chapter  6
16 Pages

Governmental Organization and Implications for Science and Technology Policy

The capacities of a society to create, diffuse, and absorb science and technology (S&T) play an important role in determining whether that society can meet the basic expectations and enhance the standard of living of its members. As recognition of this fact has grown over the past two centuries, and especially over the past fifty years, nation-states have evolved policies to develop and nourish these capacities. The 'geology' of S&T policy since World War II includes 'strata' for military security, improvement of public health, environmental protection, energy independence, and economic prosperity as well as an overlay of concern about education and the advance of culture. Government funding for research and development (R&D) in the O E C D countries, which was estimated to be approximately $150 billion in 1998 ( O E C D , 1999), is the most visible outcropping of national interests in S&T. Trade, economic and social regulation, public procurement, and a host of other policies are among the buried influences on the performance of firms, universities, government laboratories, and other institutions that comprise a society's scientific and technological capacities.