Science, technology and innovation each represent a successively larger category of activities which are highly interdependent but distinct. Science contributes to technology in at least six ways: (1) new knowledge which serves as a direct source of ideas for new technological possibilities; (2) source of tools and techniques for more efficient engineering design and a knowledge base for evaluation of feasibility of designs; (3) research instrumentation, laboratory techniques and analytical methods used in research that eventually find their way into design or industrial practices, often through intermediate disciplines; (4) practice of research as a source for development and assimilation of new human skills and capabilities eventually useful for technology; (5) creation of a knowledge base that becomes increasingly important in the assessment of technology in terms of its wider social and environmental impacts; (6) knowledge base that enables more efficient strategies of applied research, development, and refinement of new technologies.
The converse impact of technology on science is of at least equal importance: (1) through providing a fertile source of novel scientific questions and thereby also helping to justify the allocation of resources needed to address these questions in an efficient and timely manner, extending the agenda of science; (2) as a source of otherwise unavailable instrumentation and techniques needed to address novel and more difficult scientific questions more efficiently.
Specific examples of each of these two-way interactions are discussed. Because of many indirect as well as direct connections between science and technology, the research portfolio of potential social benefit is much broader and more diverse than would be suggested by looking only at the direct connections between science and technology.