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 4: Links and Impacts: The Influence of Public Research on Industrial R & D

Wesley M. Cohen, Richard R. Nelson and John P. Walsh

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


4. Links and impacts: the influence of public research on industrial R&D* Wesley M. Cohen, Richard R. Nelson and John P. Walsh** 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter reports findings from the Carnegie Mellon Survey on Industrial R&D on the contributions of university and government research labs – what we will call public research – to industrial innovation. By advancing our understanding of the contribution of public research to industrial R&D, we hope to deepen our understanding of the determinants of technological change broadly, and speak to assumptions that have guided policy discussions over the past two decades concerning the economic impact of public research. Understanding the impact of public research on industrial R&D is central to understanding the innovation process itself. The so-called ‘linear model’ of innovation, reflected most notably in Vannevar Bush’s (1945) Science: The Endless Frontier, conceived of industrial innovation as proceeding from basic to applied research and then to development and commercialization. In this traditional view, public research – particularly university research – proceeds upstream and independently of technological development, which, however, draws from the pool of research results. A richer characterization of the innovation process has been developed over the past two decades by scholars such as Gibbons and Johnston (1975), Kline and Rosenberg (1986), Nelson (1990) and von Hippel (1988), among others. This conception is of a more interactive relationship where public research sometimes leads the development of new technologies, and sometimes focuses on problems posed by prior developments or buyer feedback. In this...

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