BNCT Project on Impact Assessment

Project on Impact Assessment (OECD BNCT)

NEW: Trend-analysis of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for BNCTs

Countries and regions are dedicating significant investments to the advancement of biotechnology, nanotechnology and ICT (information and communication technology). Recent comparative studies of the impact of policies, however, suggest that not every policy instrument is equally well-suited to create high economic impact from emerging technologies. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy making could be significantly strengthened and advanced in both the speed and the ex-ante assessment of their impact, if it was possible to determine a pattern of change in STI policies with growing maturity and development of the technologies they address.

The OECD’s Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT) set out to obtain an overview of the existence of national technology-specific policies for biotechnology and nanotechnology, as well as BNCT-specific policy instruments. In addition to analysing the longitudinal development of the number of policies pertaining to the advancement of biotechnology and nanotechnology over the past years, the BNCT aimed to obtain an insight into the directionality (i.e. “technology-push” versus “application-pull”) of such policies. The main questions asked at the onset of the analysis were:

  • Have the number of STI policies that specifically aim to support the advancement of biotechnology or nanotechnology changed over time and with growing maturity of the technologies?
  • Have the technology-specificity or the directionality of STI policies or the policy instruments they employ changed over time?

The BNCT’s recently published “Trend-Analysis of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT)” finds that, in general, technology-push policies seem to be favoured for young technology fields, while application-pull policies tend to be applied to more mature fields. In technology-specific policies, the percentage of pure application-pull policies is much lower than that observed for general STI policies. Most STI policies are technology-specific; those that are formulated as general STI policies, however, also mention a specific technology and are thus applicable to both the field of general STI and the field of the technology.

For some time, analysts have predicted that biotechnology and nanotechnology would enable broad new areas of scientific research and innovation, revolutionise industrial processes, and deepen economic value chains. After many years of sustained investment by countries in these areas, many national policy makers seek better ways to measure impact of these fields. However, validation of predictions and assertions is hampered by the interdisciplinary nature of these fields and their broad diffusion as tools within other scientific areas. Growing technological convergence across these domains further confounds clear assessment of impact that policymakers are interested in.

Drawing from the strength of prior OECD work, the new OECD Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT) aims to develop an impact assessment methodology that allows the simultaneous analysis of nanotechnology and biotechnology and the impacts of policies concerning them.

The Working Party anticipates to use the consolidated Impact Assessment of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology to understand more fully the growth dynamics of industrial sectors involving and affected by the two technologies, with a view to characterizing the development towards converging technologies.

Latest News on Impact Assessment

Welcome to BNCT Impact Assessment

Welcome to the webpage of OECD's work on Impact Assessment of Bio- and Nanotechnology - a Project of the OECD's Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT).

  • If you are a member of the public, who is interested in Impact Assessment of enabling and emerging technologies, you will find useful, frequently updated information on this page.
  • If you are a registered expert of the OECD BNCT Task Force on Measurement and Impact (TFMI), you can log into this page, in order to find private discussion and file exchange fora, as well as…

Info: Impact Assessment of Bio- and Nanotechnology

Past Meetings: BNCT TFMI