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IST- MeGT Science, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy. The Economic Benefits of Publicly Funded Basic Research A critical review Ammon J. Salter & Ben R. Martin Students: Isabel Matalonga Paulo Cameira. IST- MeGT Science, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy.

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IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

The Economic Benefits of Publicly Funded

Basic Research

A critical review

Ammon J. Salter & Ben R. Martin

Students:

Isabel Matalonga

Paulo Cameira


IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

Main questions this article puts on

The specific nature of basic research and the need of being publicly funded

Difficulties to measure the relationship between publicly funded basic research and economic benefit and productivity

How important is the public funding of basic research as a way to sustain technological development

This critical review identifies six types of contributions that publicly funded research makes to economic growth


IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

  • Conceptual approach

  • Basic Research is considered as «curiosity-oriented» research.

    Literature uses other terms such as :

  • «Strategic research».

  • «Academic research».


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    Definitions and Scope

    Basic Research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

    (Frascati Manual)


    IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Definitions and Scope

  • The study focuses on the economic benefits from basic research rather than the social, environmental or cultural benefits.

  • There is a fuzzy boundary between the economic and non-economic benefits.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    Main methodological approaches adopted

    Econometric studies

    Surveys

    Case Studies


    IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • The main types of benefit from publicly funded basic research

  • Increasing the stock of useful knowledge.

  • Training skilled graduates.

  • Creating new scientific instrumentation and methodologies.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • The main types of benefit from publicly funded basic research (cont.)

  • Forming networks and stimulating social interaction.

  • Increasing the capacity for scientific and tecnological problem-solving

  • Creating new firms.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy


    IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy


    IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy


    IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • As regards the specific case of basic research, one can try to estimate the rate of return, but only on the basis of very questionable assumptions.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • Traditional justification for the public funding of basic research is based on the argument that science is a public good.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • The tacit knowledge and skills generated by basic research are especially important in newly emerging and fast-moving areas of science and technology.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • A fourth type of benefit stems from the fact that participation in basic research is essential if one is to obtain acess to national and international networks of experts and information.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • Fifthly, basic research may be especially good at developing the ability to tackle and and solve complex problems.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions

  • Lastly, basic research may lead to the creation of “spin-off” companies, where academics transfer their skills, tacit knowledge, problem-solving abilities and so on, directly into a commercial environment.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions : policy implications

  • Basic research is crucial for the strategic position of industrialised nations in the world economy.

  • Is difficult to arrive at simple policy prescriptions.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions : policy implications

  • One reason relates to the interactions between basic research and innovation, and in the relative importance of different forms of economic benefit with scientific field, technology and industrial sector.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions : policy implications

  • Secondly, there is the dependance of new products and processes on a range of technologies, and the dependance of new technologies on a large number of scientific fields.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions : policy implications

  • A third reason concerns the importance of “spillovers”, including both geographical effects and the interactions between one form of activity and another.


  • IST- MeGTScience, Tecchnology and Innovation Policy

    • Conclusions : policy implications

      In s h o r t :

  • There is a great heterogeneity in the relationship between research and innovation.

  • No simple model of the nature of the economic benefits from basic research is possible.

  • There can be no simple unified policy for basic research.


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