Category Archives: manufacturing

** What policies encourage high-technology manufacturing?

We presented this paper at the ISSI conference in Istanbul in June, 2015, and got out before the bombing started.
rds

Causal Connections Between Scientometric Indicators:
Which Ones Best Explain High-Technology Manufacturing Outputs?

R. D. Shelton ,T. R. Fadel, P. Foland
WTEC, 1653 Lititz Pike #417, Lancaster, PA 17601 (USA)

Abstract
Scientometric models can connect indicators via cross-country correlations, but these are not enough to assert causality. Sometimes a causal connection can be argued from the physical process. In other cases the causality or its direction is not clear, and the Granger test is often used to clarify the connection. Here it was shown that gross expenditures on R&D (GERD) Granger caused scientific papers in the U.S., EU, and some others, which has policy implications. Granger causality also reinforces earlier findings on why the EU passed the U.S. in papers in the mid-1990s. Downstream, it is difficult to prove the connection between research and gross domestic product (GDP), since the contributions of science are diluted by other factors. New data allows a focus on a sector that is more closely associated with science: high technology (HT) manufacturing outputs. This value-added data permits more accurate models for today’s international supply chains. Correlations show that business expenditures on R&D (BERD) and scientific indicators like patents are closely connected with HT manufacturing outputs. However for BERD, either direction of causality is plausible, and enough countries had significant results to show that causality can indeed be in either direction. The connections between papers and patents with HT manufacturing were also investigated; in several countries patents could be said to have Granger caused HT manufacturing.

Link to Paper Text

** Renewable Energy and Systems Engineering: An International Perspective

WTEC has recently completed a study on the R&D being done around the world to help renewable energy fit into existing energy infrastructures, like electrical grids.  That requires systems engineering on a scale beyond anything done before.  To make progress, WTEC sent a team of U.S. experts to top labs in Europe and Asia to bring back good ideas.  The final report is at http://wtec.org/SEEM/  A video version of the final workshop has been archived and can be viewed by registering at: http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/nsf/130314/

About WTEC:
The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from many Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.

R&D + M = R&D&M

For decades the US has been investing in research and development, but neglecting manufacturing.  Since it is only the manufacturing of products that can repay investments in R&D, this strategy is really a loser–except for multinationals.  They can make money manufacturing abroad–no American workers are needed, except few sales clerks at $8 per hour.   

This is hardly rocket science, but many efforts to reap the benefits of American R&D in America have been ineffective.  But we have to keep trying.  The latest effort was announced by the Obama Administration on June 24–the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.  This old EE might call it AMP, or R&D&M, adding manufacturing as an essential follow-on to R&D.

WTEC analyzes alternate universes abroad to seek policies that work.  Some countries (you know who you are) have made a spectacular success from the M part, sometimes without much of the R&D part, at least to start.  Learning from abroad is essential in finding strategies for zero-sum games–like seeking world market share of high-tech sales.  It’s silly to contemplate your own navel to see what has to be done; you have to learn from your successful competitors.  Let’s start by banishing the term, R&D alone, and always adding the manufacturing part: R&D&M.

I’ll discuss the Administration’s new AMP program in the next post in this context.

 R. D. Shelton