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.  



Implications of change – public research institutions' performance and policy agenda

Public research institutions (PRIs) have undergone much change in recent years and are now a diverse set of institutes. This chapter highlights the evidence on their outputs and performance, drawing on the evidence from context notes, case studies and survey as well as evaluations. While assessments are often positive, they also highlight issues that require policy attention to boost PRIs’ effectiveness in meeting their missions. The evidence points to a future policy agenda centred on ensuring the relevance of PRI activities, shaping government funding to support PRI goals, enabling linkages and bolstering human resources.


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