Global Science and Technology Innovation Hubs:Patterns and Prospects

Historically, the emergence and evolution of global hubs for technological innovation is always closely connected with major technological revolutions. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the electronic revolution in the 19th century and the revolution of information technology in the 20th century all propelled rapid economic transformation of Western countries such as Great Britain, Germany and the US, giving rise to quite a few globally influential science and technology innovation hubs represented by London, Berlin and New York, etc. With national strength dramatically boosted, the rise of these great powers reshaped the world. It is highly relevant for countries to understand the development laws of global innovation hubs and forecast their future directions so as to make strategies accordingly. Only in so doing can each county keep up with the tide of innovation and meet the challenge posed by the new round of technological revolution. The 21st century is an era of open innovation featured by the worldwide flow of principal innovation factors. Globalized innovation helps expand the channels through which technology, capital and human recourses are transited to propel structural reform. In the meantime, the international competition over capital, human recourses, technologies and crucial innovation outcomes grows fiercer. Moreover, the revolution of information technology has dramatically changed the distribution of innovation resources, as well as the micro-level organization and macro-level control of innovation activities. The development of science and technology hubs, against such a backdrop, has shifted the pivot from the west to the east. That is to say, these hubs are being transferred from the developed economies such as the US and European countries to Asia. Therefore, China is facing both challenges and opportunities in implementing the Outline of the National Strategy of Innovation-Driven Development, beefing up the national strength through technological development and building a global science and technology innovation hub.

Under such circumstances, what should we do to understand the basic principles governing the development of science and technology innovation hubs in the world? How to identify the signs and trends of the future development of these hubs? What can we learn from internationally recognized science and technology innovation hubs? What missions should they undertake? What should be done to optimize the structure of China’s science and technology innovation hubs so that they could be better integrated into the global innovation network? How to enhance their global influence? All of these questions are in an urgent need to be addressed.

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