Global Innovation & National Interests

Over the last 30 years, since the end of the cold war, the lowering of global barriers and the growth of global public and private Research and Development (R&D) to almost US$2 trillion per year has forever altered global geopolitics and economics. Cross-border research and innovation collaborations and the growth of cross-border supply chains as innovative ecosystems means that no country goes it alone in science and engineering. To illustrate, in the 1960s the USA undertook 70% of global R&D. It is now less than 30% with 20 countries now matching or exceeding the USA in R&D intensity. In the decentralized but densely networked 21st century world of Science & Engineering (S&E) how does each country ensure benefit from its R&D spend? What is the “national interest” role of universities, funded largely by national taxpayers, and of multinationals, with their international footprint, in the new order? These questions have been the focus of a 2-year international project exploring global innovation and national interests exploring these issues. China, of course, poses a special case and challenge for the liberal democracies. It is the fastest growing R&D powerhouse but with a political system quite different from the liberal democracies; there is no presumption of consent of the governed and some high-tech multinationals are more agents of the state than private enterprises. The challenge for the liberal democracies and their S&E institutions is to navigate the necessary cross-border collaboration, particularly on ‘Grand Challenges’ such as climate change, while keeping an eye on national economic and geopolitical interests. This is a huge challenge for the UK S&E community, long accustomed to thinking of global collaboration – beyond defence secrets – as net positive engagements benefitting all humankind.


Professor David Bogle studied Chemical Engineering at Imperial College at both undergraduate and graduate levels, receiving his PhD in 1983. Following this, he worked on modelling and control projects for British Gas before taking a position as lecturer at the University of Adelaide , a position he held from 1986 until 1990. Prof Bogle joined UCL as a lecturer in 1990. He was appointed Professor in 2000. He was Technical Programme Director for the 2005 World Congress of Chemical Engineering. In 2005 he was appointed Head of the UCL Graduate School. Since 2008 he has been chair of the Steering Group of the LERU Doctoral Studies Community. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

11:00 - 11:45 GMT


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    David Bogle
    Pro-Vice-Provost of the Doctoral School
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    Professor Michael Mainelli
    Executive Chairman
    Z/Yen Group