Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure, and the Public-Private Portfolio

Joshua S. Gans and Fiona Murray

in The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226473031
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226473062 | DOI:
Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure, and the Public-Private Portfolio

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This chapter takes a conceptual look at the issues associated with funding academic research. It begins with a paradox: when agencies funding scientific research emphasize basic research over translational projects, they are criticized for their impracticality, but when they emphasize near-term mission-oriented R&D projects, they are criticized for crowding out what industry would have done otherwise and backing redundant efforts. A model in which the supply of and demand for public funds plays out in a world where private funding sources also exist is presented. The choices regarding funding sources—and the impact of publicly imposed requirements around disclosure—will vary not only with the scientific merit of the research proposal, but also with the immediacy of its applicability to commercial uses. The chapter gives a fresh insight into the subtle ways that public and private funding interact, and the role that government policy (e.g., mandating openness) plays in shaping the production and use of knowledge.

Keywords: scientific research; private funding; research proposal; public–private portfolio; funding

Chapter.  21917 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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