From Social Institution to Knowledge Business
Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén
Chapter 4: Large-scale International Facilities within the Organization: MAX Lab within Lund University
Olof Hallonsten and Mats Benner 1. INTRODUCTION: LARGE-SCALE RESEARCH FACILITIES AND SWEDISH RESEARCH POLICY Small states face a policy dilemma in research: how should a country that produces 1 per cent of the total scientiﬁc output in the world, organize its research activities? Should it try to spread its resources evenly over the whole spectrum of research, to maximize its capacity to absorb results produced elsewhere? Or should it, instead, specialize in certain niches, to increase its international visibility, even at the price of ‘ignorance’ in many important areas? Should it try to develop its own infrastructure for expensive research ﬁelds, or should it instead maximize its participation in international research facilities? The answer to all these questions is in many cases to try to pursue all of these strategies at the same time. There is no clear-cut small-scale/largescale divide in research policy. Even smaller countries attempt to have a presence in highly competitive ﬁelds, and do make important contributions in them (although much of their research is repetitive and follows rather than leads the ‘research frontier’). Similarly, many small countries rely on international research facilities in large-scale and cost-intensive ﬁelds, but also maintain national facilities in these areas. How, then, has Sweden managed the small states dilemma in research policy? This broad issue will be analysed by a focus on the evolution of a national research facility, MAX-lab. The Swedish research policy system is pluralistic. The institutional setup in research policy is rather widely dispersed, that is many...
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