199.1 Innovation in public research organizations:

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 9:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Laura CRUZ-CASTRO , Science Dynamics and Innovation, CSIC Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP), Madrid, Spain
Pablo KREIMER , CONICET-Centro de Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad -Universidad Maimonides, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Luis SANZ-MENENDEZ , Science Dynamics and Innovation, CSIC Institute of Public Goods and Policies, Madrid, Spain
The aim of this paper is to analyse the dynamics of science innovation in Public Research Organisations. Our research question relates to whether and how formal institutional structural factors (governing models, recruitment and promotion systems) and dynamic factors (funding and scientific integration) affect the capability of public research institutes to innovate. By “innovation capability” we understand the capacity to start new working lines, to reorient the existing ones, or to begin new lines that overcome the traditional disciplinary frames.

We empirically test the influence over the institutes’ innovation capacity of two different PRO models: the Spanish CSIC and the Argentinean CONICET. The aim is to analyse if different formal governance structures correspond to different levels and processes of scientific innovation in public research centres, and the possible mediating effect of funding mechanisms and scientific integration dynamics. The data comes from two sources: in-depth qualitative interviews with policy makers and institutes’ directors and a structured questionnaire to Institutes’ directors, covering two fields [physics and biology and biomedicine in the two countries (N= 81)].

 We find that differences in macro variables shape two very different types of research centers and that this seems to have a correlate in the aggregate level of integration within the institutes: 75% of CSIC institutes work around an integrated program whereas the proportion for CONICET is 25%. Structural differences are not associated to differentials in the aggregate levels of innovativeness of the institutes. Multidisciplinary innovation in new issues and methods is the dominant mode of innovation in both institutions. It seems that scientific innovation is generated mostly bottom-up, based on the cumulative capacities of research groups both in terms of researchers, experience and seems to depend more on the gathering of multidisciplinary perspectives than on the levels of scientific integration.