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  • National Innovation and the Academic Research Enterprise: Public Policy in Global Perspective
  • Eugene P. Trani
National Innovation and the Academic Research Enterprise: Public Policy in Global Perspective, edited by David D. Dill and Frans A. van Vught . The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 578 pp., $70.00 (cloth). ISBN: 978-0801893742.

This book is another in a series of recent works that study the relationship between higher education, research, economic development, and the knowledge economy. It joins such books as D. Perry and W. Wiewel's The University as Urban Developer (M. E. Sharpe, 2005), Wiewel and Perry's Global Universities and Urban Development (M. E. Sharpe, 2008), Benson, Harkavy, and Puckett's Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Temple University Press, 2007), M. Shattock's Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy (Open University Press, 2009), and my own, The Indispensable University: Higher Education, Economic Development, and the Knowledge Economy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, co-authored with R. Holsworth), in dealing with these matters. And all of these works approach this subject from different perspectives and cover different aspects of these issues.

This book covers in great detail the governmental policies, national and regional, concerning science development, university-based research, doctoral training, and knowledge transfer in a number of developed countries in Asia, North America, and Europe. The book correctly reports that the balance within universities and research institutions today clearly favors the natural, applied, and health sciences in every country covered in this survey. And the book evaluates the governmental policies followed in these areas, noting the successes and failures of such policies.

The book's focus is clearly set out at the beginning: "As global forces transform the basis of economic development, policymakers in the mature economies have focused increasingly on promoting innovation and technical change as principal means of sustaining international competitiveness. In the leading developed countries, these national innovation policies have begun to shape and supersede traditional science and technology policies and are now wielding a significant influence on the university sector" (p. ix). The book is indeed a "systematic, comparative analysis of national innovation policies and their impact upon the ARE [Academic Research Enterprise] of the leading developed nations" (p. ix). Certainly, higher education and its related research institutions have undergone dramatic transformation, and "much of the change has been motivated by the increased appreciation of the influential role that human capital now plays in the new global economy" (p. 1). In developed countries, [End Page 504] natural resources are no longer the key factor in economic development. Thus, "governments in many countries have come to believe that higher education is an engine of economic development and that the effective steering of the ARE is a critical means of achieving economic competitiveness" (p. 2).

What has happened in the countries covered in National Innovation and the Academic Research Enterprise? The book shows the differences between the United States ("state supervisory model") and the other developed countries ("state control model"), typical in Europe and the rest of the world, towards the ARE, noting that politicians everywhere believe that in a "globally competitive economy" there is a need "to utilize their publicly supported universities as a means of local economic development" (p. 552). The United States, with additional chapters on Pennsylvania and California, is shown to be very decentralized. "The U.S. national government has never exercised direct control over higher education and has also played a very limited role in regulating the academic, research, and administrative policies at its universities" (p. 389). The large growth of federal support in the U.S., after the initial Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, came with World War II and its aftermath, though the Patent and Trademark Laws Amendment (Bayh-Dole) Act of 1980, which "provided blanket permission to recipients of federal R & D funds, including universities, to file for patents on the results of federally sponsored research and to exclusively license these patents to others" (p. 419) is properly credited "as a landmark policy," with significant benefits for the American economy (p. 420). The American system of allocating national R & D funds on the basis of peer-reviewed merit is...


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