Two major issues have dominated the science policy discourse in Germany in recent years: innovation and excellence. The chapter focuses on the Excellence Initiative, which was first launched in 2005 and has so far received more than EUR 5 billion in funding. Although the primary focus of the initiative was not on innovation, it was assumed from the outset that the funding programme could also significantly increase the innovative capacity of science. We therefore investigate the actual role played by innovation, that is, what goals and tasks universities use to focus their activities. This also raises the question of to what extent was the envisaged thematic and institutional diversity actually achieved. The chapter shows that the reform project to allow more sectoral permeability and to promote more flexibility and an expanded culture of recognition in order to strengthen the innovative capacity of the German science system is still in its infancy.
Edited by Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler
Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler
This Handbook on Science and Public Policy will capture a landscape in flux: the relation between science and society has been changing in the last decades, and it has become a hot topic in the science system and in science policy studies. Even though historically the topic is not new, it seems that the roles of science and innovation are being debated more explicitly: the demand for science-based innovation is growing while the legitimation of scientific research is being questioned. Scientific knowledge is hailed as a significant societal and economic resource in global competition. Innovations emerging from science are considered to be the key to market success and prosperity. At the same time, scientific knowledge and research-based innovation are supposed to address so-called grand societal challenges and help achieve ‘sustainable development goals’ (United Nations 2015). Yet, there is also pressure to legitimise the increasing amounts of public funding for research worldwide. And the questions ‘how does society benefit from science?’ and ‘which research is “relevant” and “useful”?’ are raised emphatically. The changing relationship between science and society significantly challenges science policy: research is expected to foster and support innovation not only via new technologies but also in a way which is socially acceptable and sustainable. Moreover, it is expected to develop new instruments, methods and practices for its own accountability and legitimation that are accepted by the scientific community. This is where this Handbook comes in. It focuses on how science policy has changed over the last decades and raises several overarching questions: What are the consequences of changing science policies for science and the science systems nationally and internationally? How far do they go? Do they tackle the fundamental principles of science, its norms, standards and reputation systems? And what does this mean for modern science (and technology)? The chapters of the Handbook provide different answers from a broad range of theoretical and conceptual perspectives.