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Mission-oriented biomedical research at the NIH

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  • Sampat, Bhaven N.

Abstract

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) is the largest single funder of biomedical research in the world. This paper documents tensions between the agency's health and science missions and considers how, in light of these, it has managed to sustain a level of bipartisan political support uncommon in U.S. health or research policy. It highlights the serendipity hypothesis, the presence of “safety valve” mechanisms that allow it to (on occasion) target research at particular diseases and priorities, and a broad and diverse set of constituencies as important to understanding the agency's political success. Through an in-depth look at the NIH allocation process, the paper also provides insights into how demand-side considerations can affect the direction of scientific research.

Suggested Citation

  • Sampat, Bhaven N., 2012. "Mission-oriented biomedical research at the NIH," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1729-1741.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:10:p:1729-1741
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.05.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 527-554, September.
    2. Bhattacharya, Jay & Packalen, Mikko, 2011. "Opportunities and benefits as determinants of the direction of scientific research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 603-615, July.
    3. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara & Seth Richards-Shubik, 2012. "Induced Innovation and Social Inequality: Evidence from Infant Medical Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 456-492.
    4. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2001. "The Allocation of Publicly Funded Biomedical Research," NBER Chapters,in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 565-590 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mowery, David C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Martin, Ben R., 2010. "Technology policy and global warming: Why new policy models are needed (or why putting new wine in old bottles won't work)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1011-1023, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:scient:v:115:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2728-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mariana Mazzucato, 2015. "From Market Fixing to Market-Creating: A New Framework for Economic Policy," SPRU Working Paper Series 2015-25, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    3. Ohid Yaqub, 2016. "Serendipity: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," SPRU Working Paper Series 2016-17, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    4. Mariana Mazzucato & Douglas K Robinson, 2016. "Lost in space? NASA and the changing publicprivate eco-system in space," SPRU Working Paper Series 2016-20, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    5. Diaz Anadon, Laura & Bosetti, Valentina & Chan, Gabriel & Nemet, Gregory & Verdolini, Elena, 2014. "Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis," Working Paper Series rwp14-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. repec:oup:indcch:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:173-187. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alberto Batinti, 2016. "NIH biomedical funding: evidence of executive dominance in swing-voter states during presidential elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 239-263, September.
    8. Deepak Hegde & Bhaven Sampat, 2015. "Can Private Money Buy Public Science? Disease Group Lobbying and Federal Funding for Biomedical Research," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(10), pages 2281-2298, October.
    9. Karo , Erkki & Kattel , Rainer, 2015. "Innovation Bureaucracy: Does the organization of government matter when promoting innovation?," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/38, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

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