Red tape dogs French research

January 26, 2007

French companies benefit far less than they should from the results of public research, according to a confidential report commissioned by ministers.

The conclusions were leaked to Le Monde . The report says the faults lay not in a lack of competent researchers or adequate funding, but because of poor management and finance structures.

The report says that the value of public research to industry has not increased in the past 15 years. Chief areas of mismanagement are the inefficient finance system, which does not take quality sufficiently into account when allocating funds, and bureaucracy.

Le Monde says the report states that none of the classic ways intended to help companies profit from public research - partnerships, patents, firms set up by public research organisations and companies employing public researchers - had brought improved performance. But the report adds that succeeding policies had boosted public spending, which was already high.

Le Monde lists ten recommendations made in the report to improve efficiency, which include changing funding and finance structures; giving enlarged universities more autonomy; and offering individual researchers and laboratories financial incentives.

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