Science and technology

Transformative policies and anticipatory governance are key to optimising benefits and managing risks of new emerging technologies


24/04/2024 - Science and technology ministers have highlighted the need for governments to develop co-ordinated approaches to harness the opportunities of new and emerging technologies, while better managing future risks, at their ministerial-level meeting at the OECD.

Participants in the OECD Science and Technology Policy Ministerial 2024 – which drew high-level representatives from more than 50 countries – agreed on the need for policies to foster the development of and adaptation to technologies such as neurotechnology, synthetic biology and quantum technology.

In their final Declaration, Ministers called for transformative Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies to accelerate sustainability transitions and the embedding of shared values in international co-operation and technology governance, alongside policies to make STI more inclusive.

"The OECD has helped shaped digital policy agendas for decades, through evidence-based recommendations and extensive multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said. “Today, Ministers have reaffirmed the key role for the OECD to play in supporting policy makers with evidence-based analysis to design and implement transformative policies, in reinforcing shared values in international governance, and in promoting diversity and accessibility for careers in research and innovation.”

Ministers and high-level representatives from OECD countries, the European Union and partner economies welcomed a new OECD Framework for Anticipatory Governance of Emerging Technologies that promotes responsible innovation and offers tools to help governments identify and address the ethical, social, and legal implications for technological developments before they become entrenched. The Framework also offers governments and innovators pathways to promote and embed key values in technology development through upstream technology assessment, early deliberation and stakeholder engagement, agile regulatory approaches and international scientific co-operation.

They also welcomed a new Agenda for Transformative Science, Technology and Innovation Policies designed to drive responsible and equitable research, development and innovation. The Agenda offers practical guidance for policymakers to formulate and implement Science, Technology and Innovation reforms. It also outlines key policy actions, including accelerating the productivity of research through AI and automation in science, investing in building digital expertise and specialised skills, and aligning national Science, Technology and Innovation priorities and co-ordinate funding for research and innovation activities to address global challenges.

The Framework and the Agenda both draw on prior OECD work and legal instruments, and are designed to equip governments and other innovation actors to anticipate and get ahead of governance challenges and build longer-term capacities to shape innovation more effectively.

Ministers called on the OECD to develop tools for monitoring education and training to promote talent, inclusivity, mobility and careers in research and innovation, including through the launch of a new observatory on research and innovation careers. They also called for strengthening the evidence base for STI strategies and policies, through statistical improvements and strategic intelligence and foresight that will support the implementation and evaluation of both the transformative STI policy agenda and anticipatory governance framework.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact the OECD Media Office (+33 1 45 24 97 00).

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to preserve individual liberty and improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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