Professor Ben Martin (Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU, University of Sussex) defines science policy research as ‘economic, policy, management and organisational studies of science, technology and innovation (STI) with a view to providing useful inputs to decision-makers concerned with policies for and the management of STI’.  The field is important because STI is important: it is a source of progress, a major contributor to the wealth of nations, provides the basis for new goods and services and for new capabilities, and contributes to changes in the quality of life and the environment.  As globalisation and international competition increase, STI is gaining even greater importance.  It also carries risks, however, and social costs.  For these reasons, effective policies to encourage and manage STI are essential.

This Seminar Briefing summarises Prof Martin’s presentation of the results of his research on how the field of science policy research has evolved and advanced in the 50 years since its inception and how it has affected decision making.