Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Hiromi Saito, Chiba university, Chiba, Japan
Background: Basic research is the origin of innovation in the creation of scientific knowledge, leading to innovation in industries. However, understanding the impact of scientific knowledge from basic research on socio-economy is difficult because scientific knowledge is an immaterial asset. Previous works have had such difficulties using data from journal articles cited in firms’ patents to understand the quantum of scientific knowledge companies absorb from basic research. However, objective data based on articles are not enough to capture the impact of science on socio-economy since articles and patents are “successful outcomes” of research and development. Even if basic research did not directly lead to such outcomes, it might have contributed to socio-economy without evidence in figures, for example, by providing new ideas. Methods: This study, therefore, used subjective data from a questionnaire survey to follow the information that objective data may tend to miss. This survey was for researchers/developers within companies in Japan, since they understand the value of basic research (provided by universities/public research institutes) in their projects to develop new products/services. Over 220 samples were collected through an internet monitor survey rigorously managed by a specialized investigation company. Results: The firms’ researchers/developers were asked about the outcomes of basic research provided by universities/public research institutes. From their responses, it was understood that, first, they do an average of 2.5 times of joint research with universities/public research institutes. Second, in reply to the question, “how useful do you think is scientific knowledge from universities/public research institutes in the development of new products/services and in the creation of new processes?” (the scale: 5, very useful; 4, slightly useful; 3, neutral; 2, not very useful; and 1, not at all useful), the average evaluation was 2.6. Third, when asked, “which stage of academic knowledge is useful for research and development or innovation in your companies? (a multiple choice question),” the highest response was for the “development stage,” the second for deciding the research theme, and the third for basic research in companies. There are other questions too in the survey. Conclusions: It was found that firms’ researchers/developers valued the contributions of basic research, especially in research and development. Evaluation of basic research based on subjective data was higher overall when compared to that based on objective data. It should be noted, however, that subjective data might be overrated. There is scope for examining this bias between subjective data and objective data in future research.