Journal Name: Prometheus, Volume 11, Number 2, December 1993
Invisible Participants. Women in Science in Australia, 1830-1950
by Ann Moyal
There is a great deal of contemporary pressure to examine why women are not going into science, to encourage them to do so, and among a growing band of feminist scholars, to question and challenge the long male-centred structuring and domination of the ethos of science. Deep cultural forces survive that contribute to locate most women in the profession's lower ranks; the place of women in science leadership and policymaking in Australia in conspicuously small, while the very architecture of science and its invisible colleges and networks appear to perpetuate the expectation that science is a masculine world. How has this scenario developed in Australia? What part have women played in the society and community of science? How widespread has their participation been? ANd what, in a sweep across a century or moer, are the inhibitors that have kept women out of 'mainstream' science? This paper examines the background in Australia.
women, science, history, gender, botanists, microbiologists, universities, research assistants
The Role of Small Firms in the Development of the Robotics Market in Spain
by Angel Martinez Sanchez
This paper studies the structure and development of the robotics market in Spain. The robotisation process of Spanish industry began in the bigger firms, but nowadays small and medium sized firms are the main adopters of robots. The degree of concentration of demand has decreased more than that of supply. The participation of robots in Spanish technology is still small although half the robots adopted are manufactured in Spain. The development of supply has been endogenous, but supplier firms share robots with other equipment in their product portfolio.
robots, R&D, small and medium sized firms, technology adoption, Spainish industry
Public Funding of Agricultural Research: Competitive Versus Non-competitive Mechanisms
by Clem Tisdell
A substantial portion of agricultural research and development (R&D) is publicly funded. It is therefore, important to give attention to the socially ideal allocation and administration of funds for agricultural R&D as is done here. The types of mechanisms used to allocate these public funds and administer their uses can be expected to influence the research results produced and ultimately the level of returns or benefits obtained from this expenditure. Different public mechanisms for allocating and administering agricultural research funding are discussed from this point of view, paying attention to economic considerations. The non-competitive allocation of block grants to institutions is compared with their competitive allocation. Possibilities for allocation to sections of institutions or to individuals are also considered. Centralized versus decentralized mechanisms for the allocating and administering R&D within organizations are discussed. In designing appropriate mechanisms for the allocation and administration of the use of public agricultural R&D funds, account needs to be taken of such factors as transaction costs, knowledge limitations, the importance of learning by doing, the accretion of institutional capital and the collective accumulation of knowledge and skills within organizations. These factors together with market failures, limit the scope for efficient use of competitive mechanisms in allocating funds for agricultural R&D.
Research, funding, agriculture, competitive, block grants
Corporate Innovations: Some Australian Experience
by Geoffrey N. Soutar and Margaret M. McNeil
Corporate innovation has not been well studied in Australia. The present study examined the extent and type of innovation in companies listed on the Western Australian Stock Exchange and it identified the high and low innovators by calculating an Innovation Score for each of the 184 companies in the sample. Factors which influence the level of corporate innovation were also determined. Companies with high levels of innovation were found to involve company employees in the innovative process. As in America, venture teams, product champions and creative geniuses impactedon innovative capacity. The input of customers is also a valuable source of ideas for innovation. Management of high innovating companies were committed to innovation, tolerant of risk taking and encouraged autonomous behaviour in their employees. However, successful corporate innovators did not give up formal control. Rules and procedures were also important.
corporate innovation, management, R&D, marketing, clustering
Solar Water Heating in Queenland: The Roles of Innovation Attributes, Attitudes and Information in the Adoption Process
by John Foster
The public acceptance of solar domestic water heaters in Australia is explored with special reference to Queensland. Classical diffusion-of-innovations theory is used as the basis for a telephone survey of over 400 new Queensland householders. Survey results indicate that solar water heaters were readily available for purchase and imply that limited effort needs to be expended on further establishing consumer awareness in the market examined. Householders typically established technical feasibility before serious considerationof the solar option and financial viability before adoption. Friends, neighbours and social networks were very important in communication relevant information. Survey responses suggest that government agencies and electricity authorities played a limited role in promoting the use of solar water heaters for new housing in Queensland. Some policy implications and promotional measures are discussed.
solar water heating, solar acceptance, renewable energy use, energy policy, innovation diffusion, Queensland
Biotechnology in Australian Agriculture: The Views of Farmer Representatives
by Geoffrey Lawrence, Helen McKenzie and Frank Vanclay
Biotechnology has the potential to impact significantly upon agriculture. However, although biotechnology is being promoted by the Australian Government and the National Farmers' Federation, there are growing concerns about the environmental and social impacts of biotechnological applications. A survey of representatives of rural producer organisations was undertaken to assess the policy positions of those groups who will be most affected by the new developments. It was found that few groups had actually developed a policy and that many representatives were personally uncertain and unclear about the position of the members. A major difference was observed between organic farming organisations - which from a small proportion of the total number of groups surveyed (and which are opposed to further biotechnological development) - and conventional farming organisations which express widespread and largely uncritical support of agrobiotechnological research and development in Australia.
Australia, agrobiotechnology, farming, survey results
Innovation, Corporate Organisation and Policy: William Lazonick on the Firm and Economic Growth
by Paul L. Robertson
In two recent books and several articles, William Lazonick has examined the proper industry policy for countries during periods of significant innovation. On the basis of the historical development of Britain, the USA and Japan, he concludes that successsful innovation requires the establishment of large, vertically-integrated firms that are abel to manoeuvre flexibily because their workers are willing and able to cooperate with change. Although Lazonik's arguments are persuasive in many respects, they are based on assumptions of future developments that are not necessarily correct. In particular, large firms may not be the best vehicles for the development and impelementation of innovation. Moreoverm increasinly 'intelligent' machines may erode the need for a flexible workforce, much as happened with the advent of Fordism in the early decades of the twentieth century. As a result, nations should be wary of committing themselves to centralised and uniform policies when the nature of the problem is still uncertain.
innovation, industry policy, flexible organisation, William Lazonick
(This journal is available online: http://www.tandf.co.uk/online.html)
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