A New "Industrial Ecology"

Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 471
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068350

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How can industry integrate the kind of scientific research needed for breakthrough technologies? In their Policy Forum, Coombs and Georghiou argue that centralized solutions have been replaced by a new ecology where large firms are complemented by small technology-rich firms. Outsourcing, globalization, and technological alliances are of growing importance. Within firms, there are new ways to organize radical research, based on a small number of focused programs with ambitious targets aimed at new businesses and shared between corporate research and businesses. These are supported by new ways to link to universities based on long-term and broad scope relationships with top departments. To sustain the growth of industrial R&D, public funding of university research should keep pace.