Technology transfer is paramount for development, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to accelerate their expertise, experience and equipment related to advanced, innovative industrial products and processes. Effective technology transfer could help countries secure national supply and reduce their dependence on imports, and advance several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 7 (sustainable energy for all), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic development), SDG 9 (Innovation, industry and infrastructure), SDG 13 (Climate change) and SDG 17 (Global partnerships). Moreover, technological transformation plays a critical role in meeting global ambitions for climate change, curbing emissions via access to mitigation technologies and building the necessary resilience for countries, cities and communities via access sharing of adaptation knowledge and methods. 

Transfer of advanced technology is a challenge for developing countries and emerging markets. It is critical that new or existing technologies are locally adapted, inculcating the challenges and the opportunities for the country. For instance, in countries with a lack of cold-chain storage, how can vaccines be stored in sub-zero temperatures and transported in warm and tropical climates? Given this, it is important that technology development conducted for the global stage must involve multidisciplinary teams and research and development (R&D) that recognize such challenges. 

Despite decades of discourse on technology transfer and collaborations, there is still limited understanding of the factors responsible for successful technology transfer and partnerships. Hence, to explore how technologies of the future should be co-developed, it is imperative that we first understand how current technology transfer and collaborations in critical sectors have fared so far. This paper analyses three key research questions on technology transfer, collaboration and co-development to reimagine a new global technology order. 

  1. Has technology transfer delivered on sustainable development?
  2. What are the different types of emerging climate-friendly technologies and associated uncertainties?
  3. What are the modalities for successful technology co-development? 

This paper is part of a series that supports the Stockholm+50: Unlocking a better future report.