Links Between Public Funding and Biomedical Research

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A new study has looked into the link between public funding and biomedical research, highlighting that the contributions of these studies to patents is usually indirect.

Public officials tend to base their decision to provide funding to a biomedical research on whether the result of the study would be beneficial to society, such as leading to the discovery of new drugs. However, this study published in the journal of the Science notes that this is not always the case.

The researchers based the study on an analysis of the grants approved by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) over a period of 27 years. The study concluded that while some grants directly resulted in patents, a larger percentage of grants resulted in research articles that were eventually cited, and therefore used, by patents for for-profit purposes by the chemical industries, the healthcare industries and the like.

This study was carried out by Danielle Li of Harvard Business School and colleagues.