Title: Science policy and university research: Canada and the USA, 1979-1999

Authors: Janet Atkinson-Grosjean

Addresses: 2-6357 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3X5, Canada

Abstract: The article examines convergence and divergence in national science policy frameworks over the past two decades. A comparative framework contrasts policy development in Canada and the USA, using the commercialisation of university research as a paradigm case. General indicators of Canadian and US R&D activities are compared to those of other G7 nations, and outcomes of university commercialisation activities are compared between the two countries. Historically, each country approached the policy mandate from different directions. The USA adopted a regulatory framework, while Canada took a more laissez-faire approach. An examination of policy content and instruments for the period 1979-1999 indicates that the two models appear equally effective in inducing universities to commercialise. This being the case, the article addresses three key policy questions through an analysis of the interplay of interests, institutions, ideas, and international organisations. First, where did policies promoting the commercialisation of university research originate? Second, why did Canada and the USA adopt different instruments to achieve similar policy goals? Third, after 20 years on a parallel path why is Canada now open to the US model? In terms of the first question, it appears that convergence on a policy of commercialising university research was strongly influenced by the international policy discourse. As to the second question, the paper points to the institutional differences between the two countries as a source of divergence. Regarding the third question, the paper suggests that the potential adoption of the US model is evidence that Canadian ||competitiveness coalitions|| have now caught up with their US counterparts.

Keywords: comparative science policy; academe-industry relations; intellectual property; university commercialisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTPM.2002.001761

International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, 2002 Vol.2 No.2, pp.102-124

Published online: 18 Aug 2003 *

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