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
Chapter 5: The Evolution of French Research Policies and the Impacts on the Universities and Public Research Organizations
Patrick Llerena, Mireille Matt and Véronique Schaeﬀer 1 INTRODUCTION It is now usually accepted that part (and for policy-makers increasingly so) of the justiﬁcation for public research is its usefulness for society at large. The question is what is meant by ‘utility’ or ‘usefulness’. Most of the economic debate understands both words in economic terms and, more precisely, that public research should be ‘usable’ in the short or long terms for the economic system, that is, for industry – by contributing to more eﬀective production processes and/or new products, incorporating higher qualities and/or fulﬁlling new needs. In other words, public research should lead to ‘innovation’ in the Schumpeterian sense. If we accept this point of view, the focus then moves to the design and the organization of the linkages between public research and industry. In this chapter we focus on the purposes and instruments available for policy in the context of the French innovation system and the implementation of these policies during the last few years. The objective of this chapter is ﬁrst to outline the recent evolution and challenges of French public research policies. The challenges arise from the internal evolution of the research system and research policy, a relative reduction of the resources devoted to public research, the increase in institutional complexity and the, at least partial, disappearance of traditional ‘mission-oriented’ policies. Instead, the public research system is urged to ‘increase its socio-economic relevance’, a development that introduces a further challenge to French research...
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