In such circumstances political will was also found to be a crucial factor in the seven countries studied. India, for example, emphasized health biotechnology in its sixth five-year plan, 19801987, as a tool to tackle India's underdevelopment and to improve the health of its population.
"Health biotechnology is a science-intensive field requiring considerable investments of time and money before it is likely to generate benefits," she says.
Long Term, Creative Government Support Essential
Governments can encourage the biotech sector by providing incentives to overcome difficult economic conditions. For example Brazilian authorities dealt with high inflation rates and Cuban authorities revised foreign investment laws. In fact, political will and a strong government role have been essential for all countries with strengths in biotechnology, the report says.
This is the same model the U.S. government adopted many years ago. America's world-leading biotech industry has been strongly supported by government in nearly every stage of its evolution, says Dr. Daar.
The loss of the best and brightest researchers to developed countries like the U.S. is a serious and ongoing challenge the study notes, and governments can play an important role in stemming this 'brain drain'. Since the late 1990s China has made concerted efforts to encourage expatriate professionals to return. Incentives include the provision of funding for the establishment of laboratories in China and schemes to enable returning scientists to establish firms.
How the Study Was Conducted
The study used a broad definition of biotechnology as "the application of scientific and eng
Contact: Juliet Heller
University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics