miércoles, junio 28, 2006

Brief overview of Structure of C&T in six countries.

1) Administrative Structure of Government-funded Research and Development in Germany

Gross domestic expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) by the Federal Republic of Germany totalled EUR 53.3 billion in 2002, i.d. 2.52 % of the gross domestic product. The Government sector spent EUR 16.7 billion, or nearly one third of the total R&D expenditure. The Government sector is financed by the Federal Government (Bund) and the 16 Federal States (Länder). EUR 9.0 billion was spent by the Federal Government in 2002.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) coordinates the federal R&D policy. Nearly two-thirds of all federal R&D expenditure is financed by the BMBF’s budget. The research budgets of the BMBF, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA) and of Defense (BMVg) account for almost 90 % of total federal R&D expenditure.

The public German research landscape essentially comprises of the higher education sector and nonuniversity research institutions. The higher education sector received R&D funding worth EUR 7.7 billion and non-university research institutions EUR 6.8 billion – all together around 750 research institutions are government-funded. Furthermore, the business enterprise sector received EUR 2.3 billion for R&D from public funds.

The Federal States (FS) and the Federal Governments (FG) support jointly two major non-university research organisations, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG). The FG provides 50% of the basic funding for the MPG and 90% of the FhG. The 77 MPG institutes conduct basic research in new fields of high importance. The 58 FhG institutes concentrate on applied R&D. The 15 national research institutions, which form the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres (HGF), are an important part of the German research capacity. The major research establishments receive 90% of their funding from the FG and 10% from the FS in which they are situated. They work on complex technical tasks, operate large scientific and technical apparatus and develop systematic solutions of national interest.

The 80 Leibniz Institutes (WGL) represent the fourth pillar of research establishments jointly funded by FG and FS. The Leibniz Institutes differ greatly according to their tasks, size, location and legal form. Most of the institutes focus on application-oriented basic research and focus on long-term research projects, including various service functions for the science community. The support organisation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) is also funded by the FG and the FS (58:42). The DFG primarily supports higher education institutions across all their disciplines by means of competitive project funding, financing scientific programs and research centers as well as promoting young scientists.

Higher education institutions have traditionally been the backbone of the German research system, including basic research, applied research and development. Major R&D funding for the higher education sector comes from the FS, but the FG is also involved by co-financing buildings, special programs and large-scale scientific equipment. The R&D expenditure of around 50 federal research institutions amounts to some EUR 660 million (fully funded by FG). These institutions perform their R&D functions in the framework of various responsibilities assigned to the federal ministries. The FS also finance numerous research institutions of their own and seven Academies. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are of key importance with respect to scientific exchange and grants programs as well as for fostering international co-operation.

For further information:

2) Administrative Structure of Government-funded Science and Technology in Ireland

In recent years, the Irish Government has substantially increased investment in technology, innovation and scientific research, achieving a five-fold increase in investment in the National Development Plan (2000-2006) to €2.48 billion, compared with €0.5 billion over the period 1994-1999. The Government decision, in June 2004, to establish a Cabinet Committee on Science and Technology, supported by an Inter-Departmental Committee and the appointment of Ireland’s first Chief Science Adviser (
http://www.c-s.ie), places research and development at the centre of Government policy at the highest level to date and initiates the mechanism to ensure effective oversight and review of the investment underway, and to provide strategic direction and coherence to that investment.

The Office of Science and Technology (OST;
http://www.entemp.ie/science/technology) is responsible for the development, promotion and co-ordination of Ireland's Science, Technology and Innovation policy; and Ireland's policy in European Union and international research activities. The OST is advised by Forfás (http://www.forfas.ie) in accordance with its statutory remit and the Advisory Council for Science Technology and Innovation, established as a sub-board of Forfás.

As part of its economic development strategy Ireland is currently building its core R&D capacity and capabilities. The recent investment by Government through the National Development Plan has allowed the research community to develop three to five year research strategies and it has been instrumental in the creation of significantly enhanced research capabilities in third level institutions and in government research bodies, across a wide range of sectors including biotechnology, ICT, marine, food products, agriculture and health.

The Higher Education Authority Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (
http://www.hea.ie/index.cfm/page/sub/id/448) facilitates development of researchers and physical infrastructure as the essential building blocks for the research system and has provided the foundations for sectorial programme and project funding. To date €605 million has been allocated to third level institutions (€404.3 million to buildings and equipment and €200.7 million to research programmes and researchers).

Science Foundation Ireland (
http://www.sfi.ie/home/index.asp ) is investing €646 million between 2000 and 2006 in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises in the fields underpinning biotechnology and information and communications technology. Science Foundation Ireland also funds co-operative efforts between academics, government, and industry that support its fields of emphasis.

Ireland has established Research Councils for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET;
http://www.ircset.ie ) and for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS; http://www.irchss.ie ) which are funding a broad range of students in their postgraduate studies. The recent introduction by IRCSET of a pilot scheme of cooperative awards with selected industrial sectors illustrates the strong role these Councils can potentially play in linking in to economic development.

3. Government-funded science and technology in Italy.

Research and technology in Italy is funded for a 55% by the Government and for 45% by the industries. The public funding is divided between the Universities, and the Public Research (and other) Institutions.The Ministry responsible for the Instruction, Universities and Research and Technology is the MIUR. The 77 Universities are, for the vast majority, public. They are funded mainly by the MIUR. The University personnel is 57 000, the undergraduate students are 1 700 000, the graduate students 14 000. A fraction of the funding is for research activities. This is not inluded in the table and can be evaluated to a total similar to the expenditures in the Research Institutions. MIUR funds the majority of the public Research Institutions. Several of these have been recently reformed in the framework of a rationalisation design of the Government.

The principal Research Institutions are the following: CNR, ASI, ESA, INFN, INGV and INAF under MIUR, ENEA under Ministry for Production Activities, ISS and ISPELS under the Ministry for Health. There are other 12 smaller Institutions under the supervision of MIUR, 32 of the Ministry for Health and 23 of the Ministry for Agriculture and Forests. The total personnel is abut 30 000. CNR is the Research Council, covering all the research fields, but those in which a specialized Institution exists. Its has eight Departments, one for each of the main R&T areas

a. Biotechnologies
b. Medical Sciences and Technologies
c. Materials Sciences and Technologies
d. Environment and Earth Sciences and Technologies
e. Information and Communications Sciences and Technologies
f. Sciences and Technologies for advanced Production Systems
g. Juridical and Socio-economical Sciences and Technologies
h. Humanities and Cultural Heritage Sciences

4) Administrative Structure of Government-funded Science and Technology in Japan

In Japan, there was a major reorganization of the core ministries and agencies in January 2001. The changes included the establishment of the new “Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP)” and the “Council for Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP)” in the Cabinet office, and the merger of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (Monbusho) and the Science and Technology Agency of Japan (STA) to form the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to unify the responsibilities for science and technology and for promotion of academic activities. Most national research institutes became independent administrative agencies on April 1, 2001. All national universities and junior colleges will become independent administrative agencies on April 1, 2004.

The cabinet office conducts planning, drafts, and undertakes comprehensive adjustments of basic science and fiscal policy. The Minister for science and technology policy plans and proposes science and technology policy with CSTP to ensure development of dynamic policies. The Minister for economic and fiscal policy also plans and proposes basic policy on economic and fiscal affairs with CEFP.

Japanese government invests more than 30 billion US dollars annually in R&D, and has more than 50 national institutes involved in science and technology. Government R&D investments account for slightly less than one-quarter of total national investments, with Japanese industry accounting for most of the remainder. There are more than 650 universities and colleges in Japan, over 90 of them national universities. MEXT makes and promotes concrete plans for research and development, and is empowered to coordinate with other relevant ministries. MEXT and other ministries promote research and development related to their substantive missions through their national institutes and through grants to universities and contracts with private corporations, for example, based on the basic policies formulated by CSTP and CEFP, and the science council under each ministry.

Scientists apply for research grants through their universities and institutes or directly. They may also apply to one of the independent organizations which are fully funded by several ministries. For example, both the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST), funded by MEXT, have significant grant programs. Likewise, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which is fully funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), provides grants for research related to energy and new technologies. The various ministries prepare their annual budget requests with advice and guidance from their external advisory committees, and in consultation with the CSTP and the Ministry of Finance. After these budgets are submitted to the Cabinet Office, the CSTP may request further modifications. Budgets are submitted to the Diet at the end of each calendar year for final approval.

5. United Kingdom.

The UK government invests some GBP9billion (2003-04 figures) annually on science, engineering and technology (SET), comprising GBP4.0billion on the ‘science base’, mostly via the Research Councils, universities and associated bodies; GBP2.6billion on defence; and GBP2.2billion in other government departments. Public funds are provided by the Treasury (HMT) consistent with the Government’s policies and spending plans. Since 1997 the provision of funds has been based on biennial comprehensive Spending Reviews conducted by the Treasury (. . . 2002, 2004) which fix departmental spending plans for a three-year period. Annual funding submissions are made within this envelope.

Research Council funding is largely allocated in grants to Universities (which are public institutions) and to Research Council Institutes, where most public sector research is carried out. The Universities come under the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) which is responsible for providing the basic infrastructure for carrying out the research; this bimodal scheme is referred to as the dual support system. The Research Councils also provide large facilities for research by University scientists, and subscriptions to international research organisations.

In all these activities, the Government seeks to involve industry and the private sector generally. In addition to this framework, there is a range of advisory bodies and other nongovernment institutions. At the centre of government the Cabinet Office reports to the Prime Minister, receiving advice from the Council for Science and Technology (a group of eminent individuals from government, industry and academia), as well as that from the CSA. Parliament considers SET affairs in its own Select Committees, which comprise individual members of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Other bodies with a significant role include the learned societies and professional institutions.

6. USA.

The US government currently invests over $30 billion annually in research and development (R&D). This amounts to approximately one-quarter of US national R&D expenditures, with industry accounting for most of the remainder. Six departments and agencies account for over 90 percent of this budget: the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Agriculture. The US Congress, which has the Constitutional authority to review and approve the President’s annual budget, often with significant changes, also plays an important role in formulating and overseeing implementation of the US government’s science policies.

Each of the six principal R&D departments and agencies either fund or manage research facilities (often called national laboratories) in all parts of the United States. Although there are more than 3,000 institutions of higher education in the United States, approximately 100 universities account for over 80 percent of all government-funded research and close to 90 percent of all PhDs awarded in science and engineering. Approximately one-third of these are private institutions and two-thirds are state universities. (The United States has no system of national universities.)

By law, each government agency must submit an approved five-year strategic plan to OMB and the Congress, in addition to annual performance plans based on these five-year plans. Agencies must then evaluate themselves annually as to how well they have met their annual objectives, with these evaluations submitted to OMB and the Congress along with their annual budget requests. OMB rates each agency according to its own assessment of their self-evaluations and posts these ratings on its website. Each of the six principal departments and agencies has one or more advisory committees consisting of distinguished individuals from private industry and leading universities. These committees guide agency programs, recommending approval of new programs or elimination of older programs. They also provide guidance in the preparation of annual budgets, five-year strategic plans, and annual performance plans.

World Bank -GEF "Biosafety" projects. Groups reject.

Groups in Latin America and Africa call for rejection of World Bank-GEF biosafety projects
Released by:
African Centre for Biosafety - http://www.biosafetyafrica.net
Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos - http://www.rallt.org
Two World Bank projects, with funding from the GEF (Global Environmental Facility), propose to introduce genetically modified crops such as maize, potatoes, cassava, rice and cotton into five Latin American and four African countries that are centers of origin or diversity for these and other major food crops. Civil society organizations warn that DNA contamination from genetically modified crops poses an unacceptable risk to stable crops that are the basis of peasant economies in these regions. The multi-million dollar projects are being promoted under the guise of scientific biosafety research, but civil society organizations on both continents are calling for their immediate rejection because they threaten food sovereignty and farmer-controlled seed systems.
The African Center for Biosafety, the Network for Latin America Free of Transgenics and the international organizations Grain and ETC Group have released an in-depth analysis of two World Bank projects: West Africa Regional Biosafety Project affecting Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo; and Latin American Multi-Country Capacity Building in Biosafety, to be implemented in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.
"Although they are presented as 'biosafety' projects, these proposals pave the way for the introduction of GM varieties of staple crops that are of fundamental importance to peasant communities" said Elizabeth Bravo from the Network for Latin America Free of Transgenics. The project participants include research institutions within the different countries, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, based in Colombia, a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, CGIAR) and the World Bank. Project advisors include AfricaBio and PRRI (Public Research and Regulation Initiative), industry-affiliated organizations that are well-known promoters of GM crops. Civil society organizations point out that, by opening new markets to GM crops, it is the biotech industry that is the true beneficiary of the project. According to Grain, "The projects are clearly driven by an outside agenda. At their core is a long-standing strategy pursued by the World Bank and the US government to harmonise GM crops regulations across regions in order to override national processes that are more susceptible to local opposition. The idea is to establish favourable regulations in a few key countries and then use these regulations as a model that can be imposed on neighbouring countries by regional bodies. In this way, they side-step any possible democratic debate and provide corporations with a large, one-stop shop for their GM crops."
Recalling the DNA contamination of native maize grown by peasant farmers in Mexico, Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group points out, "The Mexican government has done nothing to hinder the illegal GM contamination of peasant maize in Mexico. On the contrary, they have exempted the companies from responsibility by passing a national biosafety law that is popularly known as the ´Monsanto Law' because it only protects the interests of transnational biotech companies," adds Ribeiro. The World Bank projects, explains Ribeiro, talk about capacity building based on "science-based mechanisms" to manage contamination, but, she says, "This doesn't exist; it is written to mollify critics and give the false impression that it's possible to introduce transgenic maize in Mexico in a 'safe' way, and to demonstrate that GM can be introduced in other centers of origin and diversity in the South. Contamination can only be 'managed' by farmers and indigenous people who have been forced to develop strategies to confront it."
In the case of Africa, the project proposes to conduct experimental field trials of GM crops, while in Latin America, "capacity building" is proposed as the approach to managing crop contamination. In both cases, the underlying assumption is that transgenic crops are already being grown, or will be introduced in the near future, and thus, that contamination is unavoidable. Therefore, the projects aim to develop methods to manage it, along with "cost-benefit" analyses and ways to manage public opinion as well. "The projects ignore the possibility that GM crops are not allowed, which is precisely what the majority of small farmers and peasant communities in the targeted countries have demanded. If this reality were respected, there would be no need to 'manage' contamination or develop costly biosafety mechanisms because the crops wouldn't be exposed to the risk of contamination," declares Mariam Mayet from the non-governmental African Center for Biosafety.
Genuine public debate and the opinions of the affected communities are widely disregarded in the project proposals. Both project proposals have been circulated in English only, while the official languages of the targeted countries is French in Africa, and Spanish or Portuguese in Latin America. "It's scandalous that they are trying to legitimize the introduction of GM crops in centers of origin and diversity, as is the case with maize in Mexico, potatoes and cotton in Peru and cassava in Brazil. Even rice, which doesn't originate in our region has been largely adapted by peasants on our continent, becoming an important component of local food," said German Velez, from the Colombian civil society organization Semillas. "Under the guise of 'scientific research' the goal is to legitimate the contamination of seeds that are the basis of peasant economies - and ultimately create dependence on corporate seeds. Clearly, this only benefits the biotech industry," continues Velez.
The project also proposes to educate authorities and the public in order to link the idea of biosafety to biotechnology, and to achieve a "less alarmist public discourse." "The GEF's so-called biosafety 'capacity building' has been denounced all over the world as a public participation farce - its primary aim is to win biosafety laws that are favorable to the biotech industry," agrees Eva Carazo, from the Biodiversity Coordination Network in Costa Rica. "In Costa Rica, the Biodiversity Coordination Network demanded that GEF stop giving funds for this purpose. But this time GEF is coming back with even more dangerous projects, because this time it's about introducing GM crops in the centers of origin and diversity for those crops," says Carazo. The groups are demanding the cancellation of the projects, which have not yet received final approval by the GEF. The full analysis of the World Bank biosafety projects can be downloaded here: www.grain.org