Previous Fora / 2003

Final summary of the WSF by Professor Norbert Kroó

World Science Forum, Budapest,

8-10 November, 2003.

Knowledge and Society


  1. Scientific research is having a more immediate societal influence and facing an increasing set of requirements on the part of the public. As a result of internal scientific development and societal need, new research priorities emerge, requiring the cooperation of various disciplines. Therefore an integration of the natural and social sciences is taking place for problem-solving. Such an integration reinforces the need for establishing interdisciplinary frameworks. This is to be reflected in the institutional structures of science and of science policy as well.

  2. The development of science and the demands of society will remove the rigid boundaries between theoretical and applied research, between the academic and innovation sector. New models of cooperation between universities and the industry, such as knowledge-producing networks are highly encourageable.

  3. One of the major characteristics of knowledge-based society is the dominance of market players in knowledge production. The increasing involvement of business actors in research activities reduces the pressure on public finance, and resources may be concentrated to non-rentable scientific fields, but the state remains responsible for financing R&D.

  4. It is of paramount importance that scientific communities shall communicate the achievements of science and shall support decision-making.

  5. Personal education, e-learning and other educational forms coexist with traditional forms of education and knowledge acquisition. To assure the quality and scientific values of those forms of education is a main obligation and responsibility.

  6. The digital divide is a consequence of economically, socially and regionally disadvantaged position. The removal of these problems should be a top political priority.

  7. The objective is to meet the needs of societies, but not at the cost of further degradation of natural resources. Sustainable development requires abandoning unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. Broader application of environmental management perspectives is a must.

  8. There exist appropriate scientific guidelines for improving the quality of life. Solutions offered by science are generally delayed by socio-economic patterns and inappropriate information transfer or misuse. It is the common responsibility of politicians, scientists and decision-makers to ensure the proper implementation of knowledge to improve the quality of life.

  9. In our world, access to information is globalized, but cultures are diverse. It is the responsibility of the holders of knowledge to offer people knowledge systems which are accessible both for traditional micro-communities and for broader networks.



  1. Science should be a partner in all alliances working for sustainable development.

  2. Human potential and research infrastructure should be developed in strong synergy.

  3. All holders of knowledge, including scientists, should bear ethical responsibility.

  4. The responsibility for our future is tantamount to the responsibility for the younger generation. Young scientists should be involved at every step.

  5. We should work toward a global ethical codex to be drafted by the entire scientific community.

  6. Each parliament should have a standing committee on science.

  7. World Science Forum - Budapest should be continued!