Exploring the university-industry-government high technology research triad: public policy ramifications of biotechnology

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Reichel, Brian
Major Professor
William F. Woodman
Committee Member
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Sociology and Anthropology

This dissertation represents an alternative format, which includes four papers submitted to scholarly journals. Section one demonstrates the applicability of cooptation theory to explain increased university-industry biotechnology research ties and the corresponding strains placed on the traditional university structure from such relationships. Public policies driving university cooptation are analyzed and particular cases of organizational strain are specified;Section two combines special interest group theory and the organizational resource-dependence model to explain Iowa's public policy of stimulating biotechnology research. Iowa's attempts to address the farm crisis through economic development strategies relying on biotechnology are investigated in this paper. The results of extensive surveys of Iowa's legislators and farmers are examined and the consequences for Iowa's policy process of using biotechnology under the auspices of economic development are discussed;Section three represents exploratory research undertaken to demonstrate the applicability of the interorganizational relations ("IOR") approach to explaining university-industry coordination in biotechnology research. From the IOR viewpoint, it was hypothesized that the inherent differences in history and goals between industrial and educational entities results in inevitable barriers to coordination in research and development. Furthermore, this model posits that the perception that university, industry and state government representatives hold of coordination barriers are determinative of the measures employed to deal with them. Multivariate statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate survey data designed to test the IOR model in the context of biotechnology research;The final section analyzes the federal government's role in technology transfer and the conflict of interest problems peculiar to federal scientists. The underlying theme of the paper is that traditional policies of avoiding the appearance of conflicts of interest among federal employees conflict with technology transfer policies. Methods of reconciling the two seemingly competing policies are suggested in this section.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1990