Research as a source of strategic opportunity? Re-thinking research policy developments in the late 20th century
Sammanfattning: One of the problems challenging the knowledge society is to understand the chang-ing prerequisites for publicly governed knowledge production. Several attempts have been made amongst which perhaps the most debated is the concept of changing mo-des of knowledge production proposed by Gibbons et al. The aim of this thesis is to empirically explore whether this concept can be used to identify and explain research policy developments during the period 1980–2000. A two-layered comparative study was undertaken, in which Swedish research poli-cy developments were studied in depth. The main result from the in-depth study was that there is insufficient evidence to fully support Gibbons et al.’s claims. In analysing this result from a comparative perspective the main conclusion was that neither the changing modes of knowledge production nor the two-track concept that was deri-ved from the in-depth study could explain the developments in research policy. The research policy developments in Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Finland were re-examined from an institutional perspective, in which the major ide-as that had influenced the policy process during the period 1980–2000 were used to identify and explain developments in these countries. The main conclusion of this thesis is that all the countries studied are using the public research system as a source of strategic opportunity. However, the analysis also shows that both embedded ideas of how public knowledge should be produced, and the nature of the policy process contribute to explaining the different strategies employed the governments of these countries to make publicly funded research a tool for economic and societal development.
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