Efficiency in Public Research Centers: Evaluating the Spanish Food Technology Program
We rely on efficiency analysis to evaluate the Spanish R&D public policy based on financial incentives, and investigate to what extent this instrument has been able to promote a multidimensional research output mix, contributing to the articulation of a successful Spanish Food Innovation System. Introducing the use of the generalized distance function within DEA techniques, we assess whether this policy has encouraged the creation, strengthening and promotion of efficient public research units, whose activities present a balanced and comprehensive production of complementary research outputs −personnel training, science and technology results, and socio-economic collaboration with the private sector. Characterizing the alternative ways in which the different research units have been participating in the Spanish Food Technology Program, and hence their role within the innovation system, we conclude that R&D policy efforts have not succeeded in orienting research units toward a balanced output research mix due to wrong incentives and the lack of a sustained budget that would enable the consolidation of emerging research units. Furthermore, we observe that the majority of research units channel their efforts toward achieving science-technology results related to publications and submitted patents, instead of increasing socio-economic results that would strengthen the articulation and efficiency of the innovation system.
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