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Roger Posadas

Science and technology cover a wide spectrum of different activities such as

basic research, applied research, experimental development, engineering, and others,
all of which are terms in science and technology policy. Unfortunately, the
internationally accepted definitions, distinctions, and interrelationships of these
activities are unfamiliar to many people, including some local scientists and
technologists who are supposed to know better. We must therefore define at the outset
what we mean by these activities, adopting the standard UNESCO and OECD
definitions. (3)

1. The Distinctions Between Science and Technology

Science refers to that dynamic, cumulative systems of verifiable

concepts, principles, methods, laws, theories, and processes which seek to describe,
understand, and predict natural phenomena.

Technology, on the other hand, refers to that dynamic, cumulative

system of reproducible methods, techniques, and processes which may be derived
from empirical know-how or scientific knowledge and which are used by human
societies for the production, improvement, and distribution of goods and services as
well as for the satisfaction of other material needs.

In terms of aims, science seeks to discover the workings of nature while

technology seeks to invent new or improved tools and materials (“hardware”) or better
ways of doing things (“software”). In other words, science is concerned with “know-
why”, while technology is concerned with “know-how”. The result of a scientific activity
is new knowledge which is then usually published as a scientific paper, while the result
of a technological activity is a new product or process which is then usually
appropriated in the form of a patent and commercially exploited.

A scientist or practitioner of science is one who is actively engaged in

generating new knowledge, as distinguished from a scholar or professor of science who
merely studies or teaches science. A scientist is knowledge-oriented, while a
technologist is product-oriented or process-oriented.

*EXCERPTED FROM : Roger Posadas, Towards the Development of the Natural and
Mathematical Sciences in the Philippines ( A Science Policy Study Undertaken by
the Kilusan ng mga Siyentipikong Pilipino under the sponsorship of the President’s
Center for Special Studies, March 1982).
See, for example, UNESCO, An Introduction to Policy Analysis in Science and
Technology. Paris, 1979.

2. The Distinction Between Research and Experimental Development

Research is the process through which scientists attempt to discover
new scientific knowledge. It is often symbolized by the letter “R”.

Experimental Development is the process in which technologists utilize

research findings or empirical know-how in order to devise new or improved
products or processes. Often symbolized by the letter “D”, it covers activities up
to the fabrication of prototypes, the stage of pilot-plant testing, and the various
pre-investment studies needed to ascertain the technical, economic, and social
feasibility of the new product or process.

The distinction between research and experimental development (“R &

D” reflects the distinction between science and technology. Research is what
scientists do, while experimental development is part of what technologists do.

3. Basic Research, Applied Research, and Mission-Oriented Research

Basic or Fundamental Research is that type of research which seeks to

discover new scientific knowledge for its own sake without regard to its
possible application. An example of this type of research is afforded by
research activities in theoretical physics.

Applied Research, on the other hand, is that type of research which

seeks to discover new scientific knowledge for the explicit purpose of applying it
to some specific practical objective in connection with a product or
process. An example of this type of research is afforded by research activities
in the agricultural sciences.

Although there is no clear-cut delineation of the boundaries between

basic and applied research, it is obvious that by definition all research in the
frontier areas of physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics are basic
research, while all research in the agricultural, medical, and engineering sciences
are applied research.

Mission-oriented Research refers to those tightly organized, time-framed,

and vertically integrated R & D activities which are directed towards the
attainment of a specific technological objective or mission in connection with
some social, economic, political, or military goal. The classic examples of
mission-oriented projects are the “Manhattan Project”, which produced the first
atomic bomb, and the “Apollo Moon Project”, which landed the first man on the

4. Engineering, Innovation, and Technology Transfer

Engineering refers to the processes required to make technology operative, that

is, it consists of the design, construction, and utilization of machines, equipment,

installation, or processes in the production and service sectors of the economy.
The fundamental task of engineering is the provision of services for production.
It serves as the link between R & D and production.

Technological Innovation refers to the process of assessing, selecting,
evaluating, designing, adapting, testing, implementing, producing, and utilizing,
and diffusing a new technology. It thus covers the chain of activities from
technology assessment to pre-investment work (feasibility studies) to engineering
to production or implementation to marketing or utilization to diffusion. It also
includes the selection, importation, and implantation of a foreign technology.

Transfer of Technology refers to the process of transplanting an

operative technology, which has been developed elsewhere, into a country
where it has never been utilized before.

5. Scientific and Technological Services (STS)

Scientific and Technological Services (STS)cover a mixed group of activities

which collect, store, process, package, and disseminate scientific and
technological information or provide other auxiliary services in support of
research, experimental development, and technological innovation. Included
among STS are the following:

(a) Scientific, Library, Information and Documentation, Translation Services

(b) Scientific Testing, Analysis, Calibration, Instrumentation, Standards,

Quality-Control, and Computing Services

(c) Scientific Observation, Surveying, Mapping, and Monitoring of the

Environment and Natural Resources

(d) Scientific and Technological Collections, Museums, Exhibitions, and


(e) Scientific and Technological Assessment, Extension, Consultancy,

Advisory, Counseling, and Patent Services

(f) General-Purposes Data Collection and Statistical Compilation.

6. Scientific, Technological, and Technical Education, Training, and


Science Education refers to the teaching of science and mathematics at

the primary and secondary level. Its principal aim are (a) the inculcation of
scientific values, attitudes, and outlook as prerequisites to the development of a
“scientific culture”, (b) the propagation of the scientific method and critical
thinking, and (c) the transmission of basic scientific concepts, ideas, and
principles needed for

attaining some basic degree of “scientific literacy”.

Scientific Education and Training refers to the education and training at

the university level of basic and applied scientists as well as science teachers.

Technological Education and Training refers to the education and
training at the university level of professional engineers, R & D engineers, and
other technologists.

Technical Education and Training refers to the education and training of

technicians and technical teachers.

Scientific and Technological Popularization refers to the promotion of

science consciousness among the general public through popular media
presentations of scientific and technological wonders, science books and
magazines for laymen, science fairs, etc.

7. Interrelationship of Science and Technology

In past centuries, science and technology developed separately and

independently with only occasional, weak, but symbiotic interactions between

Nowadays, however, much of modern advanced technology (e.g.

transistors, microchips, recombinant DNA, polymers, lasers, computers, robots)
have depended so much on the recent findings of modern science that modern
science that modern technology can be rightly called applied science. In turn,
modern scientific research has become heavily dependent on the latest
technological “hardware” and “software”.

In the current scientific and technological revolution, the time interval

between scientific discovery and technological utilization has been steadily
decreasing: it is nowadays estimated to be about a year or two.

This close interlinkage and strong interaction between modern science

and technology may be represented by means of a double-feedback system as
depicted in Diagram 1, which has been adapted from UNESCO(5)

8. The Disciplines of Science and Technology

For completeness, we should also list down the various disciplines of

science and technology according to the following more or less standard
classification. (6)

Derek J. De Solla Price, “Is Technology Historically Independent of Science? A Study
in Statistical Historiography.” Technology and Culture 6 (1965) pp. 553-568.
UNESCO, op. Cit., p.8
cf. UNESCO, Methods of Priority Determination in Science and Technology. Paris,

Basic Sciences or Natural and Mathematical Sciences:



Applied Sciences or Technological Sciences:


9. Various Aspects and Types of Technology

Technology, as previously defined in Chapter II, is the system of know-

how, skills, techniques, and processes which enable societies to produce,
distribute, install, maintain, or improve goods and services needed to satisfy
human needs. It may be embodied in either a material form (i.e., machineries,
equipment, tools, factories, structures, and other “hardware”) or an informational
form (i.e., patents, blueprints, diagrams, formulae, and other “software”).

A technology, which gets implemented and utilized, becomes an

operative technology. It is also useful to distinguish between an operative
technology’s static aspect and dynamic aspect.(7) The former refers to the know-
how and skills which permit its possessor to execute the technology’s routine
operations (e.g. key-punching, typing, welding, metal-pressing, casting, etc.)
The latter refers to the know-how and skills which endow its possessor with a
comprehension of the scientific principles underlying the technology and thus
with a capacity to develop and design an improved version of the technology.

“Advanced Technologies”, “Frontier Technologies”, or “High

Technologies” are terms used for the modern, sophisticated technologies which
began to develop since the 1950’s out of modern research findings in the basic
sciences. Among such technologies are solid-state electronics, computers,
cryogenics, lasers, polymers, genetic engineering, materials science, nuclear
fission power, nuclear fusion power, space technology, oceanic technology,
automation, robotics, etc.

“Appropriate Technologies”, “Intermediate Technologies”, or “Alternative

Technologies” refer to those technologies which are low-cost, low-level in
complexity, small scale, labor-intensive, suited to local materials and skills,
for decentralized and renewable energy sources, and oriented towards rural

Farrel, T.M.A., “Do Multinational Corporations Really Transfer Technology?” in
Integration of Science and Technology with Development, op. Cit., p. 71.

industries. These terms have gained prominence in recent years in the context
of Schumacher’s book, Small Is Beautiful.(8) In a rural setting, appropriate
technologies would be intermediate between a carabao-drawn plow and a

10. Technological Innovation

Technological innovation, as previously defined, is the process by which

R & D results are applied, implemented, utilized, and diffused. It is a complicated
process requiring considerable human, material, and financial resources. In fact,
the magnitude or expenditure on innovation is usually much greater (by at least
ten times) than the amount spent on R & D.(9)

Technological innovation, as also pointed out earlier, is not an automatic

consequence of R & D. It results more from the “pull” of national development
needs or of market requirements rather than from the “push” of scientific
discoveries or technical inventions. The need for technological innovation may
arise in response to either of the following:

(a) market opportunities or requirements at the business enterprise level;


(b) national development goals and objectives ( or “missions” ) at

the government level.

Therefore, the first major prerequisite of technological innovation is the

clear and concrete delineation and prioritization of objectives and needs, whether
at the national or enterprise level. To determine the required S & T inputs, these
social, economic, or political objectives and needs must then be translated into a
set of specific S & T objectives, targets, and requirements.

The second major prerequisite is the availability of an adequate pool of

resources -- human, infrastructural, informational, and financial -- which can be
mobilized to carry out the process of technological innovation. These resources
include not only the country’s scientific and technological potential but also its
entrepreneurial and managerial capabilities, financial resources, infrastructure for
production and distribution, and international resources.

The third major prerequisite is a technological innovation strategy which

specifies the ways and means through which the resources ought to be
harnessed in pursuit of the selected objectives.

These three prerequisites thus entail the formulation of a national

science and technology plan at the government level or an equivalent plan at the
enterprise level. Such a plan is essentially an attempt to formulate a coherent
set of answers

Schumacher, E.F., Small is Beautiful. Abacus: London, 1973
UNESCO, Science and Technology in Asian Development, op. Cit., p.146

to the following questions:

(a) What are the scientific and technological components (or required S
& T inputs) of the selected socio-economic objectives

(b) What are the optimal ways and means of harnessing scientific and
technological resources in order to attain these objectives

(c) What are the scientific and technological resources that ought to be
developed in order to insure an adequate supply of needed S & T

11. The Two Modes of Technological Innovation

Technological innovation -- the process of implanting a new technology

in the production or service sectors of the economy -- can be implemented
through two modes:

(a) Domestic Generation and Utilization of New Technology

- This is the process in which scientific knowledge is locally
developed and applied through the sequence of research ---
experimental --- development --- engineering --- production or
implementation --- diffusion

(b) Importation and Assimilation of Operative Technology

- This is the process of “technology transfer”, whereby an operative
technology developed elsewhere is transplanted into the country
through commercial or other channels.

UNESCO uses the terms “vertical transfer of technology” for the

domestic generation of technology and “horizontal transfer of technology” for the
importation of an operative technology.(10) We believe, however, that the term
“vertical transfer of technology” is inappropriate because what is involved in this
process is not a mere displacement or relocation of a technology, as the word
“transfer” connotes, but a qualitative transformation of knowledge from usable
knowledge into used knowledge, from science to technology. Thus, in this
paper the term “transfer of technology” shall be used strictly in its proper sense of
transplanting an operative technology from one social/economic/political/ cultural
setting to a different one.

12. Channels and Types of Technology Transfer

Technology may be transferred in the form of technical expertise,

software (technological information), or hardware (machines, equipment, and

UNESCO, An Introduction to Policy Analysis, op. Cit., p. 51.

Transfer of technology may proceed through either of two channels:

(a) Non-commercial Transfer - These are transfers of technical

expertise, information, or equipment through bilateral or multilateral S
& T assistance and cooperation programs

(b) Commercial Transfers - These are transfers carried out through
contractual arrangements with transnational corporations (TNCs) and
other commercial firms.

The main types of commercial transfer of technology from highly

developed countries (HDCs) to less developed countries (LDCs) are the

(a) Sale by HDC firms of machineries, equipment, tools, and accessories

to LDCs through marketing agreements with LDC agents and

(b) Sale by HDC firms of complete industrial plants to LDCs on a turnkey


(c) Lease by HDC firms of their operative technologies to LDC firms for
the manufacture of foreign-brand products under a licensing

(d) Direct investment of a TNC in an LDC through the establishment of

an LDC subsidiary of the TNC;

(e) Entering of a TNC into a joint venture with an LDC firm; and

(f) Sale by HDC firms of technical services to LDCs through service

contracts or management contracts.

13. Stages in the Absorption of Foreign Technology

A foreign operative technology usually passes through several stages of

absorption before it is fully assimilated by the receiving country:

(a) Use of imported machinery, equipment, and products;

(b) Provision of local maintenance, check-up, and quality-control


(c) Establishment of repair workshop;

(d) Local assembly or packaging of the foreign product;

(e) Local production of individual parts to on-site assembly;

(f) Local production of major components geared to on-site assembly;

(g) Fitting up of machinery and organization of production (i.e.,

manufacturing engineering);

(h) Design engineering of new machinery, equipment, or products;

(I) Experimental development of prototypes and pilot plants.

14. TNC Constraints to Technology Transfer

While TNCs are often identified as the major vehicles for

commercial transfer of technology, their actual practices obstruct the
effective transfer of technology to LDCs. Among their notorious
practices are the following:

(a) Concentration of all R & D in their parent company based in an HDC;

(b) Restriction of the know-how transferred to an LDC to the static

aspect of the technology;

(c) Distribution of the manufacture of product components among

several LDCs to prevent a single LDC from acquiring the complete

(d) “Closed-door” manufacturing of a high-technology product within free

trade zones in an LDC to prevent absorption and diffusion of
advanced technologies;

(e) Attempt to obtain monopoly and then monosony on the national

market in an LDC.

15. Costs of Technology Transfer

The costs involved in commercial technology transfer can be classified

as direct costs and indirect costs;

Direct Costs:

(a) Expenses incurred in acquiring the necessary technical know-how at

the pre-investment, investment, and operational stages of the
commercial transfer

(b) Payments for patents, manufacturing licenses, trademarks, etc.

Indirect Costs:

(a) Outflow of foreign currency due to overpricing by TNC subsidiaries of

imports of intermediary products, spare parts, and equipment

(b) Outflow of foreign currency due to repatriation by TNC subsidiaries of

their profits to the TNC parent

(c) Indirect costs arising from contractual restrictions by TNCs on the
export of products by their subsidiaries

(d) Indirect costs arising from accounting manipulations of TNC

subsidiaries which enable them to minimize payment of local taxes or
customs duties

(e) Indirect costs of various other inputs, resources, and expertise linked
to commercial transactions of technology transfer with TNCs

(f) Indirect costs entailed by the stifling of domestic technological

innovations and the perpetuation of technological dependence on

16. Measures to Reduce Costs of Technology Transfer

Among the measures that an LDC can take in an attempt to

reduce costs of technology transfer are:(11)

(a) Unpackaging - Differentiation and separate evaluation of the various

inputs contained in the investment-cum-technology package. This
can help strengthen negotiating capacity in the selection and
acquisition of the technology and other foreign inputs under
convenient financial terms

(b) Unbundling - Disaggregation of the technological input into its core

components (such as process know-how and basic engineering) and
peripheral components (design engineering, civil, electrical and other
engineering, pre-investment services, technical assistance in plant
layout, etc.). This helps to identify those components that can be
supplied by local consulting and engineering services, local suppliers
of intermediate and capital goods, and local R & D institutions.

(c) Alternative Sourcing - Search for alternative sources of technology so

as to increase capacity for bargaining and selection. This requires
an effective S & T intelligence system for collecting and processing
information on various types and sources of technologies.

It should be pointed out, however, that in most cases TNCs are able to
counter the above measures because of the following:

Vaitsos, Constantine, “Government Policies for Bargaining with Transnational
Enterprises in the Acquisition of Technology” in Mobilizing Technology for


(a) Tendency of operative technologies to become standardized

(b) Cartelistic collusion of TNCs in the international market

17. Impacts of Technology Transfer

Technology transfer can have the following impacts on a host LDC:

(a) Technological Impacts - These are the effects on the LDCs scientific
and technological development

(b) Economic Impacts - These are the effects on the LDCs trade
patterns, access to markets, industrial restructuring, local
infrastructure, employment, etc

(c) Socio-Cultural Impacts - These are the effects on the quality of life,
consumer preferences, social mobility, lifestyles, culture, etc.,

(d) Political Impacts - These are the effects on political independence,

foreign policy, composition of elites, etc.

Of crucial importance to science and technology policy is the far-

reaching impact of technology transfer on overall national scientific and
technological development. Unfortunately, this impact is usually obscured
because of the tendency of LDCs to put together emphasis on the immediate
development impacts of imported operative technologies. This short-sighted
approach can lead to the depreciation and the restriction of efforts to build up the
national scientific and technological potential.

18. Domestic Generation of Technology

The process of innovation by domestic generation of technology is

nowadays undertaken through the vertical integration of basic research, applied
research, experimental development, and engineering within so-called “mission-
oriented programs, which are carried out in a mission-oriented R & D institution
or a technological innovation center. This vertical type of integration may be
contrasted with the “horizontal integration” of research according to scientific
disciplines which are carried out mainly in universities and sometimes called
“discipline-oriented” research.

Mission-oriented R & D programs aim to develop new technologies or

adapt existing ones for the purpose of meeting specific technological needs
arising from national developments goals. The classic examples of such
programs are the Manhattan Project which produce the first atomic bomb and the
Apollo Project which landed the first man on the moon.


19. Stimulation of Domestic Technological Innovation

Among the means of stimulating domestic innovation are the following:

(a) Promotion and financing of inventions and their commercial utilization

(b) Encouragement of industrial firms to form cooperative research
associations for the purposes of improving productivity or adapting
new manufacturing processes

(c) Establishment of industrial innovation centers (e.g. Korean Institute

of Science and Technology, Applied Science Research Corporation
of Thailand, etc.) which will be responsible for adapting or
developing new products and processes.

20 Importance of Domestic Technological Innovation

Though it may appear that the modernization of LDCs is possible

through technology transfer alone, there is a general consensus that domestic
technological innovation by LDCs is essential to their development for the
following reasons:(12)

(a) Domestic technological innovation is indispensable to the satisfactory

solution of problems arising from the peculiarities of an LDC s
climate, soil, geology, and other environmental factors.

(b) Domestic technological innovation is essential for a full awareness of

the latest available technologies abroad and for an optimal selection
of the most suitable foreign technology to be imported.

(c) Domestic technological innovation provides an LDC with the scientific

and technological information needed to strengthen it bargaining
position in the negotiation of commercial technology transfer.

(d) Domestic technological innovation is essential to the successful

adaptation and absorption of foreign technologies.

21. Relationship Between the Two Types of Innovation

It should be clear then that the importation of foreign technology and the
domestic generation of technology are not alternative policies but rather
complementary aspects of technological innovation. A satisfactory strategy for
technological progress must involved an optimum combination of assimilating scientific
and technological advances from other countries and of strengthening the domestic
capacity for R & D , innovation, and diffusion. As UNESCO puts it,

UNESCO, Science and Technology in African Development, op. Cit., p. 153


“A balance must be established between the volume of scientific

information and technological know-how imported on the one hand and
national scientific and technological infrastructure, on the other. This
problem is particularly acute in the developing countries. Although the
amount of technological knowledge imported by a developing country
depends upon its economic potential and the aims of its economic

policy, it needs an adequate scientific infrastructure if it is to keep in
touch with scientific research in other countries and be able to absorb
the scientific information and technological know-how imported from

The main link between the importation of technology and domestic

generation of technology stems from the fact that an LDC can achieve
technological self-reliance and progress only through a strong domestic capacity
for initially adapting and assimilating the best available foreign technology and
eventually generating its own technological innovations. It has to be stressed
that an LDC which confines itself to the adaptation of foreign technology will
always find itself technologically and economically dependent on others. An
LDC must therefore strive to achieve technological self-reliance on an advanced
level in order to attain a self-reliant, self-sustaining economic progress based on
domestic technological innovations.

The interrelationships between the importation of foreign technology

(“horizontal technology transfer”), the domestic generation of technology
(“vertical technology transfer”), and the national planning process are depicted
schematically in Diagram 4, which has been adopted from UNESCO.(14)

22. Importance of Basic Research in Technological Innovation

While the need for domestic technological innovation in an LDC is

generally recognized, the importance of basic research the innovation process
still has to be emphasized for it is not yet obvious to everybody that applied
research and innovation can never survive as self-generating activities without
the necessary component of basic research.

Basic research in an LDC serves the important functions of (a) providing

informational access to the dynamic aspects of modern technology and (b)
providing advanced training for the country’s corps of scientific experts.

It is for these reasons that the UN World Plan of Action stresses the
necessity of basic research even in the early stages of an LDC’s national
development. (15) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) points out the importance of basic research as follows:(16)
UNESCO, The Role of Science and Technology in Economic Development,
op. Cit., p. 17
UNESCO, Introduction to Policy Analysis . . . op. cit.
United Nations, World Plan of Action . . . , op cit., pp. 9-12.
OECD, Science and Development, Paris, 1968.

“. . . I t might be argued that a small country would do well to
concentrate on applied research and live on the exploitation of research
produced by the larger countries of the world. Such a policy would be
doomed to failure since the country in question would quickly lack a
general scientific consciousness of world advancement sufficient to allow
it to select for application those advances specifically significant to its
economy. It would also lack trained research and development. In fact,
by neglecting fundamental research, a country would be condemning its
own industry to obsolescence.”

23. Basic Research and the New Scientific and Technological Revolution

The need for a strong basic research capability in an LDC becomes even
more crucial than ever before in the light of the new scientific and technological
revolution which has been producing such sophisticated, high technologies as
microelectronics, computers, lasers, synthetic materials, genetic engineering,
and robots and ushering in a new post-industrial civilization which Alvin Toffler
calls the “Third Wave”.(17)

While the old technologies such as steel making or oil refining are based
on the relatively simple electromechanical principles discovered in the 19th
century, the new sophisticated technologies are based on modern scientific
knowledge of atomic and molecular processes and interactions. This means that
the mastery of the dynamic aspects of modern technologies requires an
advanced knowledge of such basic fields as solid-state physics, laser physics,
low-temperature physics, polymer chemistry, molecular biology, etc. It is for this
reason that the new fast-growing industries being spawned by these new, high
technologies have come to be known as “science-based industries” or
“knowledge-intensive industries”.

The technological gap between HDCs and LDCs is certainly being

widened further by this new scientific and technological revolution. At the same
time, however, it has now become easier for LDCs to bridge this gap because
the advanced become easier for LDCs to bridge this gap because the advanced
scientific knowledge, which holds the key to the mastery of the new high
technologies, is universally accessible to research workers in the basic sciences
of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and earth sciences. Thus, a strong
basic research program directed towards the generation of selected high
technologies provides the means by which an LDC can leapfrog the
technological gap, develop its own science-based industries, and achieve a
certain degree of advanced technological self-reliance.

Therefore, if an LDC is determined to overcome its technological and

economic dependence and to attain a self-reliant technological and economic
progress, it should undertake a massive long-term national scientific and
technological development program whose principal component is the full
development of the natural and mathematical sciences and whose central thrust
is the mastery, generation, utilization, and diffusion of selected high technologies
such as microelectronics, computer technology, biotechnology, laser technology,
materials technology, etc.

* * * END * * *

Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books, 1980