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