impacts remain to be seen. In
so.’317 An independent review in 2008 had already particular, the respective roles of the donors and
concluded that without CGIAR: consortium in shaping the direction of the CGIAR may

84 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Article: ‘Croonian Lecture: On the
anatomical stucture of the eye’, by
Everard Home, drawings by Franz
Bauer. PT vol 112, 1822, pp76-85.
From the Royal Society library
and archive.

take some time to establish. With a second phase programmes which contribute to smallholder food
of reform planned and new Strategy and Results security. Without these systems for local engagement,
Frameworks expected every six years, there is room the essential purpose of CGIAR research in terms of
to monitor and review the changes. reducing poverty and hunger could be lost.
The centres themselves may also face an uncertain
future. Although the mega-programme proposals Lessons
will still be driven by the CG Centres themselves, The CGIAR might not have evolved into the success
the proposals will be considered by an Independent it is now, had it not been for the rapid expansion of
Science Partnership Council on the basis of their the CG Centres. Indeed, the expansion of the centres
delivery against applied impacts as well as donor played an important role in building and enabling local
expectations.319 How this focus on applied results will capacity which is so important in the CGIAR today. To
affect the exploratory research capacity and freedoms some extent, reforms were enabled by the external
of the CG Centres is not yet clear. The move towards landscape and learnt from examples of co-operation
a global fund, increased administrative complexity and platforms in Europe and elsewhere. While the move
associated decrease in direct funding may also impact from direct Centre funding to more centralised
on the longer term capabilities and value for money of structures will provide coherence across the CGIAR
individual centres. portfolio, the new research agenda and its focus on
In addition, agriculture and food security are areas applied science may put pressure on core funds that
where there is a plethora of grey literature emerging permit more exploratory research. Links to significant
from developing countries, often founded upon local donors (World Bank) and political forums (UN) have
knowledge and expertise. Strategic decision-making also done much to ensure the visibility and impact of
processes will need to acknowledge the significant the research. A further interesting development took
contribution of bottom-up networks in agriculture, place in December 2009 when it was announced
including those emphasising farmer participatory that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (see
research.320 Care needs to be taken to ensure Section 3.3.3) will join CGIAR, to which it is already a
that centralising trends within the CGIAR are not significant donor, having allocated US$400 million to
detrimental to such localised and targeted research several CGIAR centres over 2009–2013.321

313 World Bank (2003). The CGIAR at 316 Source: CGIAR website. See http:// 319 For example, potential impact first network. See Scoones I &
31: an independent meta-evaluation, expectations set out for the GRiSP Thompson (2009). Farmer first
of the Consultative Group on accessed 30 September 2010. mega-programme on rice equate revisited: innovation for agricultural
International Agricultural Research. to an average of 15 additional kg research and development. Institute
World Bank: Washington, DC, USA. 317 Renkow M & Byerlee D (2010). per ha per year additional yield of Development Studies at the
The impacts of CGIAR research: a growth, which would result in University of Sussex: Brighton, UK.
314 For more on the new structure, see review of recent evidence. Food a 10–23% rice price reduction
CGIAR (2009). Voices for change: Policy, 35, 5, 391–402. in Asian countries and 7–10% 321 Sharma Y (2009). Gates Foundation
the new CGIAR. Consultative reduction in major Latin American joins global crop research network.
Group on International Agricultural 318 Consultative Group on SciDev.Net, 10 December 2009.
International Agricultural Research and African markets. See CGIAR
Research: Washington, DC, USA. (2010). CGIAR proposed mega Available online at http://www.
(2008). Bringing together the best
315 Monsanto’s annual research of science and the best of develop- program portfolio. Consultative
Group on International Agricultural foundation-joins-global-crop-
budget is US$1.2 billion. See ment: independent review of the research-network-1.html.
Gilbert N (2010). Inside the CGIAR system synthesis report Research: Washington, DC, USA.
hothouses of industry. Nature 466, (pp 119–120). CGIAR Secretariat: 320 Examples include prolinnova,
548–551. Washington, DC, USA. terra preta network, farmer

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 85
3.3.3 A transformative impact on global Achievements
Part 3 health: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation It has been claimed that the Gates Foundation has
Getting 40 billionaires together in one room is no helped to raise the profile of international health
Global approaches mean feat. Yet in August 2010, Microsoft founder Bill research, and to create a much higher profile for
to global problems Gates and investor Warren Buffett did just that as infectious diseases and vaccine development.330
part of a high-profile philanthropic campaign called In 1999, the Foundation gave a start-up grant of
‘The Giving Pledge’ which they had instigated.322 US$750 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines
Present that night were CNN founder Ted Turner and and Immunisation (GAVI),331 a public–private global
New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pledged health partnership funding vaccines which has
to give away at least half their fortunes to charity, since immunised more than 200 million children
estimated at nearly US$9 billion.323 and averted over 3.4 million premature deaths.332
Such examples demonstrate the power of ‘[The Foundation] sees science and innovation
philanthropy and its effect on research, charity as an important driver for solving the world’s big
and development objectives. This is not a new problems’, explains Laurie Lee, Deputy Director of
phenomenon. Many of the central figures in the External Affairs. ‘One of our achievements has been
USA’s extraordinary economic and industrial growth to stimulate major growth in global R&D investment
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as in drugs and vaccines to treat diseases which had
Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller, Andrew hitherto been neglected by the pharmaceutical
Mellon and Henry Ford, set up hugely influential industry—but which kill millions of people in the
foundations which have been major benefactors of developing world.’ By leveraging its significant funds
US colleges and universities,324 and continue to give through the GAVI Alliance and similar programmes,
out hundreds of millions of dollars a year.325 as well as working closely with pharmaceutical
The most high profile and largest philanthropic companies to develop treatments for neglected
organisation in the world today is the Bill and Melinda tropical diseases, the Foundation’s work has
Gates Foundation,326 with overall expenditure totalling successfully corrected wider market failures.
US$3 billion in 2009.327 Since its establishment in the In the area of malaria control, the size of the
late 1990s, it has transformed global health research. Gates Foundation’s grants have enabled it to
In 2007, the Foundation’s spend of US$1.2 billion energise research and forge partnerships between
on global health alone was almost as much as the academia, governments and industry much more
WHO’s annual budget of US$1.65 billion.328 Through effectively than other institutions, according to
funding directed to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and Professor Brian Greenwood FRS.333 The Medicines
malaria, the Foundation seeks to combat three of for Malaria Venture and the Malaria Vaccine
the world’s most devastating diseases, particularly Initiative are two successful examples of these
in sub-Saharan Africa. In October 2007, Bill and public–private partnerships.334 The Global Fund to
Melinda Gates called on global leaders to commit to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), to
‘an audacious goal—to reach a day when no human which the Foundation is a significant donor, with
being has malaria, and no mosquito on earth is total contributions of US$650 million,335 has been
carrying it’.329 lauded as a model for streamlining funding into
these diseases into a single source, which lessens

86 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
the burdens on health ministries in developing tackling other challenges. In February 2007, Virgin
countries, which can otherwise be weakened by the CEO Richard Branson launched the US$25 million
proliferation of actors in global health research.336 Earth Challenge Prize, to be given to someone who
Furthermore, the call for the eradication of malaria proposes a method which successfully removes
discussed earlier has had a significant impact on at least a billion tonnes of carbon per year from
the malaria research and control communities, the atmosphere.338 In the same year, the Global
galvanising them to take a more aggressive approach Water Initiative (GWI), a new partnership of seven
to malaria elimination, rather than accepting some international NGOs, received a donation of US$150
degree of control of the infection as the best that million for rural water and sanitation projects in 13
could be achieved. It has led to new control and countries in Africa and Central America, provided by
research initiatives such as the Malaria Elimination the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a multi-million
Group and the Malaria Eradication Agenda, which dollar private foundation controlled by Warren
would not have happened without their initiative.337 Buffett’s eldest son.339 The motivations of these
It could also be argued that the efforts of the philanthropists, as with those of individual scientists
Foundation have paved the way for other wealthy working on these issues, may well be altruistic, but
and powerful individuals to pump resources into recognition and competition could also be factors.

322 Clark A (2010). US billionaires documenting the national discourse report (p 46). Bill and Melinda Gates 334 See and
club together—to give away half (p 423). The Johns Hopkins Foundation: Seattle, WA, USA.,
their fortunes to good causes. University Press: Baltimore, MD, accessed 2 December 2010.
The Guardian, 4 August 2010. USA. 329 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Buffett’s generosity is particularly (2007). Bill and Melinda Gates call 335 Okie S (2006). Global health—the
remarkable, having donated 325 Cannadine D (2008). The changing for new global commitment to chart Gates—Buffett effect. New England
US$37bn to the Gates Foundation art of giving. BBC News Online, a course for malaria eradication. Bill Journal of Medicine 355, 11, 1086.
rather than establish his own 11 January 2008. Available online and Melinda Gates Foundation:
at Seattle, WA, USA. 336 Moon S et al. (2010). The global
foundation. See health system: lessons for a stronger, accessed magazine/7183245.stm.
330 Walt G & Buse K (2000). institutional framework. PLoS
1 December 2010. 326 New York Times (2010). Bill and Partnership and fragmentation Medicine 7, 1.
323 Authors’ calculations. According Melinda Gates Foundation. Times in international health: threat or
Topics, 29 January 2010. Available opportunity? Tropical Medicine and 337 See http://www.
to, Bloomberg’s and
net worth in 2009 was US$16 online at http://topics.nytimes. International Health 5, 7, 467–471.
com/top/reference/timestopics/, accessed
billion and Turner’s net worth was 331 Source: Gavi Alliance (2008). 2 December 2010.
US$1.9 billion, a total of US$17.9 organizations/g/gates_bill_and_
melinda_foundation/index.html. See
billion, of which half is US$8.95 media_centre/facts/index.php, 338 BBC (2007). Branson launches
billion. See http://www.forbes. 327 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation accessed 30 September 2010. $25m climate bid. BBC News
com/lists/2009/10/billionaires- (2010). 2009 annual report (p 13). Online, 9 February 2007. Available
2009-richest-people_Michael- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: 332 WHO, UNICEF, World Bank online at
Bloomberg_C610.html and http:// Seattle, WA, USA. (2009). State of the world’s vaccines hi/sci/tech/6345557.stm. and immunization, 3rd edn (p
328 McCoy D, Kembhavi G, Patel J & 88). World Health Organisation: 339 IRC International Water and
Luintel A (2009). The Bill & Melinda Geneva, Switzerland. Sanitation Centre (2007). Global
Gates Foundation’s grant-making water initiative: new NGO
accessed 5 October 2010.
programme for global health. The 333 Okie S (2006). Global health—the partnership gets US$ 150 million.
324 Smith W & Bender T (eds) (2008). Lancet 373, 9675, 1645–1653. Gates—Buffett effect. New England Available online at http://www.irc.
American higher education See also Bill and Melinda Gates Journal of Medicine 355, 11, 1087. nl/page/38048. IRC: The Hague,
transformed 1940–2005: Foundation (2008). 2007 annual The Netherlands.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 87
Unintended consequences high-risk research. Tadataka Yamada, President
Part 3Despite these successes, and the significant nature of the Foundation’s Global Health Programme,
of the Foundation’s contribution to global health acknowledges the risk of this approach, but argues
Global approaches research, its efforts are not without their critics, who that ‘billions have already been thrown at [these
to global problems argue that its largesse has unintended consequences. problems …] and nothing’s happened—the standard
Its considerable resources mean that it has huge approaches haven’t been successful’.344
influence on the research agenda in global health, The Gates Foundation is, of course, a relatively
whereas previously this agenda would have been new entrant into the arena of global health research;
set by more open and representative bodies such as in this regard the template to follow has arguably
the WHO. Therefore the priorities that it defines have been set by the Wellcome Trust. The world’s second
significant effects on the demand for scientists and largest research foundation has built a hugely
clinicians in a number of different fields. It is argued impressive track record of achievements in its 72
that the concentration on ‘high profile’ diseases such years of existence, including the development
as AIDS has created an internal ‘brain drain’ away and testing of the anti-malarial artemisinin, and
from basic healthcare areas, such as maternal care the sequencing of around one-third of the human
and the treatment of common fatal illnesses like genome through its Sanger Institute in Cambridge;
diarrhoea.340 it also contributes to capacity building in Africa by
In terms of governance, many perceive that strengthening African universities and institutions.345
the Foundation lacks transparency, with its first
guiding principle being that it is ‘a family foundation Lessons
driven by the interests and passions of the Gates The Gates Foundation offers a number of lessons
family.’341 It has been urged to ‘rethink the concept of for policy makers. As we have seen, concerns have
accountability.’342 been raised about its governance structure, but it
has been praised for its fresh, risk-taking approach
Comparisons with other models to grant making. Foundations can be fast and agile
However, others claim that the Foundation’s in response to problems when they arise, as they are
novel approach to grant making supports high- free from the limitations of government policy,346 and
risk and potentially transformative research.343 For can help to stimulate partnership and achieve more
example, researchers applying for grants under when they pool resources.
the Foundation’s ‘Grand Challenges Explorations’ The Gates Foundation has had a huge impact
programme only need to submit a two-page on global health research. However, Gates funding
explanation of the proposal, with no need to provide has tended to focus on a few high-profile diseases,
preliminary data. The proposals are then reviewed which has arguably had some adverse unintended
by a diverse and eclectic group composed not effects on basic healthcare. This may offer a salutary
just of scientists, but also including engineers, lesson for the governance of other global challenge
business people and others with a track record of initiatives funded by high-income countries which

88 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
aim to address problems that disproportionately
affect the developing world, or those that target
funding exclusively on solving a particular ‘global
The energy, drive and ambition of wealthy
individuals and foundations are crucial assets, which
policy makers around the world should utilise in
the effort to address global challenges. Looking to
the future, it is likely that the global philanthropic
landscape will change in line with the shifting
balance of global wealth and power. Chinese and
Indian entrepreneurs are rapidly reaching the levels
of assets of the great US philanthropists of the early
20th century, and will be among the leaders of
globally relevant philanthropy in the future. Tata in
India and Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing are two examples
of historically influential donors to world-class science
and medicine respectively.347

340 Piller C & Smith D (2007).

Unintended victims of Gates a-tadataka-yamada-and-wild-
Foundation generosity. Los Angeles science-ideas.html.
Times, 16 December 2007.
345 The Lancet (2008). The Wellcome
341 See http://www.gatesfoundation. Trust: an unsung hero in health
org/about/Pages/guiding- research. The Lancet, 371, 9612,
principles.aspx accessed 13 531.
October 2010.
346 Gavaghan H (2005). On firm
342 Garrett L (2007). The Challenge foundations. Nature 436, 748–749.
of Global Health. http://www. Pencil sketch of volcanic clouds and 347 Nichols R (2007). Analysis of ash-falls on Vesuvius by Antonio
laurie-garrett/the-challenge-of- philanthropy for science and Piaggi, 1779. From the Royal Society
global-health. Foreign Affairs 86, 1. technology, part II: opportunities library and archive.
in funding science and technology.
343 Nature (2008). A risk worth taking. In: Mapping the New World of
Nature 455, 1150. American Philanthropy: Causes
and Consequences of the Transfer
344 Nightingale K (2009). Q&A: of Wealth. Raymond S & Martin
Tadataka Yamada and wild science M (eds). John Wiley & Sons:
ideas. SciDev.Net, 12 June Hoboken, NJ, USA.
2009. Available online at http://

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 89
3.3.4 Towards sustainable energy: the motivated by a desire to instigate collaborations
Part 3 International Tokamak Experimental Reactor that might help break down the barriers of the Cold
(ITER) Project War era. The EU, Japan, Russia and the USA began
Global approaches ‘There will be a day when ITER will become largely design studies in 1988, under the auspices of the
to global problems energy self-sustaining’, explains Professor Steve International Atomic Energy Authority, but some
Cowley, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. momentum was lost when the Cold War ended. The
‘That will be one of those great moments in USA withdrew in 1998 on cost grounds, following
science—analogous to Fermi’s achievement of which a less ambitious design was adopted.
nuclear fission on the 2nd of December 1942.’ Growing anxiety about the continued use and
ITER is one of the most ambitious scientific eventual depletion of fossil fuels led to China, South
endeavours of the 21st century. Latin for ‘the way’, Korea and the USA (re)joining in 2003; India joined
its goal is to demonstrate the scientific and technical in 2006. Negotiation of the Agreement governing
feasibility of generating energy from nuclear fusion. the construction of ITER started in 2001, while
If successful, fusion has the potential to provide negotiations concerning the site began at the end
sustainable, low carbon energy in a period when of 2003. The site in France proposed by the EU was
fossil fuels are being rapidly depleted. The decision chosen in 2005 (in preference to a site in Japan, after
to build ITER is a truly international response to the a long and occasionally bitter contest),348 and the
challenge, involving collaboration between China, the Agreement was signed in 2006, coming into force in
EU, Japan, India, South Korea, Russia and the USA. 2007.
International collaboration is essential for fusion The agreement between major powers to fund and
development. It is relatively expensive compared work together to build ITER encourages the hope that
to most scientific research (if not on the scale of the world’s governments will be increasingly willing
the world’s energy market), and mastering it is a to make long-term commitments to pool expertise
huge scientific and technical challenge best met and resources in order to tackle global problems.
by combining expertise from around the world. However, while reaching agreement was a success,
Furthermore, it is sufficiently far from the market the ITER experience raises issues that those planning
that intellectual property issues have not hindered future projects will need to consider carefully.
collaboration, although they are not straightforward.
With the construction of ITER just beginning, it is too Delays to the project
early to assess the organisation of the project. It is, Firstly, the Agreement took a long time to negotiate.
however, possible to identify a number of relevant This was partly due to the novelty of the project
issues for possible future multinational collaborative and the nature of the collaboration, and the fact
efforts of a similar nature. that the number of partners grew during the
The proposal to build a very large fusion negotiations. There was also difficulty in choosing
experiment as a collaborative project involving major the site, resulting in the polarisation of the parties
powers grew from discussions between Presidents into two camps during the negotiating phase. Given
Gorbachev, Mitterrand and Reagan in 1985, partly the ‘spillover’ benefits of large facilities, and their

90 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
propensity to attract scientific talent to the host had to review and revise the cost and design used as
country, as demonstrated by CERN and the current a basis for the negotiations—during which time they
competition to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) were considered ‘frozen’.
Telescope,349 perhaps it is unsurprising that a contest
to host ITER developed, which then brought to the Spiralling costs
surface deeper diplomatic tensions and international ITER’s construction expenses have risen from around
allegiances. Furthermore, site selection over other €5 billion to over €13 billion owing to a number of
similar projects has often involved trade-offs in totally factors.353 One of these was the decision to split
different fields. A famous example is the decision to responsibility for procuring technically interesting
site the Joint European Torus (JET) project in the UK components between several members, in response
instead of Germany, following the UK’s assistance to to their wish to be involved in a large range of
the then West German Government in preparing the technologies. This was deemed necessary for political
successful hostage rescue operation in Mogadishu.350 reasons, but has resulted in significant cost increases,
However, in the case of ITER, the part of the European and has also complicated reaching agreement on
Commission involved was responsible for a much design details. It is likely to cause problems when
narrower range of issues, making such geopolitical delays or technical difficulties are encountered.
trade-offs impossible. Another exacerbating factor was that the ‘frozen’
Setting up both the ITER Organisation (which is design had not been endorsed by the team which
responsible for all aspects of the project: licensing, took on the responsibility for building ITER, or
hardware, construction, operation and eventual checked in detail by industry.
decommissioning)351—and seven so-called Domestic
Agencies (which were created by the seven members Politics and governance
to act as the liaison between national governments The member countries had mostly never been
and the ITER Organisation,352 and will be responsible involved in comparable projects. This meant that
for most of the procurement), and the establishment during the negotiations they were perhaps overly
of working relationships and confidence between diligent in protecting their national positions, with the
the many different players, also took longer than result that the agreement now requires unanimity
expected. Once this happened, the ITER Organisation, for all serious decisions—while consensus, often
with the collaboration of the Domestic Agencies, then relatively easy to achieve, might have been sufficient.

348 New Scientist (2005). Biggest 349 Bohannon J (2010). Can Africa 350 Herman R (1990). Fusion: the 352 See,
nuclear fusion project goes to topple Australia in the contest search for endless energy (p 124). accessed 7 January 2011.
France. New Scientist, 28 June to build the world’s biggest Cambridge University Press:
2005. Available online at http:// telescope? Science Insider, 14 Cambridge, UK. 353 Cowley S (2010). Nuclear fusion— January 2010. Available online what is it worth? The Guardian, 16
dn7593-biggest-nuclear-fusion- at 351 See July 2010.
project-goes-to-france.html. scienceinsider/2010/01/its-africa- project/organisation.htm, accessed
vs-a.html. 7 January 2011.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 91
It also gave diplomatic consideration equal weight to are not satisfied that the specification of components
Part 3technical factors in making the initial management (for which the ITER Organisation is responsible) is
appointments. optimal from a technical or cost perspective. The ITER
Global approaches The Host Contribution made by the EU, which Council has no control over the Domestic Agencies,
to global problems is 45.45% (reduced from 50% when India joined) and until recently has had no official means of
in the construction period, and will be 34% during monitoring their progress.
the operational phase, is another potential source of Careful analysis of the ITER experience should help
political friction, particularly in the current financial minimise such difficulties in similar projects in the
climate. Whether such a large Host Contribution future. Perhaps one of the key lessons to be drawn
is a good precedent is unclear. It could help create from ITER and from other large facilities such as
stability, but large differentials in contributions could CERN is that collaboration is most likely to succeed
result in cost increases putting differential strains where there is a clear overriding need to collaborate,
on the members, and make the project particularly a compelling joint interest in a successful outcome,
vulnerable to any financial difficulties encountered and that as far as possible decisions are technically,
by the host. They could also unbalance the spirit of rather than politically driven (although this may not
partnership. always be possible, eg. for procurement splitting). In
In order to avoid the ITER Organisation having to setting up collaborations, sufficient time should be
negotiate contracts and monitor the fabrication of allowed for the different players (scientists, engineers
novel components across the world, the Domestic and government representatives) to build confidence
Agencies were set up to take responsibility for most between each other. Finally, cost estimates should be
of the procurement. This is problematic in cases in treated with caution until they are endorsed by those
which the Domestic Agencies (which are responsible who will carry the responsibility for construction, and
to their own governments for the use of their budgets) checked by industry.

Apparatus used in examining

solubility of hydrochloric acid. Fig 36,
‘A Treatise on Chemistry’, Vol 1,
H.E Roscoe & C. Schorlemmer. From
the Royal Society library and archive.

92 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
3.3.5 Capturing the initiative on CO2: the in decline), and tar sands, the use of which will also
global efforts to deploy carbon capture and require CO2 reduction through CCS.
storage (CCS) technology CCS is therefore potentially an important
‘Climate change is a serious and long-term challenge component of the portfolio of technologies required
that has the potential to affect every part of the globe to achieve substantial global emissions reductions.359
[…] use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human This was recognised by the then President of the
activities, contribute in large part to increases in Royal Society, Lord Rees, in a letter to the UK Energy
greenhouse gases associated with the warming of our Secretary, John Hutton, in March 2008, in which he
Earth’s surface.’354 The joint communiqué issued by argued ‘the world is not going to stop burning coal
the G8 leaders at the 2005 Gleneagles summit clearly any time soon. The UK should seize the chance to
summed up the threat of rising global temperatures, get a head start in developing the CCS technologies
and was accompanied by a plan of action which which will be needed worldwide.’360
included a pledge to accelerate the development of CCS has not yet been demonstrated on a large
CCS. The UK Government prioritised climate change scale,361 and will require substantial long-term
during its hosting of the G8 Presidency, and had capital investment—not only because of the capital
begun to recognise the growing importance of CCS, costs of demonstrators, but because of the energy
which had been highlighted by a number of energy it will consume, which is expected to reduce the
companies through their future scenario work.355 efficiency of electricity generation by some 10%
Most scenarios predict that fossil fuels will (eg. from 45% to 35%)362 —the so-called ‘energy
dominate energy supply until at least the middle penalty’. However, Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of
of the century,356 and coal’s global share of energy CCS at the University of Edinburgh, argues that when
consumption recently rose to its highest level since the cost of CCS is debated, ‘no calculation of the
1970.357 It has been claimed that newly built coal- externality of environmental damage—the “cost” of
fired power plants, as long-term capital investments, doing nothing now—is made’. When the cost of this
will ‘lock in’ significant greenhouse gases (GHG) externality is included, it has been calculated that the
emissions for several decades unless they are cost of saving a tonne of CO2 emissions with CCS
retrofitted with CCS.358 Other sources of fossil fuels technologies is in the same order of magnitude as
are becoming increasingly attractive to industry, such doing so with many renewables (which also require
as natural gas (the global price of which has been the construction of infrastructure, and the creation of

354 The Gleneagles Communiqué 357 China and India’s coal 358 See 361 Haszeldine S (2009). Carbon
(2005). Signed by the leaders of consumption also rose by 10% and global-warming-basics/coalfacts. capture and storage: how green
the UK, France, Russia, USA, 7% respectively in 2009. See Carr cfm, accessed 3 November 2010. can black be? Science 325, 5948,
Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and M & Gismatullin E (2010). Coal’s 1647–1652.
the European Commission. share of energy use rises as China, 359 International Energy Agency
India grow. Bloomberg, 9 June (2009). Technology roadmap: 362 Swart R, Marinova N, Bakker S &
355 Interview with David Hone, Senior 2010. Available online at http:// carbon capture and storage. van Tilburg X (2009). Policy options
Group Climate Change Adviser, International Energy Agency: Paris, to respond to rapid climate change
Shell, 20 October 2010. 06-09/coal-burning-surges-to- France. (p 68). Alterra, Wageningen
40-year-high-as-natural-gas-use- University: Wageningen,
356 IPCC (2005). Carbon dioxide capture 360 See Netherlands.
and storage (p 3). Intergovernmental declines-by-record.html. to-Secretary-of-State-on-Carbon-
Panel on Climate Change: Geneva, Capture-and-Storage, accessed 14
Switzerland. March 2011.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 93
subsidies to make them economically viable)363 and Achievements
Part 3 new nuclear build (and waste disposal).364 The Gleneagles communiqué has catalysed a
CCS involves, first, separating (‘capturing’) CO2 number of successes, and has given fresh influence
Global approaches produced at coal or gas burning power plants (fossil to national CCS groups in getting their governments
to global problems fuel-fired power plants are responsible for around to take action. By April 2010, government–industry
one-third of total global CO2 emissions),365 or large collaboration had led to 80 large-scale power
industrial plants. The next step involves compression plant and industrial projects at various stages of
and transportation via pipeline or ship,366 prior to development worldwide, over US$ 26 billion in
storage in deep geological formations, such as saline government support for the development of large-
aquifers or depleted oil or gas wells.367 The cost of scale CCS projects, and government commitment
CCS lies mostly in the capture and compression to the launch of between 19 and 43 large-scale
phases, whereas the risk is mostly involved in the projects.372 Since then, the European Commission
storage phase. Both need to be successful for CCS to has launched the NER 300 scheme, which hopes
work.368 to raise between €4.5 billion and €9 billion to
CCS on power plants therefore requires a large fund the operational costs of (pre) commercial
number of demonstrator units, with three different CCS demonstration projects through selling
capture technologies and a variety of geological emissions allowances on the carbon market; the
conditions. International collaboration in constructing US Government has announced nearly $1 billion
these demonstrators would obviously save costs investment in three large-scale CCS projects,373
and time, and sharing the results would speed up and the UK Government has committed up to
widespread deployment. It was therefore fitting £1 billion for one of the world’s first commercial
that the G8 gave a fresh impetus to these efforts, CCS demonstrations on an electricity generation
now led by the International Energy Agency; the plant, with three additional demonstration plants to
25-member, ministerial level Carbon Sequestration follow.374
Leadership Forum (CSLF), recently joined by the Some of the earlier investments are already
Global CCS Institute,369 established in 2009 with 226 starting to pay dividends. In January 2010, a major
members including national governments, industries end-to-end CCS demonstration facility was launched
and research organisations.370 In the same year the in Lacq, southwestern France, which expects to
IEA published an ambitious roadmap for CCS which capture and store around 120,000 metric tonnes of
called for an additional investment of over US$ 2.5–3 CO2 over the next two years.375 In total, CCS pilot
trillion from 2010 to 2050, which is estimated to projects and test sites around the world already
be 6% of the overall investment needed to achieve capture about 3 megatonnes of CO2 per year.376
a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. To Given the involvement of industry, reaching a
achieve this, CCS technology must spread rapidly to common understanding on intellectual property
the developing world, requiring greater international is essential. The Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), a
collaboration and financing for CCS demonstration diverse coalition in Europe supporting CCS which
in developing countries at an average annual level of involves industry, academia and environmental
US$1.5–2.5 billion from 2010 to 2020.371 NGOs, attempts to address this via an innovative

94 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
three-tier model for sharing detailed results between require ‘vast amounts of capital’ that might not be
the CCS demonstration projects themselves, with recouped for ‘many years’.378 Thomas Kuhn, President
more limited results available to non-publicly funded of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents the
CCS projects, and a further, lower level of sharing majority of US power generators, told a US House of
with the wider public.377 According to its chairman, Representatives Select Committee in June 2008 that
Shell’s Executive Vice President CO2, Dr Graeme commercial deployment of CCS for emissions from
Sweeney, ‘CCS will have a major role to play in large coal-burning power stations would require 25
tackling CO2 emissions. A key enabler for getting years of R&D and cost around $20 billion.379
these projects up and running is close collaboration Acknowledging these financial barriers, President
between industry and government.’ Obama’s Interagency Task Force on CCS stressed
that the establishment of a carbon price is critical, as
Difficulties is the development of supportive policy frameworks.
CCS increases the cost of power generation, and can It also concluded that long-term financial liabilities
therefore only succeed through a robust financial associated with CO2 storage could be a barrier to
and/or regulatory incentive framework. Otherwise, deployment.380 These are due to issues such as
the high upfront cost and the wait for financial returns uncertainty about the quantity of CO2 which could
are substantial barriers to investment. As UK Minister leak from a failed site, or the ability to visualise CO2 in
for Energy, Charles Hendry, has admitted, the the subsurface by low-cost and reliable monitoring
successful implementation of CCS technology will for decades after injection. Communication and

363 For a further discussion of these 367 Injection into operating oil wells next steps. International Energy European Technology Platform for
issues, see Green R (2010). is also a possibility which can be Agency: Paris, France. Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power
Climate-change mitigation from used to enhance oil recovery. Plants (ZEP): Brussels, Belgium.
renewable energy: its contribution 373 US Department of Energy (2010).
and cost. In: The Economics and 368 Friedmann S (2007). Carbon Secretary Chu announces nearly 378 Quoted in Stephenson M (2010).
Politics of Climate Change. Helm capture and storage. Lawrence $1 billion public–private investment How much are we willing to pay for
D & Hepburn C (eds). Oxford Livermore National Laboratory: in industrial carbon capture and CCS? Carbon Capture Journal 17,
University Press: Oxford, UK. Livermore, CA, USA. storage. Press release, June 10, Sept/Oct 2010.
2010. US Department of Energy:
364 Source: Accsept website. Fact 369 See http://www.globalccsinstitute. Washington, DC, USA. 379 Kuhn T (2008). Written testimony of
sheet on carbon dioxide capture and com, accessed 4 October 2010. Thomas R. Kuhn, President, Edison
storage (CCS). Acceptance of CO2 374 See HM Treasury (2010). Spending Electric Institute before the United
370 International Energy Agency review 2010 (pp 23, 61). HM States House of Representatives
capture, storage economics, policy (2010). IEA/CSLF report to the
and technology: DNV, Rotterdam, Treasury: London, UK. Committee on Energy and
Muskoka 2010 G8 Summit. Carbon Commerce Subcommittee on
the Netherlands. Available online at capture and storage: progress and 375 Carbon Capture Journal (2010). Energy and Air Quality: ‘Legislative
next steps. International Energy Total inaugurates Lacq project. proposals to reduce green-house
CCSFactsheet.pdf, accessed 3 Agency: Paris, France. 12 January 2010.
November 2010. gas emissions: an overview’. 19
371 International Energy Agency 376 Source: Science website. See June 2008. See also Pearce F
365 International Energy Agency (2009). Technology roadmap: http://sciencecareers.sciencemag. (2008). Let’s bury coal’s carbon
(2003). CO2 capture at power carbon capture and storage. org/career_magazine/previous_ problem. New Scientist 197, 2649,
stations and other major point International Energy Agency: Paris, issues/articles/2010_05_07/caredit. 36–39.
sources (p 5). Working Party on France. a1000047, accessed 4 November
Fossil Fuels, International Energy 380 The White House (2010). Report
2010. of the Interagency Task Force on
Agency: Paris, France. 372 International Energy Agency
(2010). IEA/CSLF report to the 377 ZEP (2008). EU demonstration Carbon Capture and Storage. The
366 Unless a suitable storage site is Muskoka 2010 G8 summit. Carbon programme for CO2 capture and White House: Washington, DC,
available locally. capture and storage: progress and storage (CCS): ZEP’s proposal. USA.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 95
engagement around CCS has therefore not moved disparate stakeholders from across the political
Part 3as swiftly as might be expected, given the scale spectrum, including industry and environmental
of deployment envisaged, despite some notable NGOs, to work in partnership. Public engagement,
Global approaches successes.381 including sufficient dialogue on the timescale and
to global problems viability of CCS as well as its associated risks, remains
Lessons vital.
Widespread deployment of CCS remains at least a Further intergovernmental agreement will be
decade away (although many analyses of greenhouse critical. Dr Mike Farley, Director of Technology Policy
gas mitigation costs require it to be ready for routine Liaison at Doosan Power Systems and, until June
operation in the 2020s). However, a number of 2010, a member of the UK Government’s Advisory
lessons can be drawn from the efforts to develop Committee on Carbon Abatement Technology
CCS. Firstly, a large-scale endeavour with the scope argues, ‘There are three fundamental steps that need
and ambition of CCS cannot succeed without high- to be taken to ensure CCS is on an equal footing with
level intergovernmental co-operation, significant other energy technologies: regulation, including the
investment and the creation of appropriate financial transfer of liabilities where appropriate; the creation
and regulatory incentives. Secondly, industries which of appropriate financial incentives; and a clear plan
emit CO2 can play a crucial role in any solution, for the next stage of roll-out. A specific, quantifiable
and can bring invaluable resources, expertise and global agreement on CCS would be a huge step
influence.382 Furthermore, CCS has inspired many forward.’

Mexican hieroglyphics, from Voyage

de Humboldt et Bonpland, by Friedrich
Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von
Humboldt, 1811. From the Royal
Society library and archive.

96 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
3.4 Co-ordinated efforts to tackle global such as food, water and energy security, are obvious
problems and well documented, whereas others such as the
Part 3 has provided a snapshot of several prominent ozone hole (and climate change a few decades
international research efforts directed towards global ago) are not. Other problems, such as SARS, arise
challenges. Analysing these different research efforts sufficiently quickly and dangerously as to require
in detail enables the identification of a number of the identification of rapid solutions which need an
recurring themes in the way that global challenges international response, while other potential solutions,
are identified, defined and addressed. These can be such as CCS, benefit greatly from a systematic global
broken down into two stages as follows: approach.
Systematic, proactive horizon scanning is therefore
Initiation crucial in order to bring new problems, and/or new
Identification of the challenge. Previously potential responses to long-standing problems, to
unknown challenges are often identified through the the attention of those in power. The IPCC’s work,
serendipitous discoveries or far-sighted theorising underpinned by a vast international network of
of individual scientists or research teams, as with scientists around the world, is a good example of this
the depletion of the ozone layer, or Arrhenius’s kind of horizon scanning in action. The combined
19th-century prediction of climate change resulting input of stakeholders across the spectrum will be
from greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore invaluable in ensuring the early identification of issues
essential that supporting ‘blue skies’ research and that need, or would benefit from, global responses
empowering outstanding individual scientists to as they emerge, in order to better prepare for future
shape their own research agenda should remain disease outbreaks, resource shortages or challenges
at the heart of national and international science as yet unidentified.
funding. Problems and solutions in science often Identification of suitable forums for initiating
come from unexpected sources. action. Once the problem, or possible solution,
New problems can also be brought to the has been identified, the next vital stage is to get the
attention of scientists and/or policy makers from local problem onto the radar screen of those with the
sources ‘on the ground’, which is often the case in necessary power and resources to be able to act.
the field of infectious disease. In other cases, such as For example, CCS required significant funding and
ITER and CCS, the problem was already well defined political will, which meant that the G8 was the most
and a possible solution needed to be identified; in powerful and decisive body to kick-start the process,
the latter case, industry played a crucial role in this and the interplay between industry, government
through scenario work. science advisers and the leaders themselves
One of the main difficulties lies in identifying proved crucial. In the case of CGIAR, it was the
problems that require a global response—some, sustained long-term support of the World Bank,

381 Hammond J & Shackley S (2010). Research Findings, CCS project 382 Lovell B (2009). Challenged by
Towards a public communication experiences, tools, resources and carbon: the oil industry and climate
and engagement strategy for best practices. Scottish Carbon change. Cambridge University
carbon dioxide capture and storage Capture and Storage, University of Press: Cambridge, UK.
projects in Scotland: a review of Edinburgh: Edinburgh, UK.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 97
Table 3.1. Summary of international research efforts discussed in Part 3.
Part 3
Initiative Strengths Weaknesses
Global approaches IPCC • Comprehensive geographic • High-profile (if not critical) errors in some
to global problems Intergovernmental assessment representation and ownership of its reports
The IPCC is the leading international • Engages governments and policymakers; • Owned by all countries, but governed
body for the assessment of climate clear policy impact by none
change, established by the United Nations • Extends knowledge on climate change; • Straying into policy advocacy
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the shaping research agenda and building • Perceived political bias
World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) research capacity
to provide the world with a clear scientific [The 2010 IAC review of IPCC addresses
• Synthesises and assesses a wide range such weaknesses; the IPCC has
view of the current state of knowledge of high quality research from around the
in climate change and its potential implemented many of its recommendations
world to improve its comprehension, already and will discuss remaining ones at
environmental and socio-economic impacts. relevance and accessibility to the its May 2011 Plenary]
policymaking community
• Stimulates public discourse and profile
of climate change
CGIAR • Highly efficient investment, with every • Currently undergoing radical reforms
Consortium $1 invested leading to $9 worth of which are too early to assess—more
additional food produced in developing centralised structures may result in
CGIAR is a global partnership which aims countries better donor co-ordination and less
to achieve sustainable food security and duplication, but may adversely affect
reduce poverty in developing countries • Combines cutting-edge global research
with practical, local impact freedom of individual centres and
through scientific research and research capacity for exploratory research
-related activities in the fields of agriculture, • Readiness and capacity to undergo
forestry, fisheries, livestock, policy and the radical reform

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation • Drive, ambition and resources • Opaque governance structure
Philanthropy • Supports innovative, risk-taking research • Large investments may create perverse
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the • Provides innovative incentives for the incentives/unintended consequences in
richest private foundation in the world, pharmaceutical industry to address developing countries
dedicated to bringing innovations in health, neglected tropical diseases
development, and learning to the global • Sets an example to other wealthy
community. philanthropists
• Stimulates public–private partnerships
and creativity
• Fast and agile

98 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Initiative Strengths Weaknesses
ITER • Technical agreement was a catalyst for • Time needed to build confidence
Large facilities/infrastructure other agreements between partners working in a new
• Project stimulated international co- configuration
ITER is an international project to design and
build an experimental fusion reactor based operation—huge costs meant it would • Difficulty of reconciling political and
on the ‘tokamak’ concept. not have been possible without it technical interests, resulting (eg.) in sub-
optimal procurement arrangements in
terms of time and cost minimisation
Carbon capture and storage • Brings the resources, expertise and • Scale of the challenge and time required
Government-Industry collaboration research strengths of industry to address to solve it means further international
a major global challenge agreements and funding are necessary
CCS is a range of technologies that have
the potential to trap a significant proportion • CCS has catalysed intergovernmental • Collaboration between government
of CO2 emissions from power stations and co-operation at the highest level, and and industry requires resolution of a
large industrial plants that burn fossil fuels, encouraged genuine commitment number of issues relating to liability and
given added impetus by the decision of the regulation, including the establishment
G8 in 2005 to accelerate its development. of a carbon price

with UN backing, that enabled it to build on the early need for action identified, the next stage involves
successes of private philanthropy. the implementation of the proposed solution.
However, climate change was already apparent Governments must be persuaded to act. This can
to governments around the world by the 1980s, and be through high-level, quiet diplomacy, as the links
it was national meteorological services, responding between industry and government helped to achieve
to the demand for more information from their in the case of CCS, or through more formal reporting
governments, that led to the creation of the IPCC mechanisms such as IPCC and CGIAR.
through the UN mechanism, which represented a Sources of funding also need to be identified.
wide range of countries and brought openness and Long-term projects which require large facilities,
legitimacy. expensive technology and upfront investment,
Where existing institutions or forums are such as CCS and ITER, would not be possible
inappropriate or outdated, new mechanisms have without national governments making long-term
arisen in some cases to fill the gaps. Since its funding commitments or creating appropriate
inception in the 1990s, the Gates Foundation has incentive frameworks, in addition to pooling labour
saved over 3 million lives through the GAVI Alliance, and resources where necessary, and navigating
and focused the agenda of malaria research towards political sensitivities. Where programmes rely on
the eradication of the disease, which arguably would multilateral consensus, buy-in and action, national
not have happened under the auspices of the pre- financial contributions through forums such as the
existing global health bodies. UN are a crucial part of maintaining accountability
and inclusivity. Philanthropists such as the Gates
Implementation Foundation have a vital role to play, as they can take
Once the problem has been defined and the risks and support excellent science wherever it takes

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 99
place, in ways that national governments would find maximise coherence and minimise duplication.
Part 3difficult; the CGIAR’s work was in part pioneered by Multidisciplinarity. Given this
the vision of foundations such as Rockefeller. In areas interconnectedness, a multidisciplinary approach is
Global approaches such as next generation nuclear technology, and essential. One of the key ingredients of the Montreal
to global problems where market incentives encourage it, industry plays Protocol’s success was in bringing together scientists
an important part. and social scientists from a variety of disciplines;
From our analysis of the action taken by the global similarly, IPCC’s working groups bring together
challenge research programmes we have profiled, a natural and social scientists. Researchers from all
number of overarching themes emerge: disciplines have a role to play in shaping future
Governance. Good governance, transparency adaptation and mitigation policies, requiring the
and accountability are crucial to international reconciliation of quite different methodologies and
collaborative frameworks. At the same time, they terminologies.
must be agile and flexible enough to support Funding and incentives. Although many efforts
innovative, risk-taking research—where the to address global challenges are funded directly
philanthropic sector arguably leads the way in some by governments, philanthropists, industry or other
areas. It is also important to ensure that models actors, incentive structures can play a vital role in
are structurally appropriate. ITER, for example, has supporting risk-taking research and encouraging
encountered some difficulties because its main behaviour change. (This is something that is clearly
Organisation and Council are responsible for the being increasingly recognised, as the increase in
project, but most of the budget is held by individual the number of incentive prizes discussed earlier
countries’ Domestic Agencies which are accountable demonstrates.) Reducing CO2 emissions through
only to their own authorities. The IPCC, on the CCS will not be achieved by market forces alone,
other hand, is owned by all UN member states but and will only be possible within an internationally
governed by none of them effectively.383 At the other agreed and effective carbon pricing framework.
extreme, the Gates Foundation’s investments are Pooling of resources also adds value. A fundamental
largely driven by the interests of a single family and achievement of the CGIAR reform has been to
their advisers, whom critics have argued are not convince donors to move from direct funding of
sufficiently responsive to local needs. specific projects or centres to contributing to a
Global challenges are often interdependent and global fund, capable of more strategic deployment of
interrelated, as evident in the interplay between resources and monitoring of impact.
climate change, poverty, water, food and energy Involvement of industry. We have seen how
security, population change, and biodiversity loss. senior experts within power companies are playing
The dynamic between these issues is complex, yet a key role in co-operating with governments in
many global assessment and research programmes developing CCS technology, bringing formidable
are managed separately, reflecting a lack of any knowledge and commitment to addressing the
co-ordination in the policy sphere. Governments, problem. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry
civil society and the private sector need to consider has responded to the Gates Foundation’s financial
how to integrate the many disparate global challenge incentives to develop crucial drugs for saving lives
frameworks in order to co-ordinate research efforts, in the developing world. In any collaborative project,

100 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
but particularly in those involving industry, reaching where traditional scientific infrastructure is weak, this
a common understanding on intellectual property may involve drawing on local indigenous knowledge
will be essential; this is an issue with which ITER is or non-peer-reviewed research, especially in the
having to contend and is demonstrated by the novel development of adaptation strategies which are cost-
approaches devised by the Zero Emissions Platform. effective, participatory and sustainable.385 IPCC’s use
Many global challenges, and CCS is a case in point, of ‘grey literature’ is a case in point. These sources
will require substantial investment from, and the are important, but the management of tensions
creation of an appropriate incentive structure by, between orthodox, peer-reviewed science and
government—but will rely on industry to carry out less formal sources of knowledge will have major
the work. Agreements should take into account the implications for the governance of global challenge
need for publicly funded research to be accountable, research in the years ahead.
and the need to appropriately safeguard and reward Engagement. As global challenges become
innovation and creativity. increasingly prominent, issues of expertise,
Capacity building. All countries have a stake democracy and accountability become more
in solving global challenges, both in defining and pressing. We have seen this with climate change,
prioritising them and in using global research output which has polarised debate in many countries, and
to inform local, national and regional responses. where criticism and analysis have been greatly
However, national and local capacity to deliver amplified in recent years by new media such as
and apply science is highly variable. The IPCC has blogs, Facebook and Twitter. These present a
attempted to develop this capacity in the field of formidable challenge for communications teams at
climate science through its scholarships programme bodies such as the IPCC, which were established
for developing countries, while many have argued in an earlier era. Pressures such as these will raise
that the work of the Gates Foundation could be transparency issues around data access, and may
greatly enhanced by devoting more attention to radically change the way scientists collaborate.
institutional capacity building. Global challenge Likewise, the possible risks and pay-offs associated
programmes should therefore consider incorporating with the development of ambitious technologies such
a capacity-building element,384 to help minimise these as CCS, which involve significant amounts of public
disparities and improve scientific literacy across the funds, should be clearly communicated as they
piece. progress.
Addressing global problems requires an It is therefore critical to ensure continuous
understanding of their local manifestations. In areas assessment of the design and framing of research

383 IAC (2010). Climate change 384 For a discussion of the capacities in science and and sustainable development.
assessments: review of the importance of scientific capacity technology. InterAcademy Council: International Journal of Global
processes and procedures of the in addressing global challenges, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Environmental Issues 1, 2/2001,
IPCC. InterAcademy Council: see InterAcademy Council 130–149.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2004). Inventing a better future: 385 Robinson J & Herbert D (2001).
a strategy for building worldwide Integrating climate change

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 101
questions through to the production, diffusion, vary, but all offer valuable lessons for tackling future
Part 3exploitation and assessment of new knowledge; global challenges.
this will help to ensure that the involvement of all Policy makers now need to harness the self-
Global approaches appropriate stakeholders is encouraged as much organising, researcher-led and bottom-up global
to global problems as possible. Greater public engagement in science, science system and deploy it optimally to address
for example, presents an opportunity for a more critical challenges facing the planet. This will
widespread assessment of some environmental involve both ‘top-down’ approaches that invoke
challenges, as is illustrated by the rise of ‘citizen the combined power and resources of national
science’.386 However, even in cases where science governments as and when necessary, orchestrating
seems to hold the answers, it works best when it is effective co-ordinated work by large interdisciplinary
supported by and enables other approaches, and this teams, and also recognising the pivotal role of
is vital for implementation. individual researchers and small teams.
Models like those discussed here show what can
Moving forward be achieved—and conversely where lessons can
This chapter has discussed five high-profile and be learnt from approaches that have not worked
contrasting approaches to collaboration. Each of so well. Given the urgency of global challenges,
these provides an insight into how scientists organise challenge-led approaches are likely to dominate
themselves, or are encouraged by others, to address research agendas in years to come. This creates
shared challenges. There is no single formula great opportunities for progress, but may also have
appropriate for addressing global problems. Some are unintended consequences as research agendas are
best tackled through intergovernmental co-operation; skewed in certain directions, a risk that will need to
some on the basis of co-ordinating existing national be constantly debated and reviewed.
systems; others are driven by a variety of innovative
partnerships or consortia. Governance frameworks

386 ECOS Magazine (2009). Citizen Scientific and Industrial Research

science breaks new ground. ECOS Organisation (CSIRO) Publishing:
149, 10–14. Commonwealth Collingwood, Victoria, Australia.

102 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

Conclusions and
Cultivating the global
scientific landscape
Strain in graphene opens up a pseudomagnetic gap. Generated by the Condensed Matter Physics Group
at the University of Manchester, this image is a representation of the work at Manchester lead by Professor
Andre Geim FRS, a Royal Society Research Professor, and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, a Royal Society
University Research Fellow. Professors Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in
2010 for their groundbreaking experiments regarding graphene, a form of carbon, which is the thinnest and
strongest material ever isolated. Both men have been cited since their award as ‘global scientists’; both were
born and studied in Russia, spent time in the Netherlands, and are now based here in the UK, attracting
funding and accolades from UK, European, and international sources. © Paco Guinea 2010.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 103
Science is becoming increasingly global, with more suitable collaborators in their field wherever they are
Conclusions and scientific activity taking place in more countries, cities located to progress their research, bringing together
recommendations: and institutions than ever before. At the same time, a range of relevant and complementary skills and
growing global collaboration is making this activity resources.
Cultivating the global increasingly interconnected. Continued growth in Efficiency and effectiveness: the drive to
scientific landscape worldwide research spending and the development combine intellectual, financial and infrastructural
of easier and faster ways to collaborate means that resources, to achieve more than one nation could
this trend looks set to continue. manage alone, best exemplified by multinational
The league tables of science, so long dominated projects such as the LHC and the Human Genome
by the ‘scientific superpowers’ such as the USA, Project.
Western Europe and Japan, are in flux. In the Necessity: to address high-level global challenges
coming years, China, Brazil, India and South Korea such as climate change and pandemics which do
are set to assert themselves even further, along not recognise national boundaries, and which require
with newly emergent scientific nations in the Middle large-scale co-operation and the mobilisation of
East, South-east Asia, North and South Africa, and resources to tackle them, as well as the application
middle-ranking industrial countries such as Canada of global knowledge to local manifestations of these
and Australia as well as some of the smaller nations problems.
of Europe. The recognition of the role that science The challenge for governments, scientists, civil
can play in driving economic development, and in society, and others, is how to reap the maximum
addressing local and global sustainability has led to benefit of global science; how to ensure that the
increased research activity and the application of fruits of this science are best used to address current
science within less developed countries. global issues, and to prepare for the opportunities
International collaboration fundamentally and challenges of the future.
enhances and transforms scientific research; it is The recommendations that follow are intended to
driven by three main factors: provide a basis for scientists, and those who support,
Quality: the added value gained by bringing facilitate and fund scientific activity around the world,
together different skills, knowledge and perspectives to realise the full potential of globally collaborative
(manifested in the increased citations of papers with research.
international collaborators). Scientists search out

104 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
1. Support for international science 2. Internationally collaborative science
should be maintained and strengthened should be encouraged, supported and
In order to best benefit from ‘global science’ (socially, facilitated
economically and intellectually), nations need to be Global collaboration brings significant benefits,
able to adapt their science and innovation strategies both measurable (increased citation impact, access
so that they can absorb the fruits of the best to markets), and less easily quantifiable, such as
research, wherever it may have taken place. This broadening research horizons. It is primarily driven
means being open to collaboration, and participating by scientists seeking to work with the best people
in multi-partner activities where all parties can share and access the best data and equipment wherever
and learn from global scientific excellence. Nations they are found, to develop their research and find
which adopt flexible science and research systems answers to the big questions in their fields. This
will be best placed to respond to the opportunities appetite for collaboration is further fuelled by
offered by the changing science landscape. advances in communication technologies, greater
• Even in difficult economic times, national ease of international travel and the wider impact
governments need to maintain investment of globalisation. Collaboration is also increasingly
in their science base to secure economic essential for addressing the global challenges of the
prosperity, tap into new sources of innovation and 21st century. The facilitation of collaboration therefore
growth, and sustain vital connections across the has a positive impact on national science and on
global research landscape. Sustained investment national science systems.
builds a nation’s capacity to assimilate excellent • Research funders should provide greater
science, wherever it may have been conducted, support for international research
for that country’s benefit. collaboration through research and mobility
• International activities and collaboration grants, and other mechanisms that support
should be embedded in national science research networks.
and innovation strategies so that the domestic • National border agencies should minimise
science base is best placed to benefit from the barriers to the flow of talented people,
intellectual and financial leverage of international ensuring that migration and visa regulations are
partnerships. not too bureaucratic, and do not impede access
• Commitments to multinational research for researchers to the best science and research
efforts and infrastructures should not be across the world.
seen as easy targets for cuts during a period • National research policies should be flexible
of economic turbulence. To cut subscriptions and adaptive in order to ensure that international
to joint research endeavours, without due collaboration between talented scientists is not
diligence and assessment, is a false economy. By stifled by bureaucracy.
disengaging from these efforts, countries run the
risk of isolating their national science and losing
relevance, quality and impact.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 105
3. National and international strategies • Recognising the interconnectedness of global
Conclusions and for science are required to address global challenges, funders of global challenge
recommendations: challenges programmes should devise ways to better
Global challenges are social, economic and co-ordinate their efforts, share good practice,
Cultivating the global environmental in nature, engage a wide range minimise duplication and maximise impact.
scientific landscape of stakeholders, and impact on all cultures and Where possible, these should draw on existing
countries. The global scientific community is infrastructure or shared technology.
increasingly concerned with finding solutions to • National research funding should be
‘global challenges’; while the challenges may be adaptive and responsive to global
interconnected, many of the efforts to tackle them challenges, supporting the interdisciplinary
are not. Governments, civil society and the private and collaborative nature of the science required
sector need to think more systematically about to address these issues.
frameworks for co-operation on global challenges • In devising responses to global challenges,
and how they should relate to each other. governments worldwide need to rely on
There is little natural incentive for the market to robust evidence-based policy making,
drive basic research independently in these areas. and bring excellent scientists into the policy
Consequently, there is a clear role for national advisory process.
governments to take the lead in understanding
and articulating these challenges, bringing together
diverse organisations, philanthropists, researchers
and resources. This should allow scientists to better
respond to new challenges and opportunities for
research, while taking account of the broader social
implications, and recognising the need for equitable
access and participation across the global scientific
community. By the same token, public participation
and ‘citizen science’ will become increasingly
important, as global challenges become more
prominent and more public resources are spent
on them.

Red chalk drawing of sprouting beans

from Anatome plantarum, by Marcello
Malpighi, 1675. From the Royal
Society library and archive.

106 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
4. International capacity building is crucial 5. Better indicators are required in order
to ensure that the impacts of scientific to properly evaluate global science
research are shared globally Traditional metrics do not fully capture the dynamics
Tackling global challenges requires the very best of the emerging global science landscape. Levels
available science: to measure and predict impacts, of investment in R&D, the activities of funding
identify solutions, design mitigation strategies bodies and the characteristics of national science
and evaluate pathways for adaptation. Countries and innovation strategies only tell part of the story.
worldwide need to be involved in the design Global science in 2011 is increasingly characterised
and framing of research questions about shared by bottom-up, researcher-led networks. These are
challenges, and should have an underlying capacity founded on the architecture of national science
to respond to these questions. The wide disparities systems but operate increasingly independently of
between nations in their science spending and them, often at local and regional levels, sometimes
science infrastructure demonstrate that, despite drawing on less conventional sources of science
global growth, there are countries and regions that and innovation. To capture the transformative
are ill-equipped to play a full role in the 21st-century impact that these scientists and their networks are
global landscape. having on international science, more sophisticated
• Researchers and funders should commit to impact measures are required to provide a richer
building scientific capacity in less developed understanding of the available knowledge. They
countries to help improve their ability to conduct, must go beyond the traditional indicators of national
access, verify and use the best science, and to scientific output and recognise the important informal
ensure that they can contribute to global scientific characteristics of collaboration.
debates and develop local solutions to global • UNESCO (and other agencies such as the
problems. OECD) should investigate new ways in which
• Scientific capacity building must involve trends in global science can be captured,
financial support for authors in developing quantified and benchmarked, in order to
countries to publish in open access journals. help improve the accuracy of assessments of
Open access publishing has made a wealth of the quality, use and wider impact of science,
scientific literature available to the developing as well as to gauge the vitality of the research
world, but conversely it has made it harder for environment.
their scientists to publish under the ‘author pays’ • There is a specific lack of data on the flow
model. and migration of talented scientists and
• National academies, learned societies and their diaspora networks. UNESCO, OECD and
other similar institutions should actively others should investigate ways of capturing this
promote public and wider stakeholder information as a priority, which would enable
dialogue to help identify, shape and policy makers to better understand, nurture and
respond to global challenges and their oversee global science for the benefit of society as
local manifestations. a whole.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 107
Glossary of acronyms
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations FONDAP F  und for Advanced Research in Priority
AU African Union Areas
BERD Business enterprise expenditure on FP European Commission’s Framework
research and development Programme
BRIC A grouping acronym that refers to GAVI Global Alliance for Vaccines and
the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, Immunisation
and China that are deemed to all be GERD Gross expenditure on research and
at a similar stage of newly advanced development
economic development GEF Global Environmental Facility
CAGR Compound annual growth rate – an GDP Gross Domestic Product – a measure of
average growth rate over a period of total economic activity
several years G7 Group of seven of the world’s leading
CCS Carbon capture and storage industrialised nations, comprising
CERN the European Organisation for Nuclear Canada, the US, UK, France, Germany,
Research Italy and Japan
CGIAR Consultative Group on International G8 Group of eight which includes Russia
Agricultural Research in addition to the nations above, the
EC European Commission leaders of which meet face-to-face at an
ESO European Organisation for Astronomical annual summit
Research in the Southern Hemisphere G20 Group of twenty finance ministers and
EU European Union central bank governors, established
EIARD European Initiative for Agricultural in 1999 to bring together systemically
Research for Development important industrialized and developing
EURATOM European Atomic Energy Community economies to discuss key issues in the
DAs ITER Domestic Agencies global economy
DfID Department for International GOVERD Government expenditure on research
Development (UK) and development
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the GRISP Global Rice Science Partnership
United Nations GWI Global Water Initiative
FAPESP Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa IAASTD International Assessment of Agricultural
do Estado de São Paulo (Research Knowledge, Science and Technology for
Foundation for the State of São Paulo, Development
Brazil) IAC InterAcademy Council

108 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
ICT Information and communication NGOs Non-governmental Organisations
technologies OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation
ICSU International Council for Science, and Development
formerly International Council of R&D Research and development
Scientific Unions R4L Research4Life – the collective name
IDRC International Development Research for three public-private partnerships
Centre (Canada) which seek to help achieve the UN’s
iGem International Genetically Engineered Millennium Development Goals by
Machine competition providing the developing world with
IO ITER Organisation access to critical scientific research
IPBES Intergovernmental Science-Policy SBSTA Subsidiary Body for Scientific and
Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Technological Advice
Services SESAME Synchroton-light for Experimental
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Science and Applications in the Middle
Change East
IRRI International Rice Research Institute SKA Square Kilometre Array – an international
ISTIC International Science, Technology and effort to build the world’s largest radio
Innovation Centre for South-South telescope
Cooperation (under the auspices of TWAS Academy of Sciences for the Developing
UNESCO) World (formerly Third World Academy of
ITER International Tokamak Experimental Sciences)
Reactor UN United Nations
KAUST King Adbullah University for Science and UN-CSTD United Nations Commission on Science
Technology, Saudi Arabia and Technology for Development (CSTD)
KEMRI Kenya Medical Research Institute UNDP United Nations Development
MDGs Millennium Development Goals – eight Programme
targets which range from halving UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
extreme poverty to halting the spread UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific
of HIV/AIDS and providing universal and Cultural Organisation
primary education, all by the target date UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention
of 2015 –agreed to by all UN member on Climate Change
countries WHO World Health Organisation
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology WMO World Meteorological Organisation
MRC Medical Research Council

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 109
We received 80 responses to our call for evidence Academy of Sciences)
from individuals, academies, research institutions, Professor David Finney CBE FRS
government departments, and other organisations Professor Jacques Friedel ForMemRS
from around the world. These are listed below. Dr Phillip Griffiths
Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Professor Harsh Gupta
Naturales, Venezuela Professor John Gurdon FRS
Academy of Athens Professor Julia Higgins FRS
Academy of Sciences Malaysia Professor Jonathan Howard FRS
Academy of Scientific Research and Technology Professor Julian Hunt CB FRS
(ASRT), Egypt IIASA – International Institute for
Dr Reza Afshari Applied Systems Analysis
Amity Group of Institutions Indian National Science Academy
Professor Werner Arber Professor Yucel Kanpolat
Professor U Aswathanarayana Professor Loet Leydesdorff
Professor David Barker FRS Professor Paul Linden FRS
Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) Professor Alan Mackay FRS
Dr Sydney Brenner FRS Professor Nicholas Mitchison FRS
Professor Jonathan Butterworth Dr Indira Nath
Professor V S Chauhan Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina
Chilean Academy of Sciences Professor Richard Nelmes OBE FRS
Professor Jennifer Clack FRS Dr Rodney Nichols
Dr Malcolm Clarke FRS Professor Anthony Pearson FRS
Dr Rajendra Dobhal Professor Geoffrey Raisman FRS
Eesti Teaduste Akadeemia (Estonian Dr Baldev Raj

110 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Dr Elibio Rech The UK’s Science and Innovation Network based
Professor Miles Reid FRS in the UK Embassies, Consulates, and High
Royal Netherlands Academy Of Arts Commissions listed below, each provided detailed
And Sciences (KNAW) responses to the call for evidence.
Royal Scientific Society, Jordan British Consulate General, Toronto
Science Council of Japan British Consulate General, Milan
Professor James Scott FRS British Consulate-General, San Francisco
Professor Norman Sheppard FRS British Embassy, Berlin
Professor David Sherrington FRS British Embassy, Madrid
Professor Wesley Shrum British Embassy, The Hague
Professor Wilson Sibbett FRS British Embassy, Paris
Professor Peter Singer British Embassy, Prague
Professor K P Sinha British Embassy, Stockholm
Professor Nigel Smart British Embassy, Berne
Professor Karen Steel FRS British Embassy, Tokyo
Sudanese National Academy of Sciences British Embassy, Washington
Dr M K Surappa British Embassy, Beijing
Professor Nick Trefethen FRS British Embassy, Tel Aviv
Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) British Embassy, Warsaw
Professor Atta Ur-Rahman FRS British High Commission, New Delhi
Dr S Varadarajan British High Commission, Singapore
Wellcome Trust British High Commission, Wellington
British Trade & Cultural Office, Taipei

A system of musical pipes from the

Isle of Amsterdam (Tongatapu Island,
Tonga), paper and drawing by Joshua
Steele, 1 December 1775. From the
Royal Society library and archive.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 111
In addition, this study would not have been possible Professor Jonathan Jones FRS
without contributions from a range of individuals and Dr Jong-Deok Kim
organisations. In particular, we would like to thank: Joanna Lacey
Professor Tim Abram Laurie Lee
The Academy of Sciences for the Developing Dr Daniel Lefort
World (TWAS) Dr Sunil Mehra
Professor Howard Alper Professor Charles Mgone
Professor Sir Roy Anderson FRS Microsoft
Professor Lidia Brito OECD
Dr Doo-Yong Choi Dr David Peters
Professor Steve Cowley Dr Fabien Petitcolas
Dr Bruce Currie-Alder Dr Ken Rice
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Professor Thomas Rosswall
Department for International Development (DfID) Dr Yeong-Cheol Seok
Dr Mike Farley Shell
Professor Brian Greenwood FRS Susan Schneegens
Peter Haynes Dr Graeme Sweeney
Professor Stuart Haszeldine UNESCO
Jennifer Heurley Dr Jonathan Wadsworth
Steve Hillier Professor Bob Watson
David Hone Jun Yanagi
Dame Sue Ion Dr Axel Zander
InterAcademy Panel (IAP) Dr Bob Zeigler
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Dr Gang Zhang

112 Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century
Side elevations of an armed vessel
powered by rowers. An illustration for
Samuel Baron’s A description of the
kingdom of Tonqueen, 1685. From the
Royal Society library and archive.

Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century 113
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