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 6: Public Research and Industrial Innovation: A Comparison of US and European Innovation Systems in the Life Sciences

Massimo Riccaboni, Jason Owen-Smith, Walter W. Powell and Fabio Pammolli

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


* Massimo Riccaboni, Walter W. Powell, Fabio Pammolli and Jason Owen-Smith 1 INTRODUCTION Public research systems in the United States and Europe are often compared with respect to their divergent levels of involvement in the private economy. The US research system, with its mix of both public and private institutions, has long played a significant role in conducting research that contributes to technological development and industrial performance (Geiger 1988; Rosenberg and Nelson 1994). Historically, this ‘knowledge plus’ orientation, in which high-quality public and academic research tends to be driven by ‘joint goals of understanding and use’ (Stokes 1997, p. 15) was contrasted to the European scene, where universities were believed to contribute more to knowledge for its own sake and to the preservation of distinctive national cultures (Ben-David 1977). Over the past decade, the development of a number of key science- and technology-based industries – most notably information and communication technologies, and biotechnology – has helped spark economic growth. The United States has broad commercial leadership in a number of these new areas, and commentators suggest that US universities and research institutes played a significant role in this process (Mowery and Nelson 1999; Mowery et al. 2001). The diverse interfaces between US research universities and the private sector have been widely documented (Link 1999; Mowery 1999). Patenting by US universities increased nearly sevenfold over the 1976–98 period (Owen-Smith 2000) and licensing revenues from the sale of intellectual property have grown briskly as well. The sciencebased start-up firm has been the...

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