Exploratory Study: Public Debate on Globalisation and Research in the Nordic Countries

11.10.2007
Inspired by an analysis of public debate on research policy issues in Sweden, NordForsk has initiated a Nordic exploratory comparative study of public debate regarding one specific research policy issue, globalization.
Public Debate on Research Policy in the Nordic Countries
Debate on research policy issues has during the last decade become more intensive; new actors have entered the debate, while researchers retain a strong position as participants in these debates. The debate regularly responds to policy initiatives, but also sometimes predates such initiatives. Controversy has followed in the wake of reorgani¬sation of policy structures and the shift in power relationships that have ensued.

Comparisons between countries play an important part in both international and national debates on research and innovation policy. However, these comparisons are mostly based upon standardised indicators of resource distribution and performance, and do not, according to many critics, capture key aspects of the specific dynamics of national research and innovation “systems”. Public debate on research policy issues provides a perspective on an aspect of these dynamics which is arguably essential, but which is virtually neglected in such comparisons and benchmarks. While Nordic countries figure prominently in such conventional indicator-based debates, little is known about their research and innovation systems and policies in terms of the roles and characteristics of public policy debate.

Exploratory Study: Globalisation
The exploratory study was carried out by a team of Nordic researchers, organised by NIFU STEP. The project did not map debate on the concept and issue of globalization in general, but focused on the rise of globalization issues on agendas of national research policy, and its current expansion into innovation policy. The objective of the exploratory study was to investigate the viability of a full comparative research project on research policy debate in the five Nordic countries and gain experience for the eventual design of such a project.

NordForsk Magazine 2007
A comparative analysis for the five Nordic countries and the conclusions of the exploratory study will appear in NordForsk Magazine 2007, available in November 2007. NordForsk Magazine is free and can be ordered from the NordForsk website after 1 November 2007.
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