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Magnus Gulbrandsen and Taran Thune

This chapter discusses hybridity and hybrid organisations within research and innovation. Although this might represent a context in which hybrid organisations are prevalent, there have been few investigations and cases from research organisations, scientific work and science policy in the broader literature on hybrid organisations (Rainey and Bozeman, 2000; Gulbrandsen et al., 2015). Hybridity is not, however, a new concept in the literature on research organisations. It has been used to understand complex, contested and often temporary organisational set-ups that have often aimed to bring public research and development (R & D) closer to the needs and demands of industry and society. The emergence of new organisational structures that straddle established boundaries is partly related to internal developments within the scientific enterprise itself, where intellectual and organisational boundaries may be crossed in the pursuit and application of new knowledge (Gieryn, 1983). We can draw a distinction between two broad kinds of research organisation: universities and research institutes. We use the term ‘universities’ for higher education institutions – including specialised and regional colleges – that conduct research and teaching. Research institutes are organisations that have research and development as a main activity, whose funding is most often predominantly public, and which are not part of the higher education system. Formally, universities and institutes may be private (mostly nonprofit) or public but universities and research institutes have often defined themselves as part of a separate sector – the research and higher education sector, or academia – distinct from industry and also quite different in some respects from the public sector.