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Features, Organization Forms and Implications: US Local Governments' Support for Basic Research (No 181, 2015)


By Ma Mingjie, Research Team on "Study on Demand-oriented Beijing Fund Assistance Mechanism for Natural Sciences", Department of Techno-Economic Research, the DRC

Research Report No 181, 2015 (Total 4866)


The attribute of basic research as a kind of public goods determines that the central government should undertake the major function of funding. But in the US, there are some state governments that give financial support to basic research. Whether local authorities specially back basic research depends on local scientific and technological resources and strategies, with no set rules to follow. In the cases where basic research is supported in the US, state governments mainly focus on local economic and social development and take different approaches towards major projects compared with those of the central government. An evident distinction lies in the fact that local governments can give larger support to demand-oriented research than that given to interest-oriented research. Besides, local governments seldom take the approach of scientific funding mechanism to back basic research. A small number of local authorities instead adopt the method of establishing specific basic research plans while the majority of local governments take basic research as part of their R&D programs and offer overall fund assistance to the research programs. When China's local governments render support to basic research, it is suggested that they distinguish the different goals of interest-oriented research and demand-oriented research and adopt a differentiated approach to fund demand-oriented research.

Key words: basic research, policy, local governments, the US