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
KEITH PAVITT Ben Martin and Michel Callon were both asked to launch a debate about important changes in science policy, and their chapters do this admirably. Martin’s chapter (Chapter 1) concentrates on publicly funded science and Callon’s chapter (Chapter 2) focuses on socio-technical controversies and scientiﬁc activities designed to reduce negative externalities. My comments have two objectives. First, to redress the balance towards continuity compared to change in science policy: my theme song is not Bob Dylan’s ‘Times, they are a’changing’, but Shirley Bassey’s ‘A little bit of history repeating’. Second, to try to distinguish fads from facts, perceptions from practices: science policy is like managing in a changing and unpredictable world – important, diﬃcult, not well understood, and therefore subject to swings in fashion. 1 Government Funding of Academic Research In Europe, public policies towards academic research are, as the papers show, subject to competing perceptions. Going out of fashion are the models that are linear, and those based on Bush, Humboldt and the Cold War. In fashion are shifts from Mode 1 to Mode 2, to the triple helix, to the knowledge economy, and – more generally – towards a more explicit concern for practical utility. These apparent shifts need to be tested – as best we can – against actual practice in the support and practice of academic research and in its links with business and other users. The following picture emerges: G G The substantial share of applied subjects Although diﬃcult to estimate precisely, applied subjects like engineering,...
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