R&D Collaboration in a Post-linear Context: The Role of Publicly Funded Research in the Private Sector

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In this paper, I explore how industrial managers view the value of publicly funded research. In current policy discourse, the value of publicly funded research for the private sector, and society more broadly, is characteristically explained in economic terms. For example, we often hear that the main role of publicly funded research is to spark increased innovation in the private sector and to stimulate growth and job creation in society. But what do industrial managers themselves think about publicly funded research? How do they explain its value to their business development? Do they simply think that the merit of publicly funded research is to provide a direct measurable input to industry? Or do they consider that there is more to this role than policy seems to assume? Based on 53 qualitative interviews with industrial managers across six companies, this paper explores how industrial managers account for the value of publicly funded research. I find that industrial managers do not merely explain the benefit of publicly funded research as a direct input to their economic development but also think that publicly funded research has an important role in bringing “something different” than business and providing “future capacity”. Consequently, we see a potential for rethinking policy by reflecting upon these wider industrial perspectives on the role of publicly funded research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAnnual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S): STS (In)Sensibilities - Boston, United States
Duration: 30 Aug 20172 Sept 2017


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Academic-industry relations
  • Research value
  • Industrial perspectives
  • The private sector
  • Publicly funded research

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