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Emanuela Reale

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Benedetto Lepori and Emanuela Reale

This chapter develops a framework to analyse Research Funding Organizations (RFOs), broadly defined as organizations distributing public project funding for research, and their functions within science policy by leveraging the political sciences literature on New Public Management and agencification. We discuss the ongoing process of differentiation and repositioning of RFOs linked to transformations in science policy and more generally in public policy through three analytical lenses, namely the relationships with the state (the antinomy between autonomy and control), the distribution of tasks (vertical vs horizontal specialization) and the agencies’ culture and structure (the emergence of organizational forms). We illustrate these processes through examples from six European countries. We conclude that a general repositioning of RFOs as delegated agencies executing state tasks is observed, yet with a significant level of autonomy, and that only two organizational forms of RFOs are widespread, namely research councils and innovation agencies.