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The Endless Frontier: Reaping What Bush Sowed?

In: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy

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  • Paula Stephan

Abstract

I examine and document how the Endless Frontier changed the research landscape at universities and how universities responded to the initiative. I show that the agencies it established and funded initially recruited research proposals from faculty and applications from students for fellowships and scholarships. By the 1960s the tables had begun to turn and universities had begun to push for more resources from the federal government for research, support for faculty salary and research assistants and higher indirect costs. The process transformed the relationship between universities and federal funders; it also transformed the relationship between universities and faculty. The university research system that has grown and evolved faces a number of challenges that threaten the health of universities and the research enterprise and have implications for discovery and innovation. Five are discussed in the closing section. They are (1) a proclivity on the part of faculty and funding agencies to be risk averse; (2) the tendency to produce more PhDs than the market for research positions demands; (3) a heavy concentration of research in the biomedical sciences; (4) a continued expansion on the part of universities that may place universities at increased financial risk and (5) a flat or declining amount of federal funds for research.
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Suggested Citation

  • Paula Stephan, 2014. "The Endless Frontier: Reaping What Bush Sowed?," NBER Chapters,in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, pages 321-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13034
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grant C. Black & Paula E. Stephan, 2010. "The Economics of University Science and the Role of Foreign Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars," NBER Chapters,in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 129-161 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    3. Zhang, Liang & Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Faculty employment and R&D expenditures at Research universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 329-337, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Jian, 2016. "Knowledge creation in collaboration networks: Effects of tie configuration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 68-80.
    2. Geuna, Aldo & Piolatto, Matteo, 2016. "Research assessment in the UK and Italy: Costly and difficult, but probably worth it (at least for a while)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 260-271.
    3. Ajay Agrawal & John McHale & Alexander Oettl, 2014. "Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science: Evidence from Evolutionary Biology," NBER Chapters,in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, pages 75-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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