Science, technology and innovation policy

Global Science Forum reports


Global Science Forum > Publications and documents


Promoting diverse career pathways for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers
September 2023

This report analyses the career options of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. It identifies policies and practices to promote diverse careers, flexible career trajectories and ultimately better-quality research and innovation across different economic and social sectors. The report presents a conceptual framework and synthesis of available data and policy information. It offers recommendations and a set of policy options to: promote engagement and interaction with employers outside academia; provide researchers with experience and skills for diverse careers; encourage valorisation of diverse career options; support career development and guidance for researchers; promote inter-sectoral mobility; and, reconfigure and support careers in academia.

COVID-19, resilience and the interface between science, policy and society
July 2023

This is the last in a series of three reports that explore how science was mobilised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report focuses on system-level issues and highlights challenges and opportunities that are inherent to the organisation of science systems and that need to be addressed to improve the resilience of these systems and their capacity to address complex societal challenges and crises. The analysis is structured around five interconnected themes: the strategic mobilisation of science capacity; managing conflicting priorities; co-ordination and collaboration across levels of governance; transdisciplinary and reflexive science; and dynamic and system-oriented governance. Key areas for intervention and more specific policy actions are identified under each theme and provide a framework for systemic action to strengthen science in support of socio-technological transitions.

COVID-19 and science for policy and society
July 2023

This is the second in a series of three reports that explore how science was mobilised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on science for policy – research agenda setting, scientific advice and public communication and engagement. The report includes recommendations and options for policy action to improve the resilience of national science systems and their capacity to cooperate internationally in response to crises. The context in each country is different, as illustrated by the many case studies included in the report, and so the priority attached to these recommendations and the specific details of how they might be implemented will vary. They are provided as an overall framework for science policymakers and other actors, including research funders and research providers, to consider.

COVID-19 and policy for science
July 2023

This is the first in a series of three reports that explore how science was mobilised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on policy for science – access to data and information, the role of infrastructures and the interface between academia and industry. The report includes recommendations and options for policy action to improve the resilience of national science systems and their capacity to co-operate internationally in response to crises. The context in each country is different, as illustrated by the many case studies included in the report, and so the priority attached to these recommendations and the specific details of how they might be implemented will vary. They are provided as an overall framework for science policymakers and other actors, including research funders and research providers, to consider.

Very Large Research Infrastructures: Policy issues and options
July 2023

Very Large Research Infrastructures (VLRIs) are unique, complex undertakings with a strong international dimension that play a critical role in frontier research in most scientific domains. VLRIs require considerable care in their construction and operation, as well as very substantial investments and technological innovations. Recent evolutions in the political, socio-economic and scientific context are challenging their established planning and management models. This policy report identifies and analyses good practices and presents a series of lessons learned regarding the establishment of VLRIs, options for improving their use and operation, as well as more strategic considerations that VLRI managers, funders and decision-makers should take into consideration.

Public research funding in Sweden: Optimising the system in response to multiple demands
May 2023

This report provides input to a national review of the public research funding system in Sweden. It is designed to inform a broader dialogue that is taking place amongst different research stakeholders in Sweden. The report contains proposals and options for changes for Swedish public funding of research and innovation to effectively promote research excellence, support innovation and respond to societal needs. These proposals are supported by relevant international examples. The analysis takes into account insights from the OECD review of innovation policy in Sweden in 2016 and recent OECD work on different aspects of public research funding and research infrastructure.

Integrity and security in the global research ecosystem
June 2022

This report describes policy initiatives and actions to safeguard national and economic security whilst protecting freedom of enquiry, promoting international research cooperation, and ensuring openness and non-discrimination. It includes examples of actions that are being taken to prevent foreign interference, manage risks, and help ensure trust in science in the future, and offers recommendations to help countries develop effective policies to strengthen research security as part of a broader framework of research integrity.

Reducing the precarity of academic research careers
May 2021

This report analyses academic research careers, with a focus on the “research precariat”, defined as postdoctoral researchers holding fixed-term positions without permanent or continuous employment prospects. It identifies policies and practices that aim to improve researchers’ well-being, develop more diverse, equitable and inclusive research systems, attract and retain the best talent in academia, and ultimately improve the quality of science.

Effective policies to foster high-risk/high-reward research
May 2021

This report analyses policies and research funding mechanisms designed to foster high-risk high-reward (HRHR) research, and explores promising practices for fostering HRHR research in a variety of contexts. The underlying concern is that failure to encourage and support research on risky, ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas may jeopardise a country’s longer-term ability to compete economically, harness science for solving national and global challenges, and contribute to the progress of science as a whole.

Optimising the operation and use of national research infrastructures
August 2020

This report presents a generic framework for improving the use and operation of national research infrastructures (RIs), which play a key role in enabling and developing research in all scientific domains and represent an increasingly large share of research investment. It includes two guiding models: one for portfolio management and one for user-base optimisation. These identify the key principles of an effective national RI portfolio management system and the factors that RI managers should consider with regards to optimising the user base of national RIs. Both guiding models account for the diversity of national systems and RI operation approaches. The report also contains a series of more generic policy recommendations and suggested actions for RI portfolio managers and RI managers.

Building digital workforce capacity and skills for data-intensive science
July 2020

This report looks at the human resource requirements for data-intensive science, focusing primarily on research conducted in the public sector, and the related challenges and training needs. It includes policy recommendations for various actors and good practice examples to support these recommendations.

Addressing societal challenges using transdisciplinary research
June 2020

This report looks at how transdisciplinary research, which combines knowledge from different scientific disciplines with that of public and private sector stakeholders and citizens, can be used to address complex societal challenges. This includes developing effective responses in acute crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as longer-term solutions for sustainability development. In a series of 28 case studies, each of which is briefly summarised in the report, it identifies the key obstacles to effectively implementing transdisciplinary research.

Reference framework for assessing the scientific and socio-economic impact of research infrastructures
March 2019

This report aims to provide funders, decision-makers and research infrastructure (RI) managers with a generic and versatile tool, based on current community practices, to evaluate the achievement of scientific and socio-economic objectives realistically. The framework can be adapted for different types of RIs and different stages in the RI lifecycle. This tool should facilitate the communication and reporting between different RI stakeholders.

Scientific advice during crises: facilitating transnational co-operation and exchange of information
October 2018

Scientific advice has an important role to play in all phases of the crisis management cycle - preparedness, response and recovery. This report looks at how scientific advice can best support crisis management during transnational crises, such as those provoked by natural hazards or pandemics.

Effective operation of competitive research funding mechanisms
October 2018

This report analyses existing competitive research funding mechanisms and their effectiveness, taking into account a variety of contextual factors. It focuses on the efficiency of funding allocation mechanisms relative to their objectives. It is aimed both at the research funding community and policy-makers wishing to adapt competitive research funding strategies to different objectives. It includes a number of policy recommendations, which engage different actors and are derived from the analysis including identification of gaps in the available data and information.

Open and inclusive collaboration in science: A framework
March 2018

Digitalisation is fundamentally changing science and the paper lays out some of the opportunities, risks and major policy challenges associated with these changes. More specifically, the paper lays out a conceptual framework for open science. This framework incorporates access to data and information, as well as civil society engagement, in the different stages of the scientific research process.

Strengthening the effectiveness and sustainability of international research infrastructures
December 2017

This report identifies the challenges faced by research infrastructure funders, managers and operators throughout the different phases of the research infrastructure life-cycle. It presents practical solutions arising from case studies and proposes a series of policy recommendations.

Coordination and support of international research data networks
December 2017

This report explores the challenges and enablers for the effective functioning of international research data networks. It includes a set of policy recommendations as a basis for building the shared understanding that is necessary to develop effective and sustainable international research data networks

Open research agenda setting
December 2017

This report includes an analysis of 7 different initiatives to engage citizens in the co-design of research agendas.  The report includes 10 key observations or lessons learned to help guide policy-makers, research funders and researchers who are interested in citizen engagement in science.

Digital platforms for facilitating access to research infrastructures
December 2017

This report includes an analysis of 8 case studies of digital platforms that collate information and provide services to promote broader access to, and more effective use of, research infrastructures. A number of key issues are identified that can help guide policy-makers, funders, institutions and managers, who are interested in developing or contributing to such platforms.

Business models for sustainable research data repositories
December 2017

This report explores the income streams, costs, value propositions, and business models for 48 research data repositories. It includes a set of recommendations designed to provide a framework for developing sustainable business models and to assist policy makers and funders in supporting repositories with a balance of policy regulation and incentives.

Report of the Astroparticle Physics International Forum (APIF)
February 2017

This report has been compiled by members of the Astroparticle Physics International Forum (APIF), which was established in 2011 following the recommendation of a GSF Working Group. The report serves a standard accountability function and details the activities and the value of APIF in the period up to the end of 2016, during which it has convened under the aegis of OECD-GSF. In 2017, the APIF secretariat was transferred to the Kavli Institute for Astroparticle Physics and Astrology at Stanford University, USA.

Research Ethics and New Forms of Data for Social and Economic Research
October 2016 

This report sets out some basic rules that underpin an ethical approach to research using new forms of data for social and economic research. These rules and the interpretation that we place on them give rise to a set of recommendations designed to provide a framework for the ethical governance of research using such data.

Science advice for policy making: roles and responsibilities
April 2015 

Governments would benefit from agreeing common principles for developing and communicating scientific advice, both in crisis situations and for long-term policymaking, according to a new OECD report. In light of recent controversies around science advice, the report proposes a checklist for countries to follow to ensure science advisory processes are effective and trustworthy.

Temperate Agriculture
April 2015

A very significant proportion of global agricultural production originates from temperate countries, and this proportion may increase with climate change. The development of sustainable agriculture processes requires the development of new policies and management strategies. As a result of this OECD GSF activity, a new international research network was created, “TempAg”,  for governments and institutions seeking to increase the impact and return on the investments that Members make in their national research programmes.

Research Co-operation between Developed and Developing Countries in the Area of Climate Change Adaptation and Biodiversity
July 2014

Global challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, have increasingly become the subject of international policy deliberations. It is widely recognised that strong and effective international co-operation is required to address these issues. Co-operation in science and technology between developed and developing countries is considered to be of particular importance.

The Impacts of Large Research Infrastructures on Economic Innovation and on Society: Case Studies at CERN
June 2014

This report examines some of the economic and societal impacts of one of the largest global international research facilities: the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). By focusing on selected case studies, the report aims to shed light on generic questions that could be applicable more broadly to international research infrastructures.

International Distributed Research Infrastructures
February 2014

This report presents findings and analyses regarding formal status, governance, establishment, funding, access and other issues. It is the result of a survey of existing infrastructures, followed by discussions among infrastructure practitioners: researchers, facility administrators, officials of ministries and funding agencies.

New Data for Understanding the Human Condition: International Perspectives
March 2013

Global Science Forum report on data and research infrastructure for the social sciences.

OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Clinical Trials
February 2013

The OECD has issued a Recommendation to its members on the Governance of Clinical Trials, a major initiative for facilitating medical research and improving public health. This Recommendation is the result of extensive work of the OECD Global Science Forum on the hurdles encountered by the clinical research community in setting up international clinical trials.

Global Modelling of Natural Hazard Risks: Enhancing Existing Capabilities to Address New Challenges
October 2012 

This report analyses existing gaps in data, knowledge and practices in the field of risk assessment for large and complex disasters. It proposes a series of policy recommendations aimed at improving international co-operation in two major areas: (i) assessing and modelling the risk of large-scale domino/cascading effects caused by natural hazards interacting with technological risks; and (ii) developing international standards, methodologies and tools for use at the local level, enabling consistency and interoperability of data and models.

Facilitating International Co-operation in Non-Commercial Clinical Trials 
January 2012

This report identifies the hurdles encountered by the clinical research community in setting up international clinical trials and proposes a series of policy recommendations aimed at overcoming main challenges. As a follow up to this activity, a new international initiative, The Clinical Research Initiative for Global Health (CRIGH) was incubated under the auspices of the GSF and officially launched in January 2017.

Effective Modelling of Urban Systems to Address the Challenges of Climate Change and Sustainability
January 2012

This report identifies the existing tools and strategies for urban modelling and their current limitations, and proposes a series of policy recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness and use of urban models.

Opportunities, Challenges and Good Practices in International Research Co-operation between Developed and Developing Countries
May 2011

This report describes issues and options that deserve the attention of scientists and administrators, in both industrialised and developing countries, as they seek to design, initiate and manage collaborative research programmes and projects that include both scientific and development goals.

Report of the Working Group on Astroparticle Physics
March 2011

This report sets out a strategic vision of the future of the field, reflecting the perspectives of agency officials, laboratory administrators, and scientists. It incorporates considerations of cost, schedule, human resources, benefits to society, and the prospects for international co-operation. 

Large Research Infrastructures
February 2011
This document contains both the report on Roadmapping of Large Research Infrastructures (2008) and the report on Establishing Large International Research Infrastructures: Issues and Options (2010). 

Applications of Complexity Science for Public Policy: New Tools for Finding Unanticipated Consequences and Unrealised Opportunities
This report explores the concepts and methods that characterise complexity science and the implications of complexity science for public policy.

Improving the Dialogue with Society on Scientific Issues
This report provides practical recommendations for facilitating an efficacious dialogue with society on scientific issues.

Practical Guide for Investigating Research Misconduct Allegations in International Collaborative Research Projects
This short guide provides practical recommendations and tools to help in the investigation of possible cases of research misconduct in international research collaborations.

Facilitating International Research Misconduct Investigations
This report provides practical recommendations and tools to help in the investigation of possible cases of research misconduct in international research collaborations.

Mechanisms for Promoting Mathematics in Industry
This report provides practical reference regarding the options available to those (in industry, academia, or government) who wish to strengthen links between academic mathematics and industry.

Policy Issues Related to Scientific Research Collections
This report presents the findings and recommendations from two workshops, held in the Netherlands and the United States in 2007 and 2008, regarding the maintenance, utilisation and international co-ordination of scientific research collections.

Following this report, a global consortium, Scientific Collection International (SciColl) was incubated and then set up between 2010 and 2017, to promote the use and impact of scientific collections and catalyse international and interdisciplinary collaboration

Roadmapping of Large Research Infrastructures
This report is based on an examination of some 20 roadmaps. It focuses on the process through which they were prepared, and identifies key considerations and good practices that deserve the attention of anyone contemplating the undertaking of a new roadmapping exercise.

Encouraging Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies
November 2008
This report examines overall trends in higher education enrolments and the evolution of S&T compared with other disciplines. The results suggest that although absolute numbers of S&T students have been rising as access to higher levels of education expands in OECD economies, the relative share of S&T students among the overall student population has been falling.

Mathematics in Industry
This report contains findings emphasising the significant (and largely unrealised) potential of applying advanced mathematics to modern industrial problems. Mechanisms of proven efficacy are described, for implementation by universities, institutes, companies and government agencies.

Report of the Working Group on Nuclear Physics
The Working Group on Nuclear Physics was established to analyse the plans for nuclear physics in the various countries and regions, the mechanisms and rationales that underlie priorities and strategies, and the needs and opportunities for enhanced international collaboration and co-ordination.

International Polar Year (IPY) report
This survey examines the planning and initiation of the IPY as a role model for International Years in general. It is envisaged that further work will deal with the execution and outcomes of the ‘Year’.

Report from the Workshop on Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct
The goal of the workshop was to deepen the understanding of the underlying phenomena, identify the range of possible solutions and, based on experience, enumerate the pros and cons of various practical measures, lessons learned and good practices. This report summarises the deliberations that took place during the workshop.

Report from the Conference on Scientific Challenges for Energy Research
The GSF Conference on Scientific Challenges for Energy Research was held on 17-18 May 2006 at the French Ministry of Research in Paris. It brought together 180 technical and policy experts from 28 countries.

Also available:

       Rapport sur la conférence des défis scientifiques de la recherche énergétique (French)

Report from the Workshop on Earthquake Science
The workshop explored the opportunities for new and/or enhanced international co-operation in the field of earthquake sciences in connection to their contribution to society.  It was held in Potsdam, Germany on 1-2 June 2006. 

Following this activity, a unique global collaborative effort, the Global Earthquake Model Foundation (GEM) was developed between public and private stakeholders, that brings together state-of-the-art science, national, regional and international organisations and individuals aimed at the establishment of uniform and open standards for calculating and communicating earthquake risk worldwide.

Summary of the Workshop on Science of Science Policy
The goal of this workshop was to strengthen the links between real-life, high-level science policy decisions and quantitative/analytical as well as qualitative models of the social and economic impacts of research and development (R&D) investments.

Also available:

Atelier sur l'étude de la politique scientifique: Améliorer notre compréhension des investissements scientifiques publics(French)

Report from the Workshop on Science and Technology for a Safer Society
Modern societies are exposed to numerous natural and man-made hazards, and governments are keenly motivated to reduce the resulting harm to the lowest levels.

Evolution of Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies
Are student enrolments in science and technology studies really going down? What are the factors that affect students’ choices? What are the mechanisms that can be implemented to influence such choices?

Also available:

      Rapport d'orientation sur l'évolution de l'intérêt des jeunes pour les études scientifiques et technologiques (French)

Grids and Basic Research Programmes
Final consensus report from the workshop held in Sydney, Australia on 25-27 September 2005.

Template for Establishing, Funding, and Managing an International Scientific Research Project Based on an Agreement Between Governments or Institutions
This paper describes a template for establishing and managing international collaborative research, based on an agreement by governments, governmental institutions, or other organisations. 

Report from the Workshop on Management Practices for Establishing Large International Scientific Research Projects
Convened in October 2004, the workshop gathered laboratory administrators and funding agency officials.

Report from the Workshops on Future Large-Scale Projects and Programmes in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Attended by prominent scientists and programme managers from scientific funding agencies of seventeen OECD member and non-member countries, these two workshops explored the challenges and opportunities of a new international era of research in astronomy.  The final consensus report from the workshops is an 18-page document that contains findings and recommendations for actions by governments and scientific organisations. 

Report of the Task Force on Radio Astronomy and the Radio Spectrum
Radio astronomers wish to conduct observations across the entire radio spectrum, not just within the confines of the narrow frequency bands allocated to them by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Report from the Workshop on Best Practices in International Scientific Co-operation
Establishing, funding and conducting large-scale international research collaborations are complex tasks, involving scientists, research institutes, funding bodies, and various governmental and intergovernmental organisations.

How a Near-Earth Object Impact Might Affect Society
Report commissioned by the GSF for the Workshop on Near Earth Objects: Risks, Policies, and Actions held in Frascati, Italy in January 2003.

Workshop on Near Earth Objects: Risks, Policies and Actions - Final Report
20-22-Jan-2003, Frascati, Italy
This report summarises the Global Science Forum’s contribution to the dialog between scientists and policymakers regarding an appropriate response to the threat to lives and property of an impact by an asteroid or comet.  A series of practical steps are recommended.

Report of the Neuroinformatics Working Group
The human brain is by far the most complex system known to man, and understanding it is a major scientific challenge for the 21st century. This fascinating task is made urgent by the potential for practical applications.

As a result of the recommendations of the report, a new international non-profit organisation was created in 2005, the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF). INCF develops collaborative neuroinformatics infrastructure and promote the sharing of data and computing resources to the international research community

Unofficial introductory paper on high-energy physics
High-energy physics seeks to answer basic questions: what is our world made of and how does it work?

Report of the Consultative Group on High-Energy Physics
The GSF established the Consultative Group on High-Energy Physics in June 2000.

Workshop on Large Facilities for Studying the Structure and Dynamics of Matter
This report contains the principal findings and conclusions of the workshop held in Copenhagen on 20-21 September 2001.

Compact High-Intensity Short-Pulse Lasers
Final report of the Workshop on Compact High-Intensity Short-Pulse Lasers: Future Directions and Applications, held at the JAERI Kansai Research Establishment in Kyoto, Japan on 28-30 May 2001 (lead country: Japan).

Proton Beam Facilities
Final report of the Workshop on Strategic Policy Issues Concerning Future High-Intensity Proton Beam Facilities held in Paris on 25-26 September 2000 (lead countries: France and UK).

Structural Genomics
Final report of the Workshop on Structural Genomics held in Florence on 8-9 June 2000 (lead country: Italy).

Deep-Sea Neutrino Observatory
Final report of the OECD Megascience Forum Workshop on Deep-Sea Neutrino Observatory held in Taormina, Italy on 22-23 May 1997 (lead countries: Greece, Italy).

Biological Informatics
Final Report of the OECD Megascience Forum Working Group on Biological Informatics (lead country: United States).

Following this report, a new international open-data research infrastructure was lanched in 2001, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which makes scientific data on biodiversity available worldwide.


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