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.

Introduction

Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy

Extract

The four major chapters and the two commentaries in this last part review the conceptual core issues and provide original insights into the rationale for funding of basic research seen as a public or quasi-public good. One of the characteristics of current approaches to public funding of research is the increased use of network funding. Both at the national and at the EU level, funds have been increasingly allocated to (a) collaborative research (research projects where individuals from different institutions are involved forming a network); and (b) networks of researchers to support knowledge exchange rather than research into the production of new knowledge. Several empirical studies have described these new funding/research structures, but little theoretical work to assess their impact and validity has been done. The first two chapters in this part (by Paul David and Louise Keely and Robin Cowan and Nicolas Jonard, Chapters 8 and 9) attempt to redress this. Both focus on networks though David and Keely’s work concentrates on the collaborative research configuration while Cowan and Jonard’s chapter focuses on the second configuration, that is, networking as a mechanism for knowledge exchange outside the local environment. The other two chapters (by Peter Swann and Dominique Foray, Chapters 10 and 11) also focus on the fact that knowledge is characterized by strong complementarities in its production and use. However, they concentrate on another aspect of this characteristic: they analyse the possibility of collective production and use of scientific and technological knowledge. Specifically,...