Keywords: knowledge production, knowledge-based economies, knowledge-based societies, basic research, applied research, experimental development, research networks, parallel R&, D, research and development, business R&, D, academic firms, university research, innovation
Knowledge production of firms: research networks and the "scientification" of business R&D
Research and Development (R&D) expenditure grew during the 1980s and 1990s. The USA ranks first, Japan second and the EU third. Business R&D displays a cyclical pattern, university research, on the contrary, expanded more gradually. Interestingly, basic research grew faster than applied research. The consequences of this are paralleling efforts for different R&D activities, a re-conceptualisation of applied and university-related research and an increased demand, but also more opportunities, for direct university/business linkages. We will focus in this article on firms, identifying which options they have to meet these challenges. We propose the concept of the 'academic firm'. Through a limited 'scientification' of business R&D and participation in research networks, firms can enhance their knowledge production.