Directed Research Centers and Public Problems

by Daniel J. Alesch

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An examination of the changing role of the directed research centers and their relevance in the solution of public problems. The accelerating involvement by the directed research centers in societal problems at the state and local level suggests that immediate attention be paid to developing an agenda for research. While continuing to work on substantive problems, a substantial portion of the research energy must be shifted to devising and institutionalizing more adequate public processes and institutions, particularly for anticipating public policymaking. The effectiveness of directed research centers will depend upon the answers to three questions: (1) Can government and directed research centers stand the initial shock of involvement with one another? (2) Can the centers manage to be both innovative and practical? (3) In what ways can the centers help public institutions to become more dynamic than they are today?

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