Research Policy

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0048-7333
1997 AAU organizational networks, by institutional type. Green: universities; Red: patenting firms; Gray: non-patenting firms 
Policy makers in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) see “autonomous” research universities as increasingly central to “world class” status, technology development and economic innovation. Trustees or regents (US) and external board members (EU) are seen as a marker of university autonomy. Examining university trustees may shed some light on the role of trustees/external board members play in research strategy, innovation and economic development. Given that a number of trustees of US research universities sit on the boards of directors of large corporations with research interests, we hypothesized that trustees may be an important channel connecting universities to innovation and economic development. To date, university trustees have not been studied as a channel between academe and industry that enables scientific discovery, technology development and economic innovation.
A system with a self-similar property is scale-independent and statistically exhibits that property at all levels of observation. In addition, a power law describes the distribution of a scale-independent property. Many investigators have observed social activities and structures, particularly in the science system, that are best described by a power-law distribution. However, unlike classical physical power laws that are used in the design of complex technical systems, social power laws are not used to develop social policy. Using the science system as a model social system and peer-reviewed publications and citations to these papers as the data source we will demonstrate the existence of two power law distributions that are then used to predict the existence of two additional power laws. In fact, it will be shown that in four UK sectoral, six OECD national, a regional and the world science systems the Matthew effect can be described by a power-law relationship between publishing size (papers) and recognition (citations). The exponent of this power law is 1.27±0.03, it is constant over time and relatively independent of system size and nationality. The policy implications of these robust self-similar social properties as well as the need to develop scale-independent policy are discussed.
The development of new and advanced technologies, especially those with significant potential social effects, needs to be assessed as part of an on-going process. This paper proposes an evaluation agenda for technology R&D over the next decade with special emphasis on four issues: appropriate technology R&D standards and criteria; the institutional context; comparisons to alternative options; and the social effects.
Specialists of different domains have to collaborate whenever technically demanding product innovations are developed. Their respective knowledge contributions need to be integrated into a functioning whole. Two approaches provide insight into how this is achieved: the dominating cross-learning approach assumes that the specialists of different knowledge domains have to intensively learn from each other in order to be able to jointly develop the new product. This cross-learning implies that groups of specialists transfer their specific knowledge, which encompasses different concepts (theories), methods and world views, among each other. However, some researchers argue that intensive cross-learning between specialists is a considerable expense in time and effort and, therefore, inefficient. They insist that integration of specialists' knowledge is achieved through structural mechanisms that significantly reduce the need for cross-learning. This article is based on one of the latter approaches. We argue that the mechanisms of transactive memory, modularization and prototyping in combination can considerably reduce knowledge transfers. This assumption has found empirical support for incremental innovations. On the basis of a comparison between incremental and radical innovation projects in an electrotechnical company, we analyze whether the assumption that, on the basis of structural mechanisms, specialists can integrate their knowledge without having to intensively learn from each other, also holds for radical innovations.
China has become the fifth leading nation in terms of its share of the world's scientific publications. The citation rate of papers with a Chinese address for the corresponding author also exhibits exponential growth. More specifically, China has become a major player in critical technologies like nanotechnology. Although it is difficult to delineate nanoscience and nanotechnology, we show that China has recently achieved a position second only to that of the USA. Funding for R&D has been growing exponentially, but since 1997 even more in terms of business expenditure than in terms of government expenditure. It seems that the Chinese government has effectively used the public-sector research potential to boost the knowledge-based economy of the country. Thus, China may be achieving the (“Lisbon”) objectives of the transition to a knowledge-based economy more broadly and rapidly than its western counterparts. Because of the sustained increase in Chinese government funding and the virtually unlimited reservoir of highly skilled human resources, one may expect a continuation of this growth pattern in the near future.
Top-cited authors
Frank W. Geels
  • The University of Manchester
Henry Etzkowitz
  • Stanford University
Loet Leydesdorff
  • University of Amsterdam
David J. Teece
  • University of California, Berkeley
Ammon J Salter
  • University of Bath