The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy

With the 1945 publication of Science: The Endless
Frontier, Vannevar Bush established an
intellectual architecture that helped define a
set of public science institutions that were
dramatically different from what came before yet
largely remain in place today.  Now, at the start
of the 21st century, many aspects of the science
and innovation system ­ from its organization and
scale to the role of geography, networks, and
legal institutions ­ have witnessed important
changes, with potentially substantial
implications for the design of science policy and
institutions both today and in the decades ahead.

With funding from the National Bureau of Economic
Research and the Erwin Marion Kauffman
Foundation, the conference and subsequent volume
will explore two overarching questions: (1) what
are the critical dimensions of change in science
and innovation systems, and (2) what are the
implications of these changes for policies and
institutions in the 21st Century?
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

* The influence of increasing market scale
and globalization on the demand for and supply of innovations;
* Innovation in financing, such as venture
capital, and the role of entrepreneurship in driving innovation;
* Changes in the knowledge production
function, including the human and physical
capital intensity of R&D, changes in the salient
features of the scientific workforce, and the implications of new research
* Shifts in the geography of R&D, including
regional and international dimensions, the
implications of shifting geography for where the
returns to R&D are captured, and analysis of the evolving forces that
shape agglomeration and collaboration tendencies;
* Changes in intellectual property regimes
and their use, with particular reference to its
impact on licensing and alliances;
* Changes in public views of science;
* How information technology and digitization
are impacting the production and diffusion of knowledge;
* The evolving roles of different research
institutions (including government agencies,
universities, and the private sector) in
regional, national or global innovation systems,
including changes in the relative
scale of these types of institutions, the
organizational forms these institutions take, the
incentive mechanisms these institutions provide,
and the ways these institutions interact;
* Unique features of “new” innovative sectors
(e.g., biotech, clean energy, nanotech, and
mobile broadband) and any implications for innovation policy; and
* Interactions among the above.

This list of topics is intentionally broad and
open-ended, and is meant to simply highlight some
of the many possible areas witnessing substantive
changes in the science and innovation process
that may also raise important questions for policy and institutional design.

Interested authors are encouraged to submit a
2-page research proposal that includes an
abstract of the intended paper, an outline of the
methodologies to be used, and a brief statement
about the current state of the research project.
The research proposals are to be submitted by
April 15, 2012 to
Accepted papers will ultimately be published together in an edited volume.

Authors will be notified of acceptance by May 6,
2012.  A pre-conference is scheduled to be held
in Cambridge, MA on October 26 and 27, 2012, and
the formal conference will be scheduled for
summer 2013.  Authors of accepted papers will be
reimbursed for regular transportation expenses
for both the pre-conference and conference, and
receive an honorarium of $7500 for timely
submission of the draft and final manuscripts.

Conference Organizers

Adam Jaffe, Brandeis University and NBER
Ben Jones, Northwestern University and NBER

Leave a Reply