Title: Why sustain fundamental research?

Authors: Jean-Jacques Salomon

Addresses: Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, 292 rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris, France

Abstract: There is no way to measuring the pay-off of basic research activities and the reasons that lead countries to spend a part of their R&D budget in this field may appear as ideological rather than bearing the stamp of economic common sense. Still, in spite of our time of privatisation, liberalisation, less State intervention, there are good reasons for such public investments. However, in spite of the progress achieved by science indicators, economic thinking and the policy-making experience, nobody knows how much should be devoted specifically to this part of the R&D system. As Benoit Godin has said for the R&D statistics, the pattern of policy-making in the support of basic research is both origin and result of |intuitions more or less justified| – one more proof that it is not because policy-making deals with science that it is more scientific or more rational than in other fields of political decisions. Still, the study of the means to improve the evaluation process of researchers and institutions within Europe deserves urgently to be undertaken.

Keywords: R&D indicators; science policy making; resource allocation; public intervention; Citation Index; research evaluation; Europe; fundamental research; research and development; basic research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2007.015400

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2007 Vol.1 No.2, pp.125 - 135

Available online: 14 Oct 2007 *

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