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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1990. The Academic Research Enterprise within the Industrialized Nations: Comparative Perspectives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1596.
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INTRODUCTION During the past century, the United States, Japan, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Germany, and France substantially enlarged their research capacities to promote an accelerated pace in the generation of new knowledge. Yet each nation has pursued distinct research objectives and topics of investigation, has created a unique system for the conduct of scientific and technological research, and has adopted different methods of resource allocation. After World War Two, significant differences arose in the role of universities within national research systems. The United States and Great Britain, for example, expanded basic research primarily within their universities as an adjunct to graduate education. In contrast, France, Germany, and the Soviet Union expanded basic and applied research capacity primarily within government research institutes. Japan developed its basic and applied research capacity primarily within industrial and governmental laboratories. This international divergence in the research roles of universities results from many complex social, economic, and political factors unique to each nation. Variation among the countries in their involvement in wars, in their industrial and social welfare goals, and in their cultural and political traditions are reflected in their research agendas and the organization of their research systems. At the same time, however, all research systems have evolved in interaction with those of other nations. Nations have borrowed and adapted to their own needs the organizational structures of other nations. Furthermore, contemporary science, as a process for generating new knowledge, has few geographic boundaries, especially for the mathematical, physical and biological sciences. Attempts by individual nations to promote scientific theories with idiosyncratic political, philosophical, or religious underpinnings have been generally short-lived, with detrimental consequences for the perpetrating nation. Expectations are now increasing in all countries for research scientists and engineers to contribute to national goals. Governments and industries, for example, are seeking scientific and technological solutions to complex problems such as international economic competitiveness, health concerns, and environmental change. In those nations which have invested their basic research capacity primarily within universities, pressures for larger- scale, multidisciplinary research activity generate extraordinary challenges to the existing culture, organization, and resources of university-based scholars and their funding agencies. While the symposium presentations and discussions reflected the diversity in national research systems and the roles of universities, they also were characterized by the recurrence of common themes. Part One of this report summarizes these themes in three categories: · Global trends affecting all national research systems · National responses to global trends in science and technology · Future strategies for meeting challenges and addressing new opportunities. 3

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