We used to know where new ideas would come from: universities, science parks and corporate research centres in rich countries. Think again. Products are assembled along global supply chains. Savings flow through global financial markets. Something similar is happening to how ideas and technology develop. The rise of China and India means US and European pre-eminence in science-based innovation cannot be taken for granted. Nor can the knowledge jobs that have depended on it. Rapidly growing markets, combined with rising state spending on research and expanding pools of skilled labour, buoyed by nomad innovators returning from the US, are attracting multinationals and enabling home-grown companies to do more in Asia’s innovation hotspots. The barriers to entry into science are falling fast, especially in emerging sciences, such as nanotechnology. Asian innovation will open opportunities as well as pose challenges. European innovators will find new consumers to sell to and new partners to work with. More researchers, with better tools, will be more able to tackle global challenges, such as climate change and new pandemics.
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