Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
The epochal innovation that distinguishes the modern economic epoch is the extended application of science to problems of economic production. (Kuznets 1966, p. 9) Basic research provides most of the original discoveries from which all other progress ﬂows. (United Kingdom Council for Scientiﬁc Policy 1967) The credit for our recent success really goes to the powerful system we have generated to create new knowledge and develop it into technologies that drive our economy, guarantee our national security, and improve our health and quality of life. (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 2000, p. 1) During the second half of the twentieth century, advanced industrial countries made unparalleled public investment in exploring what Vannevar Bush (1945) termed ‘the endless frontier’. Combined with charitable and private investment, this investment constructed a number of ‘powerful systems’ for generating new knowledge and harnessing them to invention. This book is about the evolution of these systems, our changing understanding of their composition and operation and the lessons this oﬀers for conceiving and implementing science and technology policy. In times of turbulence or rapid change in the past the practices and understandings seem to have been more straightforward. In recent years, many within the scientiﬁc community have longed for the consensus that governed science policy following the Second World War. Few, however, would wish to reinstate one of the principal conditions supporting this consensus, the imperative of using science to fuel military races that could be lost but never won. Even...