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June 02, 2015


Serdar Erden

Your analysis lacks of sufficient information. You comprehend China as a "competitor" in terms of R&D. However, the success of Chinese rising R&D owes to multinational companies, especially American ones. 1300 R&D centers are operated by multinational companies in China, out of 1600 total. Unfortunately, there is no any hint over American multinatiobal company's involvement in Chinese R&D. This picture is also same in India.
Intellectual Property is also not protected legally enough that concerns many multinational companies.
The rising R&D in China should considered to be the outcome of "globalization", not in the context of competition as your analysis suggested. The following report is more detailed and satisfactory rather than your report:

Pasquale Di Cesare

I feel the 15-points list lacks mentioning clearly one important contribution: high-energy accelerator physics. HEP rejoins astrophysics at the frontiers of energy. Referring to the 3rd bullet (Space Exploration), I think it will be hard to fully understand “dark energy” or “dark matter” without an accelerator facility allowing you to experiment the nature of both in a reproducible manner. Unless maybe the two explorations can be carried on the same platform in space. EU is now leading with CERN’s LHC with large contributions in particular from the US (after the sad SSC cancellation). The next step in the path to higher energy will likely be fully international and on Earth.

Related, an element of reply to the usual question of how beneficial is high-energy accelerator physics funding, a typical example of basic research, and besides the obvious replies, is a serious Cost/Benefit Analysis (CBA). This scientific approach is currently being applied to the LHC under the EU's impulse. I was at an interesting presentation last week where the preliminary results of the study were given.

From the presentation’s abstract (slides are available from the link): “Social cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of projects has been successfully applied in different fields such as transport, energy, health, education, and environment, climate change policy, but often considered impossible for research infrastructures because of the impredictable benefits of scientific discovery. We have designed a CBA model for large scale research infrastructures and applied it to the LHC. After estimating investment and operation costs spread over 30 years (to 2025), combining data from the CERN and the experiments, we evaluate the benefits of knowledge output (publications), human capital development, technological spillovers, and cultural effects. Additionally, willingness-to-pay for the pure value of discovery at the LHC by the general public is estimated through a survey of around 1,ooo respondendents in four countries. Setting to zero any until now unpredictable economic value of discovery of the Higgs boson (or of any new physics), we compute a probability distribution for the net present value of the LHC through Monte Carlo simulation of 19 input, output and valuation variables and show that there is currently 92% probability that social benefits of the LHC exceed its costs. The approach and the results shed light on the social net benefits of research infrastructures for the first time in an empirically testable form…”

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