Strategic policies for capabilities acquisition and development: A taxonomy of policy models in terms of S&T priorities setting
Godinho, Manuel Mira
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The publication of “Science the Endless Frontier” in July 1945 signaled the deep change occurred in the relationships between science, technology and society as a result of the war effort. In fact, the promise of modern science that through the knowledge of the laws of nature we could transform the world was finally being fulfilled through the development of science-based technologies. The main points of “Science the Endless Frontier” were that science was the new future of the US, the “new (and endless) frontier”, that it was necessary to organize the application of new scientific knowledge to technology and that the strengthening of the scientific basis was a legitimate concern of government. But it took more than a decade (the launching of Sputnik by the USSR in 1957) to make the American public and society aware of the need to advance in new scientific fields leading to promising technologies. On May 25, 1961, J. F. Kennedy announced to the US congress his plan of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth before 1970. As it is well known, the efforts associated with this objective had a strong impact on the S&T performance of the US economy in the coming years. Now, more than 4 decades later, the US still keeps a strong flow of public resources to basic and applied R&D, namely in relation to the health, energy, defense and food sectors, through a complex system of federal agencies, public labs and research universities. It is widely recognized that these US arrangements have generated important spillovers harnessing the development of microelectronics, IT, biotech, the internet and other civilian and military technologies.