Research and Innovation: Article Reviews Essay

Research and Innovation: Article Reviews

Archibugi, Daniel and Alberto Coco, “Is Europe Becoming the Most Dynamic Knowledge Economy in the World?” Journal of Common Market Studies, 43(3): 433-459

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            The competition in the world in the area of research and innovation has been taking place rapidly especially in the 21st century. Every nation is striving to present itself as a formidable force in the sector, to outdo others, and to benefit from the entire research and development program. There have also been efforts by regional blocs to do the same, and the European Union has been among them. The EU has sought to compete with its main rivals in research and development – the US and Japan – so that it can become a leading knowledge destination in the world. The EU has been doing all in its power to reassert itself as a real force in research and development. To achieve this, the EU has been setting goals that are to be achieved. Notable among them is the need to have the regional bloc increasing its budgetary allocation for research and development to make it at least fit into the ratio of 3% of GDP. That is to mean that the ratio of research and development to the gross domestic product was to be 3% by the year 2010 (Archibugi & Alberto). This goal was set around eight years ago.

The article, therefore, not only reviews the successes so far attained but more so how this compares with their rivals the United States and Japan who have in the past given them a run for their money in research, development and innovation (Thompson 2001). Among the notable developments within the last eight or so years include the increased use of human resources or knowledge among key sectors of the economy, with individual companies and organizations within different countries forming the union seemingly increasing their use of knowledge to enhance the profitability of their business ventures. That aside, there has been a rapid rise in the quantity of human resources and technology that is getting transferred from the region to elsewhere in the world; and from other parts of the world into the EU. Whether this is due to globalization of the knowledge and technological industry or because of the plans of the EU to achieve a sustainable knowledge base is not so much of a matter because either way the EU seems to have won and achieved, at least in part, its goals set eight years ago (Caloghirou 2004). This has been associated with reduction in costs of doing business, a trend that has really revolutionized the way of doing business. Finally, and no less important, is the fact that economic competition has been really accelerated, with the entry of more players into the various areas of operations – both new  and old alike – being witnessed everyday.

            This article uses empirical data to reach its conclusion regarding the manner in which the knowledge economy is now and how it was 10 years ago. On the overall, it is being shown that there has been, and there is bound to be, a lot more innovation and application of knowledge-based resources in the advancement of the economy of the region. And there is no letting go of the other interrelated aspects deemed critical to research and development like embracing new technology. The data being utilized by the authors is based on what has been observed over the years.

            I believe this article offers a very comprehensive approach to the subject. Measuring any variable and seeking to use the variable as a tool for drawing inferences in any research calls for the use of data that can be authenticated as much as possible. This authenticity of research data is clearly more present in empirical data than in conceptual data just as this article proves. Spanning a period of over eight years, this article offers statistics that makes the investors to be alert and to understand where to put their money in this age and time. The subject matter, therefore, is fairly appropriate even though the presentation of the matters is wanting. With the kind of data used to authenticate the findings in the article, it is very difficult for the reader to correlate them to the conclusions.

For example, the author ought to have tried to explain further or to simplify statements like “the ratio of RD to GDP” because although everyone might be aware of the terms used in the statement, it is hard to tell how this ratio impacts the policies and goals of the EU as there is no clearly defined correlation between spending more on research and development and enhanced superiority in the area of economic development. After all, comparing with the information contained in the other articles, there is proof that increasing budgetary allocation to research and development is not necessary a means of enhanced commercial and so economic growth because some research fails to translate into commercial activities it was aimed at creating.

Mowery David (1998), ‘The Changing Structure of the US National Innovation System: Implications for international Conflict and Cooperation in R;D’, Research Policy, 27: 639-654.

            Just how important is research and development to a nation? Is it all that important for nations the world over to be clamoring for a chance to strengthen their research capabilities instead of investing in more direct and needy areas like infrastructural development? And how sustainable is research and development to any nation? These and other related questions seem to have been on the mind of the author of this article as he was writing it because he seeks to show how there have been variations in the way the United States has been spending its money on research, development and other innovative ventures. It particularly points out that over the years, there has been a significant change in the areas where there has been federal funding for research and development, meaning that there have been great variations in the structure of the country’s research and development investments (Filho 2005).

Notable has been the move away from funding military-based research, probably owing to the fact that the world has tended to become more peaceful and the need for defense is not so much. Instead, the country has tended to move to funding more industrial research, with funding for universities being a major focal point for the federal government. Just how important, therefore, is it for a country to be very cognizant of its more pressing needs so that it can channel funds for more research in that area? Such a question would have been better answered if there was a lot of empirical data on why the US has been changing its National Innovation System structure. Because that has not been done but only concepts have been presented, there is no real or tangible proof that it is helpful. That is why this article leaves the reader guessing so much and so having to answer nagging questions on his/her own. But there has to be a reason why such structures ought to change with time, and probably one of them is in order to address more pressing concerns of the public; and to cater for budgetary variations and constraints.

However, the article offers first hand information on what must be behind the recent decision by the US to cut collaborations with other nations like those in the EU in research and innovation. Factual, empirical data show that this is largely due to the failure by such programs to be feasible, owing to the inability of most of the beneficiaries to translate the research into actual commercial projects. The argument being fronted here is that it cannot be of any value to continue funding research and development programs that are not able to be translated into the commercial ventures from which the funding agencies can benefit. The only noble course of action for governments faced with such a dilemma is to either change the structure of funding or stop it altogether (Mowery 1998).

The value of this information is in proving to the world that it is not policy that matters but more so how the policy is presented to the people and subsequently implemented. In addition, the article has succeed in informing the business leadership that it is only through working in collaboration with research institutions that tangible and sustainable development can result thereof (Wagner 2002). Considering the manner in which the author correlates the subject matter with that found in the other two articles, it leaves one without a doubt as what the message is and to whom it is intended. What has been lost or what is yet to be lost when a nation the size and nature of the US decides to change its national innovation system is nothing, according to this article, compared with the benefits that have or will result in the world as far as peace is concerned. Here, the point is that peace efforts in the world ought to matter more than anything else. And the author ought to receive credit for passing forth a point that has lain undiscovered for a long time – human peace and welfare is of far greater value than riches coming from money.

As such, governments elsewhere ought to be prepared to vary their research and innovation approaches to cater for newer needs – letting go of investments in military research and embracing civilian research ought to be the direction to go for all governments (Wagner 2002). The presentation of the facts are, however, a bit ambiguous and might take a lot more time for a novice to understand what message the author wanted  to put across. The article is not clearly and succinctly presented, leaving the reader with a lot more desire for clarification and exposition. Otherwise, the subject mater is new and could not have come at a better time. In comparison to the other artifices, this subject matter is more appropriate to this age when war is devastating nations and communities around the world, and there is almost a renewal in the arms race in most parts of the world.

Segal, Adam (2004) ‘Is America Losing its Edge?’ Foreign Affairs, 83(6): 2-8

            Again, the use of empirical data is proven to be invaluable in the kind of research being conducted in this paper. It is found that there is a way which empirical data and conceptual data have distinct differences from each other. One difference, as depicted in this article, is that while conceptual data can clearly lead the user of the research to the evidence upon which the conclusions, hypotheses, and outcomes are based, conceptual data simply refers to a matter or even a universally acceptable fact but never goes beyond that to point out the source of its data or the basis of such claims, assumptions, and hypotheses (National Research Council (US) 2005). As such, such data cannot be totally relied on to offer an insight into the functioning of the various variables. For instance, while in this article there are tangible, evidence-based research findings regarding the possibility that the United States is seemingly slowly losing its leadership role in the business circles, such evidence are often missing when conceptual data is used.

Consider a claim, for instance, that the Chinese are actually having a more stable economy than that of Japan and that China ought to be ranked the second largest economy in the world in the place of Japan (Rao 2002). Well, of course that is one of the goals of the article – to seek to prove that the United States of America might as well be losing out to other, otherwise less recognized nations in Asia like China and India (Chow 2007). But do the concepts used have any valid proof? Can one really, unless one is given the latest economic surveys of both Asia and the US, agree to the assertion that the Chinese and the Indians are taking over the mantle in the world leadership as far as innovation, research, and development are concerned? Therefore, although the conceptual data used has helped to come up with conclusions and resolve the issues at hand for the researchers, the article lacks authenticity on the basis of empirical data.

            The main underlying issue which is being fronted by the article is that the US has for along time led the way in research and innovation and so has often never put in place measures to ensure that whatever it has been doing is sustainable. As a leading industrial nation, all the country has been doing, so asserts the article, was to ensure that its industries are not starved of much-needed skills and technologies (Sharma 2005). But he trends around the world are changing very fast such that while the rate of innovation in the US might be high, the fact that the cost of doing business there is still high compared the cost of doing business in other countries like China and India which have the same technology as the US has made it possible for many companies and businesses, including those in the US itself, to either offshore to those cheaper areas or to outsource their key production process to these overseas nations with the aim of reaping the benefits of globalization (Siddiqui 2007). As such, the indications are that the US is likely to be the loser in this global trend in research and technology unless it finds ways to ensure that its technology is not very expensive (Segal 2004).

            Perhaps the most critical aspect of this article is the way in which it has been written. Apart from using an easy-to-understand-and-follow approach, the author ensures that there is a touch of reality in every single word used. From the wording in the title through the presentation of the abstract to the concise conclusion, there is not a single paragraph that is left unexplained. This gives the readers a chance to walk with the author and to identify with his concerns, if at all they are concerns, that the world’s leading power might be on its way to disgrace even as it continues to lag behind in aspects of research and innovation.

But that the author has included in the analysis a set of recommendations lends a lot of credibility to the article. Nothing is as disgusting as criticizing something only to fail to offer any possible solutions to what problems one has. The article presents these solutions in an equally easy to understand manner, comprehensively, and with factual backing so that the reader is left with no unclear assertions or courses of action. For the astute reader, this article is comprehensive in its entirety. Nothing is grossly out of place except, maybe, the subject matter which obviously offers nothing new to the public and to the governments. Compared to the other two articles, this one falls short of offering a topical issue but instead gives details of what many people already know. After all many empires in technology have emerged and fallen just as fast and the US case is not a new one – if indeed the data presented are actually genuine.

The author has even tries to present the subject in a way that researching further on it can be as interesting an endeavor. This ensures that the reader is engaged fully with the matter at hand, and even subconsciously takes part in the ongoing discussion. He evokes the emotions of the reader to focus on the subject matter, and without seeming to sympathize with the United States for the position it finds itself in, presents to it an array of opportunities that lie ahead. The conclusion is arresting, too. One is left without as much as a lingering question as to what the article wanted to convey. It is a perfect blend of issues to produce a classic analysis.

            Word count: 2,647


Archibugi, D & Alberto, C. “Is Europe Becoming the Most Dynamic Knowledge Economy in

 the World?” Journal of Common Market Studies, 43(3): 433-459

Caloghirou, Y 2004. European collaboration in research and development: business strategy

 and public policy. Edward Elgar Publishing

Chow, P 2007. Economic integration, democratization and national security in East Asia:

 shifting paradigms in US, China and Taiwan relations. Edward Elgar Publishing

Filho, WL 2005. R&D priorities in innovation policy and financing in former socialist countries.

 IOS Press

Mowery, D 1998, ‘The Changing Structure of the US National Innovation System: Implications

 for international Conflict and Cooperation in R;D.’ Research Policy, 27: 639-654.

National Research Council (US) 2005. Globalization of materials R&D: time for a national

 strategy. National Academies Press

Rao, M 2002. The Asia-Pacific internet handbook: Emerging power houses. Tata McGraw Hill

 Pub. Co.

Segal, A 2004. “Is America Losing its Edge?” Foreign Affairs, 83(6): 2-8

Sharma, R 2005. India and emerging Asia. SAGE

Siddiqui, A 2007. India and South Asia: economic developments in the age of globalization.

 M.E. Sharpe

Thompson, G 2001. Governing the European economy. SAGE

Wagner, C 2002. U.S. government funding for science and technology cooperation with Russia,

 Issue 1504. Rand Corporation



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