G8 leaders seeking global innovative society

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STRELNA (near St. Petersburg), July 16 (RIA Novosti) - Leaders of the world's industrialized nations pledged Sunday to promote a global innovation society to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Education is one of three key issues - the others are energy security and the fight against disease - under discussion at Russia's debut Group of Eight summit, which opened Saturday.

The Education for Innovative Societies in the 21st Century program is a step toward creating a "global innovation society by developing and integrating all three elements of the 'knowledge triangle' (education, research and innovation), by investing fully in people, skills and research, and by supporting modernization of education systems to become more relevant to the needs of a global knowledge-based economy," the statement said.

"We must generate new knowledge and nurture innovation to sustain long-term economic growth. We will collaborate on creating research networks among higher education institutions, research centers and business, and capitalize on the leading edge technology they produce. We will share best practices on knowledge-based cluster development and public-private partnerships to facilitate global knowledge dissemination and move technologies quickly from the laboratory to the marketplace," the document said.

The program covers various forms of investment, with governments to leverage public spending strategically to attract private funding in research and development, including in education. According the statement, it is also designed to encourage closer cooperation between universities and industry.

"We will aim to maximize the human and social capital of all people through policies that recognize that diversity in the educational sector and in the workplace, advance innovation and stimulate creativity. Successful social cohesion policies, including education for democratic citizenship, will help to combat intolerance and discrimination. Our education systems should facilitate achievement of these fundamental goals, while taking into consideration that each country employs a range of different policies to promote acceptance and integration in its economy and society," the document said.

The leaders of Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada are in the second day of a three-day summit in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city.

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