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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: FP7 » Non-Western Innovation Boom: Biotech in China

version: 3 / updated: 2011-11-08
id: #1863 / version id: #970
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Vanessa Watkins
List of all contributors by versions (mouse over)
Last changed by: Rafael Popper
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 8 - Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Blue Sky Research on emerging issues and other research economies

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)
Source: INFU (225229) - http://www.innovation-futures.org/ http://www.process.vogel.de/management_und_it/forschung_entwicklung/grundlagenforschung/articles/112535/ http://www.pwc.de/portal/pub/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLd4p3NgsASZnFG8Q76kfCRHw98nNT9YP0vfUD9AtyI8odHRUVARB3vvI!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUMvNElVRS82X0JfQ0VS?siteArea=49c234c4f2195056&content=e561830aa3e773a&topNavNode=49c4e4a420942bcb&displayMode=print

Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Non-Western Innovation Boom: Biotech in China

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
China invests vast amounts of resources into research programs in order to foster basic research and applied science, in particular concerning the sponsorship of future technologies such as biotech. The budget of research institutions and universities has grown with an annual growth rate of 20% recently. This development and other contributing factors such as the local presence of high-skilled scientists, a supporting regulatory environment and low costs of research give rise to the establishment of China as a powerful research location. This is especially true for the biotech sector and is encouraged by an ongoing settlement of international pharmaceutical companies.


research location, biotechnology, emerging technologies, emerging countries, China


(max. 250 characters)
China's investemnt in RTD, the local presence of high-skilled scientists, a supporting regulatory environment and low costs of research give rise to the establishment of China as a powerful research location, especially in biotechnology.

Signal's potential evolution

It could lead to...
issue type of issue/development potential impact on society timeframe for the issue to become at least 50% probable
#1 Change in current innovation patterns new/emerging

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

Traditionally new technologies, medicines and vaccines are researched and developed in Western industries. This Weak Signal could indicate, that in the future, fundamental achievements and innovations in biotech and pharmaceutics might emerge mainly in research clusters in China.


please specify
please select
Level 4: important for the whole world

Key driving forces of this signal

Please use these boxes to provide up to 2 drivers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
Driver 1 Driver 2
Economic The reason for the attractiveness of China as a research location for biotech is mainly an enormous cost advantage. The relatively low expenditures on clinical tests and the availability of high-skilled scientists such as chemists, biologists and pharmaceutical chemists, whose initial salary levels are way below the standard in the EU and the United States, might lead to a further settlement of international pharmaceutical companies in China and a clustering of biotechnological skills and know-how.
Political Particularly beneficial regulations concerning the conduction of genetic assays or fiscal benefits, such as reduced tax rates or even exemptions for high-tech companies might further attract international companies to conduct pharmaceutical research in China.

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Diseases, health and well-being
Ethics and abuse of S&T
Economic prosperity/dynamics
Globalization vs. localization

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology
Research infrastructures

Pan-European strategies influencing the signal

please justify:
particularly relevant
Developing and funding world-class research infrastructures
Strengthening research institutions and universities
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer

Research-friendly strategies potentially improving understanding of the signal

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here
please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)