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Technological Change and Economic Catch-up

The Role of Science and Multinationals

Edited by Grazia D. Santangelo

This book tackles the issue of technological and economic catch-up by examining the role that public research institutions and local policy play in the promotion of this process by fostering local science–technology linkages with incoming foreign-owned multinationals. Although the book comprises various techno-socio-economic contexts and different methodological perspectives, the authors share the idea that public research, educational and political institutions provide capabilities in basic research and training of highly skilled labour, while private corporations establish networking connections with scientific and professional communities (and therefore access to knowledge and contacts) in other parts of the world.
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Chapter 4: Patenting in Public Research: An Evidence-based Reflection on IPRs and the Basic–Applied Research Trade-off

Mario Calderini and Chiara Franzoni


4. Patenting in public research. An evidence-based reflection on IPRs and the basic–applied research trade-off Mario Calderini and Chiara Franzoni 1. INTRODUCTION In recent years, extensive scientific literature has dealt with technology transfer and with the mechanisms that allow appropriability of social benefits from innovation (Martin and Scott, 2000). Much of this debate has focused on the capability of local innovation systems to provide coordination among the actors of technological change and empowered transfer mechanisms. Related to the above-mentioned debate, policy makers have encouraged publicly funded research institutes to smooth the transfer of results from science to industry by means of joint research agreements, by creating spinoff firms, and by establishing intellectual property rights (IPRs) over results of research. Increasingly, legitimization of public research seems to be linked to the ability of national and local systems of innovation to directly benefit from science and to engage in positive exchanges with industry (Gibbons, 1999; Martin, 2001; Etzkowitz et al., 2000). The above trend has been guided in many countries by both political and regulatory actions, which overall resulted in an increase of technology transfer from public research (Mowery et al., 2002; Thursby and Kemp, 2002). However, this evidence of empowered commercialization of research reopened the debate in sociology and economics of science on the dangers of linking science to the market. On the one hand, it is not clear whether this increase has come at the expense of the economic value and quality of transferred technologies...

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