Projects, from the International Space Station to building particle colliders and light sources, or semi-conductor research: all thrive on global co-operation.
It was not always so. Governments, scientists and investors have often been wary of each other, with co-operation tending to take place on an ad hoc basis. That is why the OECD Global Science Forum was created: to provide a venue for inter-governmental consultations among scientists and policymakers.
Started as the Megascience Forum in 1992, its goal was to strengthen scientific cooperation on Big Science projects, like underwater studies of ultra high-energy neutrinos, international electron accelerator facilities, nuclear physics and global biodiversity. Deemed a success in 1999, its mandate was expanded as the Global Science Forum, the aim being to address more basic issues as well, like research on short-pulse lasers, pooling resources for neuro-informatics and helping to resolve issues regarding outer space airwaves between radio astronomy researchers and telecommunications satellites.
Twice a year oday the Global Science Forum brings together science policy officials from OECD countries to identify and maximise opportunities for international co-operation in basic scientific research. The Forum establishes special-purpose working groups and workshops to perform technical analyses, and to develop findings and recommendations for actions by governments. In February 2003, it convened in Tokyo to discuss its long-term Study on International Scientific Cooperation, a 10 to 15-year programme to plan and implement new multinational research projects.
©OECD Observer No 237, May 2003