Materials science and engineering

In the last 15 years we have witnessed the almost simultaneous arrival of three major generic technologies. These have far-reaching implications for world division of labour, foreign direct investment, the location of production and research and development (R&D) facilities, inter-firm strategic technology alliances, intra- and inter-regional trade patterns and employment. Although information technologies and biotechnologies are much discussed at present, the materials revolution is less well understood and has attracted much less attention. However, as we head for the 21st century, new and advanced materials are set to become crucial determinants of the competitiveness of firms and national branches of industries in the world market, and will provide key solutions to urgent environmental, energy, transportation and medical problems. It is now widely recognized that further technical progress in a wide array of leading industries, including computers and telecommunications, multimedia, aerospace, deep-sea exploration, surface transportation, packaging and construction, to name but a few, depends almost entirely on environmentally sound and high-performance solutions that are offered by materials science and engineering.

Sustainable Development Goals:
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