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The Role of Science and Technology In National and Regional Development

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  • Last modified on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 09:35

Article Index:

Context

In the Caribbean science and technology (S&T) have had inconsistent support and consequently disappointing results. Research and development and other S&T institutions have been created and policy and plans written, but coherent knowledge infrastructures have yet to emerge. University departments and research centres, devoted to S&T, have existed for decades, but the transforming positive effects of these tools, as seen in the industrialized and recently developed countries, are still only forlorned hopes in the region. Confidence in S&T as development instruments still remains elusive.

On top of this, countries in the Caribbean face serious socio-economic problems that only scientific research, innovation and knowledge can solve. For example, those of clean and affordable energy, food security and growing degradation of fragile environments, still present chronic challenges. These difficulties have contributed to enemic economic growth with insufficient number of jobs and possibilities for new occupations, with heightened social and political tension, much acrimony, class discrimination and blatant inequality.

Although much is said publically about the importance of S&T these imperatives are considered optional extras. It is not strange for them to be given ceremonial support in one political administration, to be totally ignored by another. At best, S&T receive minimal affirmation mainly for fad and fashion and less for the purposes of serious national development.

The region has produced high quality graduates in science and engineering, however, the majority of them have to ply their talents abroad. At the same time, significant sums are being spent on foreign consultants, technological advice and equipment, some of which are entirely inappropriate to local circumstances and conditions.

Objective

The objective of this discourse therefore is to determine what can be done to improve the worsening situation, by exploring the relationships between science, technology, innovation and socio-economic development.

Placing Entrepreneurship on the Cutting Edge of Knowledge

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  • Last modified on Friday, 10 January 2014 14:47

Introduction

In today’s overtly competitive ethos there is a strong tendency to take technological centrality in businesses for granted and consequently there is injudicious reliance for knowledge on foreign sources. The disproportionate time and energies given to vaunted economic fundamentals, such as inflation, interest and exchange rates, with almost total neglect of the urgency for proper science and technology (S&T) foundations, are ample testimony of this fact. This, despite that it is now widely accepted that the creation of a country’s wealth and dynamism depend on the innovativeness and the scientific caliber of its firms. While these factors in-turn rely on the scientific and technological capabilities of its workers, knowledge and aptitude of its entrepreneurs, and acute awareness of its leaders, managers and bankers, of the imperative to operate in fast moving technological circumstances.

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