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Shaping Science and Technology Policy

The Next Generation of Research

Edited by David H. Guston and Daniel Sarewitz

Publication Year: 2006

With scientific progress occurring at a breathtaking pace, science and technology policy has never been more important than it is today. Yet there is a very real lack of public discourse about policy-making, and government involvement in science remains shrouded in both mystery and misunderstanding.  Who is making choices about technology policy, and who stands to win or lose from these choices?  What criteria are being used to make decisions and why?  Does government involvement help or hinder scientific research?  

Shaping Science and Technology Policy brings together an exciting and diverse group of emerging scholars, both practitioners and academic experts, to investigate current issues in science and technology policy.  Essays explore such topics as globalization, the shifting boundary between public and private, informed consent in human participation in scientific research, intellectual property and university science, and the distribution of the costs and benefits of research. 

Contributors: Charlotte Augst, Grant Black, Mark Brown, Kevin Elliott, Patrick Feng, Pamela M. Franklin, Carolyn Gideon, Tené N. Hamilton, Brian A. Jackson, Shobita Parthasarathy, Jason W. Patton, A. Abigail Payne, Bhaven Sampat, Christian Sandvig, Sheryl Winston Smith, Michael Whong-Barr

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The best view of the future is through the eyes of younger scholars who are not yet committed to the view that the future is an evolutionary extension of the past. The work of these authors, selected competitively from a large number of candidates, addresses a variety of new issues from...

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pp. ix-x

The debt owed to individuals and organizations for the production of any book is substantial. The debt accumulated for this volume may be a little more so, as it is the product of a great many talented hands and minds participating over a number of years in the “Next Gen” project...

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pp. 3-5

In the 1960s and early 1970s, a survey of the science and technology policy landscape in the United States would have revealed not only an arena of energetic discussion and institutional innovation but also justifiable hopes for a future where theoreticians, empiricists, policy...

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pp. 7-97

Science and technology policy helps to initiate and shape knowledge-based innovation. But the perception endures that the research produces the innovation, and the policy is secondary or even beside the point of technical success...

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1. Ethics, Politics, and the Public: Shaping the Research Agenda

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pp. 10-32

Despite the enormous sums of public money spent on scientific research in the United States—total federal research and development funding of $127 billion in FY 2004 (AAAS 2004)—there is not enough to fund every worthy project. Establishing an agenda for public research is thus...

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2. Federal R&D: Shaping the National Investment Portfolio

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pp. 33-54

Like any organization, the U.S. federal government allocates its resources to fulfill its obligations and fund the programs it pursues. As part of its preparation for the future, it invests a portion of its discretionary resources rather than spending them all on current activities. Unlike...

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3. Universities and Intellectual Property: Shaping a New Patent Policy for Government Funded Academic Research

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pp. 55-76

Over the past quarter-century, patenting and licensing of publicly funded research by American research universities have grown dramatically. This growth has contributed to some of the highest-profile debates in science and technology policy. Witness, for example, controversies...

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4. Geography and Spillover: Shaping Innovation Policy through Small Business Research

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pp. 77-97

California’s Silicon Valley, Massachusetts’ Route 128, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle conjure up images of intensely innovative and productive regions at the forefront of economic activity. With these images in mind, politicians—particularly at the state and local levels...

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pp. 99-193

Science and technology policy does not simply promote science by providing a neutral cultural and institutional medium on which knowledge creation feeds. Instead, policy shapes science in concrete, if subtle, ways by enabling or disabling certain research agendas...

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5. EPA's Drinking Water Standards and the Shaping of Sound Science

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pp. 102-123

Charged with incorporating “sound science” into its policy decisions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been embroiled in intense scientific disputes about the regulation of chemicals to protect public health. These conflicts underscore the dependence of the...

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6. The Case of Chemical Hormesis: How Scientific Anomaly Shapes Environmental Science and Policy

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pp. 124-148

The low-dose biological effects of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are a matter of heated debate. On the one hand, researchers such as Theo Colborn claim that extremely low doses of many chemicals may mimic hormones such as estrogen and be responsible for dramatic declines...

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7. Earmarks and EPSCoR: Shaping the Distribution, Quality, and Quantity of University Research

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pp. 149-172

Since World War II, the U.S. federal government has played an important role in funding university research. Federal funding represents, on average, more than 60 percent of total research funding used by universities. Congress and the federal agencies, through the research programs...

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8. Innovation in the U.S. Computer Equipment Industry: How Foreign R&D and International Trade Shape Domestic Innovation

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pp. 173-193

As the sources of innovation become increasingly far-flung and diverse, understanding the relationship between globalization and innovation is critical. The literature finds a connection between foreign research and development (R&D) and domestic innovation, suggesting that R&D in...

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pp. 195-272

Science and technology policy encompasses a variety of different policy instruments and domains of action. The social shaping of technology occurs not just directly through the commitment of funds and other material and human resources, but also through...

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9. Shaping Technical Standards: Where Are the Users?

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pp. 199-216

On March 21, 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was throwing its weight behind a new standard intended to address consumer concerns about online privacy (Simpson 2001). Dubbed the “Platform for Privacy Preferences Project...

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10. Technical Change for Social Ends: Shaping Transportation Infrastructures in U.S. Cities

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pp. 217-233

Faith in technical innovation is often coupled with hopes for social progress (Marx 1987; Pfaffenberger 1992; Smith and Marx 1994; Sarewitz 1996). New technologies are commonly expected to improve social circumstances while, in some instances, technical development is the...

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11. Shaping Infrastructure and Innovation on the Internet: The End-to-End Network That Isn't

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pp. 234-255

This chapter approaches the question of how we should best reason about the design of communication infrastructures by examining a particular debate about the Internet. Specifically at issue are the benefits of the Internet for innovation. Some argue that the Internet’s gift is...

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12. Technology Policy by Default: Shaping Communications Technology through Regulatory Policy

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pp. 256-272

The relationship between regulatory policy and technology is difficult to trace, especially when much of the policy that influences technology has a different purpose. For example, policies designed to influence industry structure will often create incentives that influence investment in...

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pp. 273-357

Science and technology policy has, like many areas of study and action, had to shift its foci to keep pace with the changing scientific and political arenas that it engages. This section acknowledges that contemporary advances in the life sciences...

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13. Engaging Diverse Communities in Shaping Genetics Policy: Who Gets to Shape the New Biotechnology?

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pp. 276-290

The Human Genome Project brings promise of new gene therapies and possible cures for many medical conditions. But this technology includes the risk of employer or insurance discrimination based on personal genetic information; the fear of unethical research practices; and...

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14. Informed Consent and the Shaping of British and U.S. Population-Based Genetic Research

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pp. 291-311

The much heralded genetic revolution promises a new era of predictive medicine and better treatment. Researchers are increasingly looking for gene-disease associations in order to translate advances in genetic technology into reliable information with clinical, etiological, and...

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15. Embryos, Legislation, and Modernization: Shaping Life in the UK and German Parliaments

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pp. 312-332

This chapter investigates the legislative shaping of new reproductive technologies. It focuses on the debates about embryo research, in vitro fertilization, gamete donation, and eugenics between 1988 and 1990 in the British and German parliaments. Both sets of parliamentary...

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16. Reconceptualizing Technology Transfer: The Challenge of Shaping an International System of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

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pp. 333-357

One of the most compelling signs of globalization is the transnational flow of technology. The world seems to be shrinking, with innovators moving computers, cell phones, medical devices, and drugs across national borders and establishing linkages across countries. But how...

About the Editors

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pp. 359

About the Contributors

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pp. 361-363


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pp. 365-370

E-ISBN-13: 9780299219130
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299219147

Publication Year: 2006