Research Centers in transition: meeting new paradigms
Cruz Castro, Laura
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The stagnation in the growth of traditional mission-oriented government research centers in Europe, together with privatization trends and the decreasing weight of government sector expenditures in R&D statistics, might lead to the view that public sector research is shrinking in many European countries. In this paper, we claim that, on the contrary, public sector-driven research in Europe is expanding in size and relevance. To understand this apparent paradox, we argue that it is essential to analyze the dynamics of creation and adaptation of research centers. We illustrate our case with empirical information about three types of research centers: technology centers, joint university centers, and newly-created centers. Both by adaptation strategies to evolving policy models, or by original design, these three organizational types have progressively occupied a middle place in the organizational field of research, with blurred boundaries in terms of public-private ownership, funding sources, and relative output orientation to local markets or to excellence in global science competition. Despite the increasing commonalities in functions, we do not find evidence to support claims of organizational convergence.
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