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New trends in technology transfer: implications for national and international policy

This document attempts to inform and re-invigorate the debate on international technology transfer. The author, John H. Barton at Stanford School of Law, argues for the need to revisit this issue in line with the recognition that economic activities are more globalised than they were in the 1970s, and developing countries have greater scientific and technological capacities.

Barton focuses on three mechanisms of international technology transfer: the flow of human resources; the flow of public-sector technology support; and the flow of private technology from multinational corporations to developing countries. He recommends ways to remove barriers to each. He argues for greater mobility within, and globalisation of, the world’s scientific enterprise and reasserts an economic rationale for investing in public-sector research in developing countries.

The paper is likely to be useful to developing country policymakers interested in intellectual property rights, trade and development, as well as scientists and technologists more generally.