Displaying 1-10 of 10 key documents
Source: Springer-Verlag | June 2011
This peer-reviewed paper examines the factors that motivate people to innovate, with the authors arguing that material rewards, such as capital or patents, make up only one aspect of their motivation. Using grassroots innovation in India as a case-study, the study found that the intrinsic rewards of "getting things done" and satisfaction play just as important a role as extrinsic factors, such as increased income.
The authors developed indicators of motivation by looking at innovation as a process of three stages — idea generation, experimentation and application. They found that intrinsic motivations were particularly important in the early stages, when there are high levels of uncertainty about the innovation. They conclude by outlining implications of their findings for innovation policies, suggesting that use of funding and patents could negatively impact innovators by reducing their desire to share their ideas locally.
Source: Science | July 2005
This essay by Chunli Bai, executive vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), explains the reasons behind the rapid progress of nanotechnology in China. A key factor, says Bai, has been "extraordinary" government support for the field since the early 1980s, which led to the creation of research institutes and significant grant money. But, cautions Bai, public communication on nanotechnology research, and ongoing monitoring and assessment of nanotechnology risks is needed.
Source: Environmental Research Letters | March 2009
This journal article describes the first climate-based model used to predict outbreaks of dengue fever. Researchers from the University of Miami and the University of Costa Rica used climate data and vegetation indices from Costa Rica to predict disease outbreaks with 83 per cent accuracy.
Globally, there are up to 100 million cases of dengue fever, and its more dangerous form, dengue haemorrhagic fever, every year. The spread of dengue fever is set to rise as the world's climate changes. The importance of this model is that it could be used as the basis for an early warning system to prevent the spread of the disease by warning populations that are at risk.
The indices used in the model include variables such as El Niño Southern Oscillations and sea surface temperature, which affect populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the infection.
Source: South African Journal of Science | December 2008
This paper examines the relative costs of research in South Africa and the apparent disparity in researchers' salaries. A 2004–2005 research and development survey provides data on the unit cost of research across higher education institutions (HEIs), science councils and the business sector. Analysis shows that research costs and salaries are highest in the business sector and lowest in HEIs, although the differences are not as wide as expected. Similarly, overhead costs are lowest in HEIs and highest in the business sector.
But the authors emphasise that while HEIs may provide the cheapest research — based on cost per hour — this does not mean that they necessarily provide the cheapest 'cost per deliverable', i.e. value to the client.
The authors call for more regular and detailed data to better understand the researcher labour market. They propose an annual salary survey focused on public sector researchers and a common pricing model for all institutions performing public research.
Source: International Journal for Equity in Health | January 2005
The WHO has provided its own estimates of how non-communicable diseases are set to rise in developing countries. These authors pool data from national registries and international databases to compare data on the differing burden from individual diseases. They outline the risk factors associated with the diseases.
The main three killers are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The paper ranks different types of cancer by how many people in developing countries they kill (lung and breast cancer are the deadliest) and also ranks diabetes prevalence by country (India, followed by China, has the highest prevalence).
To tackle these diseases, say the authors, people need to look closely at the risk factors in their life – eating healthily and exercising can do much to reduce the chances of getting one of these diseases.
Source: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences | 2002
This document presents the proceedings of a conference at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in December 2001. The conference papers deal with themes relating to the role of scientific research in the development of Northern countries and the need for North–South research cooperation. They document the experiences of research cooperation involving, among others, India, South Africa and a number of East African countries. Several papers deal with innovation and scientific cooperation, with case studies.
Source: Nature | November 2006
Good prescribing practices are important in tackling antibiotic resistance, and diagnostics are key to ensuring good practice. Knowing who not to treat is as important as knowing who to treat. The article reports on analyses by the Global Health Diagnostic Forum of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assess how many lives could be saved by better diagnostics for six major illnesses, including malaria and tuberculosis. The researchers assessed the technical issues associated with implementing the diagnostic tests in developing countries for three classes of laboratory infrastructure — none, minimal, or moderate to advanced.
They found that for acute lower respiratory infections, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and TB, outcomes could be much improved if tests were sent to sites with minimal or no laboratory infrastructure. In these types of settings, the practicality of obtaining a specimen is important. For example, obtaining a blood sample correctly to test HIV viral load is almost impossible where there are no laboratory facilities. Using sputum to test for TB has similar issues because of the impracticability of the sample medium. Thus, new biomarkers might be needed to test for diseases with specimens different from those currently used. Combination tests that look for a range of infectious organisms in one sample would be useful in resource-poor settings.
The researchers also highlight the importance of taking into account cultural and social sensitivities when designing interventions – blood sampling is not always accepted in some regions of the world, for example.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations | 2002
This summarises an electronic conference moderated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on agricultural biotechnology research and the needs of developing countries. The conference considered a number of questions that are detailed in a related background document.
The key conclusions were:
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations | 2002
This paper was prepared as a background document for the conference organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture in 2002. The paper addresses the role and focus that biotechnology should have in agricultural research agendas in developing countries.
The paper outlines key trends in agricultural research and agricultural biotechnology research, and identifies the questions with most relevance to developing countries that were addressed in the forum.
In the light of the resource constraints that developing countries operate under, the paper highlights the following key issues facing policy makers in developing countries regarding agricultural biotechnology research:
These questions were dealt with in an electronic conference and in a related summary document — which provides a summary of key conclusions on the issues.
Source: The Lancet | June 2002
The so-called 10/90 gap in health research — which refers to the fact that only about 10 per cent of funding is targeted to diseases which account for 90 per cent of the global disease burden — is a well recognised phenomenon which is being targeted by a number of initiatives. This article, by members of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group at Médicines Sans Frontières, analysed the outcomes of pharmaceutical research and development over the past 25 years and reviewed current public and private initiatives aimed at addressing the lack of research into controlling important infectious diseases in developing countries.
The authors found that of nearly 1400 new drugs marketed between 1975 and 1999, only 16 were for tropical diseases and tuberculosis (all of which had been developed with public-sector involvement). There is a 13-fold greater chance of a drug being brought to market for central nervous system disorders or cancer than for a neglected disease. The authors conclude that there is no indication that drug development for "non profitable" infectious diseases will significantly improve in the near future and that new strategies are required to stimulate such development. They argue that a sustainable solution will require the establishment of an international pharmaceutical policy for all neglected diseases. Private sector research obligations should be explored further, and public sector not-for-profit research capacity promoted, particularly for the most neglected diseases. (Free registration with The Lancet is required to view this article.)
The authors found that of nearly 1400 new drugs marketed between 1975 and 1999, only 16 were for tropical diseases and tuberculosis (all of which had been developed with public-sector involvement). There is a 13-fold greater chance of a drug being brought to market for central nervous system disorders or cancer than for a neglected disease.
The authors conclude that there is no indication that drug development for "non profitable" infectious diseases will significantly improve in the near future and that new strategies are required to stimulate such development. They argue that a sustainable solution will require the establishment of an international pharmaceutical policy for all neglected diseases. Private sector research obligations should be explored further, and public sector not-for-profit research capacity promoted, particularly for the most neglected diseases.
(Free registration with The Lancet is required to view this article.)