What is the CSTP?

What is the CSTP, and how does it differ from other international bodies?
Formally created in the beginning of 1970s (but existed under other names before that), CSTP is the only existing multilateral body that is capable of supporting effective exchange/discussion on international S&T policy issues to take place thanks to a number of unique features of the Committee: 
  • It is composed of all OECD members, which include all global heavy-weight S&T players, and also the important emerging S&T players, notably China, but also Brazil, South Africa, and Russian Federation, Malaysia, as Participants (and increasingly engaged with India and Indonesia as well as ASEAN as a whole). The structure of the Committee differs from the UN Commission for S&T for Development (CSTD) or UNESCO, which suffers from their large and diverse membership.
  • Its substantive Working Parties can cover a wide range of S&T policy issues: Innovation policy, public research, and Global Science Forum, Bio-, Nano- and Converging technologies, and statistics and measurements. 
  • It has an effective and competent Secretariat, which is not the case with other existing international fora, such as APEC.
What does the CSTP do?
The mandate of the CSTP defines the objectives of the Committee as follows:  The CSTP shall be responsible for encouraging co operation among Members and, as appropriate, with Partners, in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy, with a view to contributing to the achievement of economic, social and scientific aims, including growth and the creation of jobs, sustainable development, improved well-being of their citizens and advancing the frontiers of knowledge. It shall pay particular attention to the integration of science, technology and innovation policy with other aspects of government policy, which is of increasing importance in the development of increasingly globalised knowledge economies.  (To access to the CSTP Mandate click here).  
More specifically: 
  • It supports the exchange of best practices among OECD Members and Participant countries on emerging, cutting-edge policy issues where individual countries lack experience, information and critical mass to tackle by themselves;
  • It shapes not only the “policy discourse” in STI (e.g. diffusing concepts such as the knowledge-based economy, open science), but also the evidence-base for policy making through international comparisons and the diffusion of best policy practices in all key policy areas.
  • Its measurement work supports policy analysis and evidence-based policy making through the publication of internationally comparable STI statistics and the development of new indicators.
  • It develops global norms for international co-operation in STI, in the form of ‘soft law ‘.  (See below on impact)
What Impact does CSTP Have?
  • It sets international standards on STI statistics and indicators (Frascati and Oslo Manuals), and through a set of OECD instruments standards for policies such as on international cooperation in S&T, on international technology cooperation involving enterprises, and on access to research data, as well as on a number of Biotechnology–related issues and on non-commercial clinical trials.
  • Its flagship publications (STI Outlook, Scoreboard) have global impacts, as they are used by governments, policy advisers and academics alike as key references; and its IPP will become the first living repository of existing knowledge and expertise on STI policy topics.
  • Its country innovation reviews (done for 2 dozens of member, including France, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Korea etc., and partners including China, South Africa, and Russian Federation, and Southeast Asia region) influence directly countries’ policy making: e.g. China still appraises the review (of 2008) as a key reference for policy making. 
  • Its work on impacts of STI on economic growth helps to move the STI policies up on the governments’ policy agenda.