The relation between research priorities and societal demands: the case of rice

Ciarli, Tommaso and Ràfols, Ismael (2019) The relation between research priorities and societal demands: the case of rice. Research Policy, 48 (4). pp. 949-967. ISSN 0048-7333

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Abstract

To what extent is scientific research related to societal needs? To answer this crucial question systematically we need to contrast indicators of research priorities with indicators of societal needs. We focus on rice research and technology between 1983 and 2012. We combine quantitative methods that allow investigation of the relation between ‘revealed’ research priorities and ‘revealed’ societal demands, measured respectively by research output (publications) and national accounts of rice use and farmers’ and consumers’ rice-related needs. We employ new bibliometric data, methods and indicators to identify countries’ main rice research topics (priorities) from publications. For a panel of countries, we estimate the relation between revealed research priorities and revealed demands. We find that, across countries and time, societal demands explain a country's research trajectory to a limited extent. Some research priorities are nicely aligned to societal demands, confirming that science is partly related to societal needs. However, we find a relevant number of misalignments between the focus of rice research and revealed demands, crucially related to human consumption and nutrition. We discuss some implications for research policy.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Tommaso Ciarli
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 11:49
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2019 14:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80813

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Mapping the Dynamics of Emerging Technologies:G0499ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/I015019/1
Revealing Innovation PathwaysUnsetUS National Science Foundation1064146