In the 1990s, science systems in nearly all OECD countries experienced increasing pressures for change. These pressures reflect new challenges that go beyond the important issue of ensuring sustained funding for the research enterprise, and need to be addressed in the broader perspective of the governance of science systems. This includes the decision-making processes for priority setting, funding, the management of research institutions and the assessment of their performance in terms of contribution to knowledge creation, economic growth and responses to societal needs.
Main challenges are: responding to a more diverse set of stakeholders, exploiting emerging opportunities, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the research enterprise.
OECD governments have initiated a number of steps to address these challenges. They involve changes in governance structures and organisational settings, in priority-setting processes, in the allocation mechanisms for funding public research, and in measures aiming at ensuring an adequate supply of highly qualified human resources. However, the scope and effectiveness of policy responses partly depend on country-specific characteristics of science systems, such as the degree of centralisation in decision-making processes and the autonomy of institutions.
Governance of Public Research: Toward Better Practices addresses these issues, describes the challenges and provides evidence of the reforms that have been developed. Good practices are highlighted and policy lessons are drawn.
Governance of Public Research: Country Case Studies (available for free download).