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New directions in research and technology policy: Identifying the key issues


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This paper outlines a conceptual framework and some empirical objectives for analytical work on research and innovation policy. It sketches some major changes which have occurred in our understanding of the links between science, innovation and technological change over the past twenty years, considers their policy implications, and then suggests some core priorities for research in such fields as research policy studies, growth economics, the economics of technological change, innovation and firm studies, etc. The basic problem is to explore the policy implications of the move to a knowledge-based economy. This has a number of dimensions, which at a minimum include basic science policy, technology policies aimed at invention and innovation, diffusion policies, and all policies related to the adoption of new technologies technology policy aspects of industrial and regional policies human capital, human resources and mobility, including all aspects of education and training This paper concerns only parts of these issues; it focuses on the conceptual basis, structure and content of a research programme directed towards industrial innovation and diffusion policy, at national and regional levels. Over the past two decades, social scientists in a range of fields have in effect carried out a major programme of research on science, technology and innovation. If there is any unity in this research, it is simply the view that these activities are social and economic processes, not simply technical processes of discovery and invention. The argument here is that this research has reached the stage where it is both necessary and possible to rethink the rationale, objectives and instruments of policies in the general areas of science, technology, innovation and industrial change. At the same time, this background research work opens up new areas of policy-relevant questions. This paper therefore overviews some of the main themes in modern research in innovation and technological change, focusing on their implications for policy. How does recent research change our conceptions of the appropriate objectives and methods of science and technology policy? Against this background, what are the main unresolved problems facing policy-makers over the next ten years? What kinds of conclusions can we draw regarding research priorities and objectives for policy researchers in the years ahead? After discussing these issues, the next section explores how these problems can be investigated.

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Paper provided by The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy in its series STEP Report series with number 199401.

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Handle: RePEc:stp:stepre:1994r01

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Cited by:
  1. Per M. Koch & Johan Hauknes, . "Learning two coins one-side-trick Interaction of social science and policy – On the importance of policy learning," STEP Report series 200319, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  2. Anna J. Wieczorek & Marko P. Hekkert & Ruud E.H.M. Smits, 2009. "Contemporary Innovation Policy and Instruments: Challenges and Implications," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 09-12, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Jul 2009.
  3. Johan Hauknes & Per M. Koch, . "Two sides – one coin?," STEP Report series 200318, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  4. Bjørn Asheim, . "Industrial Districts as 'learning regions'. A condition for prosperity," STEP Report series 199503, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  5. Arne Isaksen, . "Regionalisation and regional clusters as development strategies in a global economy," STEP Report series 199801, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  6. Arne Isaksen, . "Location and innovation. Geographical variations in innovative activity in Norwegian manufacturing industry," STEP Report series 199603, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  7. Arne Isaksen & Bjørn T. Asheim, . "Location, agglomeration and innovation: Towards regional innovation systems in Norway?," STEP Report series 199613, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  8. Flanagan, Kieron & Uyarra, Elvira & Laranja, Manuel, 2010. "The ‘policy mix’ for innovation: rethinking innovation policy in a multi-level, multi-actor context," MPRA Paper 23567, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Flanagan, Kieron & Uyarra, Elvira & Laranja, Manuel, 2011. "Reconceptualising the 'policy mix' for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 702-713, June.
  10. Heidrun C. Hoppe & Wilhelm Pfähler, 2001. "Oekonomie der Grundlagenforschung und Wissenschaftspolitik," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(2), pages 125-144, 05.
  11. Isaksen, Arne, 1999. "Evaluation of a regional innovation programme: the Innovation and New Technology Programme in Northern Norway," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 83-90.
  12. Benner, Maximilian, 2009. "What do we know about clusters? In search of effective cluster policies," MPRA Paper 43848, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2009.
  13. Arne Isaksen, . "Regional Clusters and Competitiveness: the Norwegian Case," STEP Report series 199616, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  14. Espen Dietrichs, . "Adopting a 'high-tech' policy in a 'low-tech' industry. The case of aquaculture," STEP Report series 199502, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  15. Marianne Broch & Per M. Koch & Siri Aanstad, . "Nye virkemidler for innovasjon – hva gjøres i andre land?," STEP Report series 200209, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.


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