Innovation and Value-Capture Strategies for Economic Growth

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Project Brief

October 7, 2019

Advances in science and technology have been responsible both for global economic growth and for visible and dramatic improvements in human health, environmental protection, and safety and security (e.g., elimination of diseases, air and water quality improvement, and reduction of impact of natural disasters).

While R&D is global, the majority of leading R&D organizations (university, government, and corporate) are located in approximately twenty countries, where public and private R&D expenditures regularly exceed two percent of GDP and/or $1,000 per capita annually.  The list of R&D-intensive countries includes the US, Germany, China, France, Japan, and South Korea, as well as smaller economies such as Sweden, Denmark, Israel, and Singapore.

We can refer to these countries loosely as the R&D20.  Research, development, and demonstration activities in these nations are knit together as dense networks by personnel flows and exchanges, collaborative research, open publication, international IPR systems, government technology exchanges, and innovations that draw on multiple sources of science, engineering, and IPR from around the world.

This global innovation system is complex and highly transnational.  As of 2019, several significant challenges have emerged for the R&D20, which merit prompt and comprehensive attention, among them:

  • Economic nationalism, disregard of international agreements, and norm-busting national trade and industrial policies.

  • The national economic competitiveness and national security implications of foreign direct investment in emerging technologies such as AI, batteries, and biotech.

  • The need for immediate increased global collaborative R&D in non-competitive fields such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, and public health.

This project focuses on the management and policy challenges required to support continued global growth in innovation even while recognizing strong and legitimate national interests in value-capture from science and engineering advances.  As such, the project takes the unique approach of evaluating both the operational-level management of, and larger national policies and international agreements affecting, university-based research and research-education, government research funding and performance, and globally distributed corporate R&D.

The work consists of research, publication and international working group meetings to:

  1. Document the nature of global R&D networks as well as trends toward uncoupling or possibly even tighter coupling than now exists.

  2. Illuminate material differences in the practices of different nations and organizations.

  3. Explore approaches (laws, regulations, practices, multinational agreements) that can strengthen the global innovation system while protecting national economic and national security interests.

  4. Understand better the national and global distribution of costs and benefits from global R&D and assorted technology transfer activities.

For more information about the project, please email Eion Lys.


The BRG Institute was founded by Berkeley Research Group, LLC as an independent nonprofit corporation to advance knowledge on the global economy, the corporation, technological innovation, financial institutions, and elements of law and policy through research, open publication, and public engagement.