Handbook on Science and Public Policy
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Handbook on Science and Public Policy

Edited by Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler

This Handbook assembles state-of-the-art insights into the co-evolutionary and precarious relations between science and public policy. Beyond this, it also offers a fresh outlook on emerging challenges for science (including technology and innovation) in changing societies, and related policy requirements, as well as the challenges for public policy in view of science-driven economic, societal, and cultural changes. In short, this book deals with science as a policy-triggered project as well as public policy as a science-driven venture.
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Chapter 22: The changing governance of research systems. Agencification and organizational differentiation in research funding organizations

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.

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