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Scientific Research: Opening the Door to the Future
Chapter 4 Domestic and Overseas Trends in Scientific Research
Section 3: Science Policy in Other Countries
2. Science Policies in Major Advanced Nations

Historical background and other factors create differences in different countries' science and technology administration systems and research setups. Studying the mechanisms of scientific administration and the role of universities in scientific research in other countries, and monitoring trends in science policy, facilitates a review of Japan's science policy from an international perspective. The following analysis is based on surveys of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France ( Figure 4-5 , Table 4-3 ).

(1) The United States

(a) Administrative system for science and technology

: In the United States, at the federal government level, universities are under the aegis of the Department of Education, which provides information and financial subsidies. With the exception of 13 higher education institutions under federal jurisdiction, including the military academies, universities are established by either state governments or private organizations.

Under the American system of science and technology administration, federal government departments, independent agencies, and state governments implement research and development in line with their respective administrative objectives in research institutes under their jurisdiction and also award research commissions or grants to universities. Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), which are funded by the federal government but managed by universities, also play a role.

In 1995 universities used 59% of basic research funding. The biggest source of research grants to universities is the federal government, which accounts for 60% of funding. Funds are provided not only by government departments, such as Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Energy, but also by independent agencies like the. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and by the National Science Foundation, which maintains no research facilities of its own and concentrates on allocating grants. At present, the biggest provider of funds is the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services. NIH accounts for about 50% of all government research grants to universities. Federal government scholarships, which are awarded mainly by NSF and NIH, play a major role in providing assistance to doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is part of the Office of the President. With a staff of about 30, it provides advice about science and technology to the President and government departments and agencies. It also serves as secretariat for the National Science and Technology Council and the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. The former, established in 1993, is chaired by the President and made up of the secretaries of relevant departments; it coordinates the activities of various departments and agencies. The latter, a committee of private sector experts, exists to provide private sector input for government policies. Both NSTC and PCAST are consultative organizations established to facilitate cooperation from a national perspective. They have no role in implementing or funding research.

(b) Trends in science policy

: Since World War II, partly due to the Cold War, federal government departments and agencies have been actively involved in research and development and have competed in providing vast research funds to universities. This funding also covers personnel expenses and indirect costs, and receiving such funds affects research organizations, including researchers and supporting staff, researcher training, and facilities and equipment. Universities frequently do not provide day-to-day funding along the lines of Japan's unit cost per professor system. Of the more than 3,600 universities in the United States, however, this kind of research is being undertaken on a significant scale in only about 1 25 "research universities" that put particular emphasis on their research activities and doctoral programs.

In addition to traditional research organizations, such as departments, centers, and institutes, as well as FFRDCs, there are also specially organized research units, such as university-industry cooperative research centers and the engineering research centers. These research units are supported by NSF and, in principle, are dissolved when their five-year federal grants expire, unless they can find private funding or become self-supporting.

Funds for university research have increased steadily, with the federal government consistently the biggest source in the postwar era. The targeting and composition of research funding are changing, however, including a relative decline in defense-related expenditure and, in recent years, an increase in funding by industry.

(c) Research evaluation

: In general, basic research is evaluated through peer reviews. In the case of research and development for government departments and agencies, administrative assessments are made by the government office or officials in charge of it. NIH, for example, decides grant allocations through a process that consists of peer reviews by panels of outside experts, followed by screening by an advisory committee that includes nonscientists. It also makes interim evaluations based on written reports or on-site observation visits.

(2) The United Kingdom

(a) Administrative system for science and technology

: The Department for Education and Employment is in charge of funding universities. The Office of Science and Technology, which was established within the Cabinet in 1992, was placed under the Department of Trade and Industry in 1995. This step was taken to facilitate the transfer of high-level basic research results to industry. The head of the Office, who is appointed by the Prime Minister, is the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser. The Office allocates research grants to universities through the Research Councils. It also produces annual reports and forecasts. Government departments, including the Department of Trade and Industry, carry out applied research relating to their administrative objectives In research institutes under their jurisdiction.

Funds are distributed to universities under a dual system. Basic and regular funds are allocated through the Higher Education Funding Councils, while more competitive funds are allocated through the RCs. Education-related expenditure is estimated to have accounted for approximately 64% of funds distributed by the HEFCs in fiscal 1995-96, and research-related spending for about 18%. The RCs include six specialist councils responsible for the allocation of research funds in specific fields, and another council that administers joint-use facilities. Scholarships paid through the RCs play a central role in providing support to doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.

The Council for Science and Technology is made up of experts in various fields, including people from the business sector and academia. It advises the Prime Minister on science and technology policy.

(b) Trends in science policy

: The government emphasizes a strategic approach. For example, since 1993 it has published a science and technology white paper, Technology Foresight, and an annual report. In recent years it has sought to strengthen industrial-academic cooperation by expanding competitive funding. A comparison between the budgets for fiscal 1986-87 and 1994-95 shows that competitive funds provided through the RCs have increased by 105% (from 600 million to 1,220 million pounds). The government has also introduced and expanded a system under which RC subsidies are paid on condition that private sector companies provide a certain level of funding, and it is introducing systems with similar conditions for priority areas identified in Technology Foresight.

(c) Research assessment

: Funding from both HEFC and the RCs is directly linked to evaluations, which are highly formalized. The quality of research is basically determined by peer reviews conducted by outside experts, although apparently efforts are being made to develop objective criteria that would be equivalent to peer reviews.

Projects funded through HEFC are subject to assessment by field-specific evaluation committees, which evaluate departments according to a seven-stage scale (five stages until 1995). RC-funded research is evaluated through a combination of document screening and panel reviews by the field-specific committees, with final decisions made by program managers.

(3) Germany

(a) Administrative system for science and technology

: Under Germany's federal system, each state has its own functions similar to those fulfilled by the national government in Japan. The state governments are responsible for the establishment and management of universities. However, the university system as a whole is administered by the federal government, while the promotion of academic science and technology that goes beyond the state level, including support for scientific research in universities, is administered jointly by the state and federal governments. With the exception of military research and a few major projects, the science and technology administration at the federal level has mostly been integrated under the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, Research and Technology (Bundesministerium fur Bildung, Wissenschaft, Forschung und Technologie), which was established in 1994 through the merger of the Ministry of Education and Science (Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Wissenschaft) and the Ministry of Research and Technology (Bundesministerium fur Forschung und Technologie).

Policies relating to higher education and science and technology, including research grants, are handled by. the Federal-State Comission for Education Planning and Research Grants (Bund-Lainder-Kommission fur Bildungsplanung und Forschungsforderung; BLK), which was established under an agreement between the federal and state governments. It coordinates activities on the basis of recommendations from the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat. WR), which was established under the same agreement. The Ministry for Defense (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) and the Ministry for Economy (Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft) conduct research themselves in research institutes under their jurisdiction or commission research to private enterprises or other organizations. The states provide universities with basic and regular education and research funds. General coordination is handled by the Standing Conference of State Culture Ministers (Standige Konferenz der Kultusminister der Lander in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland; KMK). Scholarships for doctoral candidates are provided by state governments and a private foundation subsidized by the federal government. Postdoctoral researchers receive scholarships mainly from the German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG).

In 1995 the Council for the Innovation of Research and Technology (Rat fur Forschung, Technologie und Innovation; RFTI) was established. Chaired by the Prime Minister, this group is made up of federal and state ministers and representatives of academia, industry, and labor. Its task is to provide advice on important issues. It has no role in implementing research and development or allocating research funds.

Organizations dedicated to the promotion and subsidization of science include DFG, the Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft), and the Blue List Science Society (Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Blaue Liste). Funds and subsidies distributed to universities and affiliated research institutes by these organizations are paid for jointly by the federal and state governments.

(b) Trends in science policy

: After the reunification treaty took effect in October 1990, universities and research institutes in the former socialist East Germany were restructured, and many teachers in the humanities and social sciences were dismissed. New teachers were appointed from the former West Germany or other countries. The reorganization of research institutes in the former East Germany was based on strict evaluations, carried out mainly by WR. A significant number of institutes were abolished.

In November 1996 WR produced recommendations on research in universities, in which it called for the development of closer links between industry and academia, including personnel exchanges, joint research, the establishment of venture companies, and the utilization of patents to facilitate transfers of knowledge and technology from universities.

(c) Research evaluation

: A project to evaluate all 82 Blue List research institutions (Blaue Liste Institute) between 1995 and 1999 is currently in progress. This task is being carried out by the WR Blue List Committee (Ausschuβ 'Blaue Liste'), which is made up of outside experts, WR committee members, and federal and state government officials. The evaluation groups that have been established for each research institute are producing reports based on inspection visits and hearings. The Blue List Committee will prepare and publish recommendations based on these evaluation reports. Final decisions on implementing the recommendations will be made by BLK.

DFG has an evaluation committee made up of outside experts who are appointed for four-year terms. The committee carries out prior documentary assessments and then issues a decision and general opinion. Approved projects are subject to an interim evaluation after two years.

(4) France

(a) Administrative system for science and technology

: Changes of government are frequently accompanied by a restructuring of state administrative organizations, and the organizations responsible, for science and technology administration have gone through a number of changes. Under the present structure, the allocation of research funds and subsidies to universities, grandes ecoles, and government research institutes has been almost entirely integrated under the Ministry of National Education. Higher Education and Research (Ministere de l'Education Nationale, de l'Enseignement Superieur et de la Recherche), in June 1997 this was renamed the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Research and Technology (Ministere de l'Education Nationale, de la Recherche et de la Technologie), which was established through the amalgamation of the Ministry of Research (Ministere de la Recherche et de la Technologie, established in 1982 under the Mitterand administration) with the Ministry of National Education and Higher Education (Ministere de l'Education Nationale). The National Center of Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; CNRS) plays an important role in relation to universities. Personnel and educational expenses in universities are allocated by the ministry. The ministry and CNRS play a central role in providing scholarships for doctoral students.

In addition to the High Council of Research and Technology (Conseil superieur de la Recherche et de la Technologie; CSRT), which advises the ministry on science and technology in general, there is also the Interministerial Committee of Scientific Research and Technology (Comite Interministeriel de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique; CIRST). This group, which is chaired by the Prime Minister and made up of ministers with relevant portfolios, is the government's supreme decision-making organization for science and technology policy. In 1995, the Council of Strategic Orientation (Conseil d'Orientation Strategique; COS), a panel of experts from many fields, was formed to conceptualize long-term policies and advise the government. These committees have no role in implementing research and development or allocating research funds.

(b) Trends in Science Policy

Research and development in France is carried out mainly by public research institutes, and the military, in particular, accounts for a large portion of research activity. In the past, universities were the nucleus for educational functions, while CNRS was the hub of research activities. In recent years, however, there has been a significant improvement in universities' research capabilities, and research collaboration between CNRS and universities has increased. A feature of the research grants allocated to universities by CNRS and other organizations is that funds are provided to research groups rather that to projects. Block grants are provided under four-year contracts.

(c) Research evaluation

: The evaluation of universities and other institutions is carried out by the National Committee of Evaluation (Comite National d'Evaluation; CNE), which was established in 1984 and is composed of members appointed by the President. The National Committee of Research Evaluation (Comite National d'Evaluation de la Recherche; CNER) is responsible for the evaluation of research institutions and major projects. It was established in 1989 and is part of the President's Office. Recently CNE and CNER have collaborated to evaluate relationships between universities and research institutes in bioscience.

CSRT evaluates France's overall research system. It submits its findings to the National Assembly in the form of annual reports.

Figure 4-5: Administrative Organizations for Science in the United States. the United Kingdom. Germany. and France

Table 4-3: Numbers of Scientific Research Organizations and Researchers in the United States. the United Kingdom, Germany. and France

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