Story of the Ceris’ Roman research Section on ‘Institutions and policies for science and technology’

All the researchers belonging to the research section come from the Institute of studies on research and scientific documentation (Isrds) of Cnr. The institute was founded in 1968 by Paolo Bisogno, who directed it till his death (in 1999).

During more than thirty years, Isrds, thanks to Paolo Bisogno, carried out interdisciplinary research activities, not only dealing with issues of scientific and technological policies, but but also addressing to problems of documentation and technical and scientific. Indeed, it studied in depth some sectors, fostered initiatives (first of all in the documentation field) and started research activities in neglected spheres. Sometimes these were distant from the core of disciplines that concerned Isrds and afterwards they could be committed to those who would be able and competent (as in the telemedicine studies).

In July of 2001, the restructuring of Cnr brought a transformation of Isrds into Institue of social and economical studies for innovation and research policies (Ispri), which was tentative in nature and incorporated Isde of Milan. The ending of Ispri in February of 2003 induced its personnel (especially the researchers) to enter other research Institutes, according each own speciality. A team of researchers entered Ceris, forming the above mentioned research Section.

Several issues treated in the Section have been part of the research plan that the Isrds charter envisaged:

  • Studies on policies of scientific research, its organisation, relationships between research and technological progress and social progress;
  • Studies on the issues treated in the annual report on the state of scientific and technological research in Italy;
  • Studies on documentation methodologies and technical and scientific.

Concerning the first theme, during several years studies and surveys have been started on financial and human resources devoted to scientific and technological research carried out in our country. In addition, studies on science and technology indicators, research personnel and public agent’s behaviour have been performed. The deepening and widening of these issues have brought about collaborations with the Ministry of scientific and technological research (currently known as Miur) in order to produce the 1991 and 1994 Reports on scientific and technological research in Italy and to make contributions to the Ministry’s triennial Plans.

Meanwhile, Isrds has been pursuing studies on innovation in scientific communication, in particular on the system of information diffusion.

During this lasting activity, Isrds has trained several researchers. It has also broadened relationships and collaborations with national administrations and institutions - first of all Cnr institutes, research agencies and State administrations, secondarily regional administrations and other institutions, such as the Bio-Ethics committee of Cnr and the Civr committee- and with other countries’ institutions, as well as international organisations (for instance: Oecd, Eu, Eurostat, Unesco, Esf).

The first set of research themes – some of which concern Ceris activities or are complementary to them – have been updated and integrated. Currently, a team made up of seven researchers works which has set up the specialised Section and has skills about several aspects: public research institutions, scientific and technological policies, measurement of scientific information’s diffusion, access to and circulation of e scientific and technological knowledge, technology transfer, ethics of scientific research.