From Science to Technology: The Value of Knowledge From Different Energy Research Institutions

David Popp

NBER Working Paper No. 22573
Issued in August 2016
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Using an original data set of both scientific articles and patents pertaining to alternative energy technologies, this paper provides new evidence on the flows of knowledge between university, private sector, and government research. Better understanding of the value of knowledge from these institutions can help decision makers target R&D funds where they are most likely to be successful. I use citation data from both scientific articles and patents to answer two questions. First, what information is most useful to the development of new technology? Does high quality science lead to commercial success? I find that this is the case, as those articles most highly cited by other scientific articles are also more likely to be cited by future patents. Second, which institutions produce the most valuable research? Are there differences across technologies? Research performed at government institutions appears to play an important translational role linking basic and applied research, as government articles are more likely to be cited by patents than any other institution, including universities. Universities play a less important role in wind research than for solar and biofuels, suggesting that wind energy research is at a more applied stage where commercialization and final product development is more important than basic research.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22573

Published: David Popp, 2017. "From science to technology: The value of knowledge from different energy research institutions," Research Policy, .

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