Reform and Redesign: A Review of the Changing Role of the Public Purposes in R&D and Technology Institutes (Working Paper 17)

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Dufour, Paul R.
Reform , Redesign , Public Research , Industrial Research , Globalization , Technology Institutes
As the globalization of knowledge has taken hold over the past decade, and as governments around the world review their new roles in support of the production of knowledge, several factors have shaped the context in governments’ approach to public research. Arguably, none has been more affected by these pressures for reform than government scientific and technology laboratories or institutes. Often ignored in the re-shaping of national systems of innovation, these organizations play an important role in advancing national economic and social objectives. This paper, by reviewing examples of reforms underway in several countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, USA and Latin America, will argue that government research and technology institutes — often historically surrogates for industrial research — are gradually re-defining their mandates to meet the new pressures of globalization as well as satisfying growing public demands for increased relevance and efficiency in responding to citizens’ and industry needs.
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