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|In contrast to the '50s and '60s, the period of the '80s and '90s seems likely to have low growth in demand but much greater levels of technological change. In such a climate there will be pressure on costs, productivity will continue to rise and competitiveness will be closely associated with maintenance of the most effective technology. The penalties for inappropriate investments, whether short sighted or mistakenly based on a particular view of the future, will be greatly enhanced. Accordingly, there will be a need for significantly improved anticipation of technical change and thus for better planning. Study of the funding and direction of the world's R&D effort can provide a useful input to the planning processes within industries and individual firms. Such a study also suggests some insights into the characteristics of those countries which have achieved substantial growth and high standards of living over the past two decades. These characteristics may offer significant reminders for our own development. The particular implications for the Australian minerals industry include the need for direction that is sensitive to changing market requirements and customer practice. This is not simply "more of the same." In particular it appears essential for both basic and applied R&D to provide a sound basis for the purchase and ongoing development of the new technology required to achieve international Competitiveness.|