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.  



The evolving public research institution sector – institutes and their orientations

The changing profile of the PRI sector, broadly defined, calls for additional country- and institute-level information to support policy making. This chapter begins to present the results of the RIHR project country context notes, institutional case studies and institute-level survey. It describes the types of entities considered to be PRIs and outlines the orientation of the sector. The evidence suggests the focus and targets of PRIs have undergone some significant changes in recent years. Excellence and openness are now focal points for many institutes. PRIs tend to focus on specific sectors, fields or tasks, with applied research generally a key activity. Supporting industry and conducting research of benefit to society are the main goals.


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