Journal Article

Determining an efficient structure for the US R&D enterprise: the onion model

Steven D Beggs

in Science and Public Policy

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 101-112
Published in print April 1997 | ISSN: 0302-3427
Published online April 1997 | e-ISSN: 1471-5430 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/spp/24.2.101
Determining an efficient structure for the US R&D enterprise: the onion model

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How should federal sponsors of R&D in the United States select among major performing sectors, including universities, industry, national laboratories, and federal government laboratories? A sequential strategy for assigning roles and missions to the performing sectors is proposed, whereby primary assignments help to explain secondary assignments, and both help to explain further assignments. The highly decentralized choice of R&D performers in the United States is beneficial on balance, though vigilance against extraneous bureaucratic and political interference is necessary. These perspectives are contrasted with arguments behind two recommendations of a committee recently organized by the US National Academy of Sciences.

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Subjects: History of Science and Technology ; Innovation ; Technological Change; Research and Development ; Public Policy

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