Public Research Institutions

Mapping Sector Trends

image of Public Research Institutions

This publication provides new information on public research institutions (PRIs) and government strategies. Public research institutions are crucial for innovation due to their role in knowledge creation and diffusion. While absolute real expenditure on R&D in this sector has risen, it now accounts for a smaller share of total R&D spending by OECD countries and of OECD GDP. The targets and focus of many PRIs have evolved in recent years. Changing activities, new policy challenges and wider economic and political developments have driven change in missions and mandates and linkages have become focal points for many. Internationalisation has also increased and relationships are frequently collaborative. PRIs’ sources of income are diverse but funding has become increasingly competitive. Funding instruments need to balance short-and long-term goals to uphold research quality and ensure the sustainability of PRI activities.  



A statistical view of public research institutions

National-level data on PRIs provide a “big picture” view of how these entities have transformed over time. This chapter presents data related to the Frascati Manual-defined government sector, as well as the results of a data re-tabulation that included PRI-like entities from other sectors. The data show the government sector has shrunk relative to other sectors in terms of expenditures and personnel. Initial results from the re-tabulation point to a bigger role for industry funding and a greater emphasis on applied R&D in PRIs than is suggested by Frascati data.


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