I was asked recently to prepare an independent background report on the subject of priority assessment in science and technology policy for the Australian Science and Technology Council. The Council (while not necessarily endorsing this book) suggested that a wider audience could be interested in the type of material contained in my report and kindly gave me permission to publish the material in my own right. The present book contains this and other material, some of which was presented at a seminar on National Science Policy: Implications for Government Departments arranged by the Department of Science and the Environment. Additional ideas were developed in response to comments on the manuscript by referees, as a result of discussions with Professor John Metcalfe and Dr Peter Stubbs of Manchester University, a conversation with Dr Keith Hartley of the University of York and in the wake of a communication from Dr Ken Tucker, Assistant Director, Bureau of Industry Economics, Australia. Science and technology policy affects and concerns everyone of us if for no other reason than we cannot escape in this interdependent world from the economic, social and environmental overs pills generated by science and technology. We must face the problems and promises inherent in new and existing science and technology whether we like it or not. Not surprisingly this book finds that all industrialized countries seem to be facing similar economic and social problems.