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R&D Programs as instruments for Governmental R&D Funding Policy

Reale Emanuela; Guldbrandsen Magnus; Scherngell Thomas

Major developments in governmental research and development (R&D) funding are associated with the emergence of programs as funding instruments. Programs include an explicit mission for R&D, scientific priorities including type of research to be undertaken, procedures for attaining funding, and a budget that also contains regulations for monitoring and evaluation.  A better understanding of programs implies understanding how R&D government policies are put into actions by research funding organizations and how funding programs are designed and implemented to address problems of social relevance nominated at policy levels. 

The aim of this chapter is to give a broad overview of the main theoretical advancements dealing with programs as instruments of governmental R&D policy. It seeks to explore two questions: what is the role of programs in government funding of R&D? How can we understand programs theoretically and design frameworks to empirically study them? A first contribution is to illustrate the diversity and the complex nature of research programs, as well as the strategies and objectives they reveal, the actors implementing the programs and the modes of implementation. A second contribution of the chapter is to develop new conceptual framings based on this theoretical review, also indicating relevant methods for doing empirical studies. Examples of recent and currently developing empirical data and infrastructures to investigate the diversity of funding programs using new concepts and empirical insights are discussed.

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