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Lewis M. Branscomb

Lewis M. Branscomb is Aetna Professor in Public Policy and Corporate Management, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Titles by This Author

How Innovators, Managers, and Investors Manage Risk in High-Tech Innovations

How do technology innovators, business executives, and venture capitalists manage the technical elements of business risk when developing and launching new products? Overcoming technical risks requires crossing the so-called valley of death—the gap between demonstrating the soundness of a technical concept in a controlled setting and readying the product technology for the market. Crossing the valley of death may mean bringing university-based research to the point where it appears viable to venture capitalists, or bridging the cultural gap between technical innovators and the managers who are being asked to risk their institutional resources. In every context, purely technical risks are coupled with the market risks inherent in innovation.

In this book Lewis Branscomb and Philip Auerswald address early-stage, high-tech innovation in the context of business decision making and innovation policy. The topics addressed include the extent to which purely technical risk is separable from market risk; how industrial managers make decisions on funding early-stage, high-risk technology projects; and under what circumstances government can and should act to reduce the technical risks of innovative projects so that firms will invest in them. The book includes contributions by Mary Good, George Hartmann, James McGroddy, Mike Myers, Michael Roberts, and F. M. Scherer.

Titles by This Editor

University-Industry Linkages in Japan and the United States

There is intense public interest in the role of universities as a source of science-based innovations. To increase our understanding of this role, this book compares the economic effects of university research in the United States and Japan—countries similar in economic and technological capabilities but different in culture, tradition, and institutional structure. Incorporating historical, sociological, and industrial perspectives, the book discusses both the mechanics of university-industry interactions and how policies encouraging such interactions can address regional and national needs.

Some of the results of this comparative study are surprising. For example, contrary to common assumptions, collaboration between individual faculty members and colleagues in industry appears to be as high in Japan as it is in the United States. It also becomes clear that it is the pace of technological change, more than government incentives, that puts universities in the position of driving the most exciting areas of business growth. Finally, although universities are vital to the networks that lead to innovation-growth, experience in both Japan and the United States suggests that policies aimed at transforming economically depressed areas through the promotion of university-based ventures are difficult to implement when the environment for economic transformation is weak.

Contributors:
Lewis M. Branscomb, Amy B. Candell, Y. T. Chien, Henry Etzkowitz, Irwin Feller, Richard Florida, Michael S. Fogarty, Gerald Hane, Takehiko Hashimoto, Adam B. Jaffe, Sumio Kakinuma, Shingo Kano, Robert Kneller, Fumio Kodama, Hiroto Kotake, Josh Lerner, David C. Mowery, Masamitsu Negishi, Richard R. Nelson, Fujio Niwa, Hiroyuki Odagiri, Seiritsu Ogura, Yoshiyuki Ohtawa, Kenneth Pechter, Bhaven N. Sampat, Amit Sinha, Sheryl Winston Smith, Yuan Sun, Katsuya Tamai, Shinichi Yamamoto, Mariko Yoshihara, Arvids Ziedonis.

Creating a Research and Innovation Policy That Works


Shortly after taking office in 1993, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore called for a shift in American technology policy toward an expansion of public investments in partnerships with private industry. The authors of this volume were invited by the Clinton administration to take a hard, nonpartisan look at how successful the new policies have been and to propose ways to make their programs more effective. The first summary report of the team's recommendations was called the "hottest technology policy property on Capitol Hill."

This book, an expansion of that report, offers a new set of technology policy principles. The authors use the principles to evaluate many federal research programs and to make recommendations for change. This volume will set the terms of the debate over the national research and innovation policy for years to come.


This collection explores the opportunities for and possible implications of coordination between two of the major pieces of emerging infrastructure in the United States: Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and the National Information Infrastructure (NII). Based on a recent workshop that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, MIT, and Harvard, Converging Infrastructures frames the programmatic, organizational, and technical issues involved.

Implementing a U.S. Policy

Technology policy - whether we should have one and what form such a policy should take - was a core issue of the 1992 presidential campaign, and in February 1993 the Clinton administration confirmed that fostering new technologies will be a critical part of its agenda for redirecting the American economy. To help orient the inevitable debates on this agenda, experts from Harvard's Center for Science and International Affairs here examine a set of key issues and problems that, taken together, define the scope and limits of such a policy.

Among the topics discussed are the new relationship between federal and state governments implied by the administration's proposals, the usefulness of the concept of "critical technologies" for setting priorities, the creation of new missions for the national laboratories (particularly the three weapons laboratories), the changing nature of the social contract between the government and research universities, the problems that will confront the creation of a national information infrastruc­ture, the best ways to promote small- ­and medium-sized "driver" companies as well as civilian research and development generally, and the relationship between education and the requirements for work in the twenty-first century.