Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation

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

This book re-examines the rationale for public policy, concluding that the prevailing ‘public knowledge’ model is evolving towards a networked or distributed model of knowledge production and use in which public and private institutions play complementary roles. It provides a set of tools and models to assess the impact of the new network model of funding and governance, and argues that governments need to adapt their funding and administrative priorities and procedures to support the emergence and healthy growth of research networks. The book goes on to explain that interdependencies and complementarities in the production and distribution of knowledge require a new and more contextual, flexible and complex approach to government funding, monitoring and assessment.

Chapter 2: The Increasing Involvement of Concerned Groups in R & D Policies: What Lessons for Public Powers?

Michel Callon

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


2. The increasing involvement of concerned groups in R&D policies: what lessons for public powers?* Michel Callon 1 A CHANGING STAGE Institutions created during the second half of the twentieth century to manage and steer scientific and technical activities have entered into a period of long-term reconfiguration. As many historians have pointed out, these institutions, founded in the immediate post-war years and strengthened throughout the Cold War (Guston 2000; Mirowski and Sent 2002) were explicitly designed to enforce strict distinctions that could be characterized in a very sketchy way as follows: G G G G G a neat division of roles between scientific experts (or specialists) and political authorities, with the former producing reliable and ‘consensible’ knowledge (what is possible) on which the latter base their decisions (what is desirable) (Ziman 2000);1 the constitution of an ignorant public, incapable of entering into the abstract formalism of scientific knowledge (such as concepts of time and space in post-Newtonian physics) and whose support for science and technology requires constant education (popularization); the development of non-profit research strongly structured around public agencies and universities; this sector is specialized in what is known as basic research, that is, long-term and disinterested research that feeds into economic markets and their applied research and development laboratories; heavy investments by public agencies in major technological programmes that are either civil or military – military programmes being considered as an important source of technology for the rest of the economy; and finally...

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