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.


Paula E. Stephan and W. Edward Steinmueller

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


PAULA E. STEPHAN Both the Llerena, Matt and Schaeffer chapter (Chapter 5) and the Riccaboni, Powell, Pammolli and Owen-Smith chapter (Chapter 6) relate to the issue of why technology transfer from the public sector (PRO) appears to have been more successful in the United States than in Europe. Here I comment very briefly on each chapter and then make more general comments relating to why the US system, particularly in the biomedical sciences, has been so effective in fostering technology transfer between PROs, especially universities, and biotech start-ups. Chapter 5 discusses the impact of French innovation policies on universities. From a US perspective, a system whereby researchers are allowed to hold an equity position in a firm while being at a PRO should encourage start-ups. So, too, should a policy that permits researchers to leave the academic laboratory for a period of up to six years and then return. Perhaps most important, is a policy that allows researchers to stay in the laboratory and still bring their scientific talents to a firm. These attributes are supported by the US experience in technology transfer in biotechnology, which is characterized by a number of factors. First is the ability of universitybased founders of biotech companies to have their cake and eat it too, maintaining their job in the university while founding the company. Audretsch and Stephan (1999) find, for example, that 35 out of the 50 university founders of the publicly traded biotech firms in their sample still...

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