Walter D. Valdivia

The Brookings Institution
Governance Studies

1775 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC
USA
20036
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Published work includes studies of university technology transfer, impact of emerging nanotechnologies, and the tensions between academic freedom and national security. Current research examines politics of federal R&D, technology transfer policy, and governance models of responsible innovation.

Citation:
Kate S. Whitefoot, Walter D. Valdivia, with Gina C. Adams. March 2015. Innovation and Manufacturing: A Value Chain Perspective. Brookings, Center for Technology Innovation.
Abstract: Policies and initiatives to promote U.S. manufacturing would be well advised to take a value chain perspective of this economic sector. Currently, our economic statistics do not include pre-production services to manufacturing such as research and development or design or post-production services such as repair and maintenance or sales. Yet, manufacturing firms invest heavily in these services because they are crucial to the success of their business. In a new paper, Kate Whitefoot and Walter Valdivia offer a fresh insight into the sector’s labor composition and trends by examining employment in manufacturing from a value chain perspective. While the manufacturing sector shed millions of jobs in the 2002-2010 period—a period that included the Great Recession—employment in upstream services expanded 26 percent for market analysis, 13 percent for research and development, and 23 percent for design and technical services. Average wages for these services increased over 10 percent in that period. Going forward, this pattern is likely to be repeated. Technical occupations, particularly in upstream segments are expected to have the largest increases in employment and wages.
URL: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/03/06-innovation-manufacturing-labor-value-chain-whitefoot-valdivia
Citation:
Valdivia, Walter D. and David H. Guston. Forthcoming May 2015. Responsible Innovation: A primer for policymakers. Brookings, Center for Technology Innovation.
Abstract: Technical change is advancing at a breakneck speed while the institutions that govern innovative activity slog forward trying to keep pace. The lag has created a need for reform in the governance of innovation. Reformers who focus primarily on the social benefits of innovation propose to unmoor the innovative forces of the market. Conversely, those who deal mostly with innovation’s social costs wish to constrain it by introducing regulations in advance of technological developments. In this paper, Walter Valdivia and David Guston argue for a different approach to reform the governance of innovation that they call "Responsible Innovation" because it seeks to imbue in the actors of the innovation system a more robust sense of individual and collective responsibility. Responsible innovation appreciates the power of free markets in organizing innovation and realizing social expectations but is self-conscious about the social costs that markets do not internalize. At the same time, the actions it recommends do not seek to slow down innovation because they do not constrain the set of options for researchers and businesses, they expand it. Responsible innovation is not a doctrine of regulation and much less an instantiation of the precautionary principle. Innovation and society can evolve down several paths and the path forward is to some extent open to collective choice. The aim of a responsible governance of innovation is to make that choice more consonant with democratic principles
URL: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/05/05-responsible-innovation-valdivia-guston
Citation:
Valdivia, Walter D. and Benjamin Clark. June 2015. Punctuated Equilibrium and the Politics of Federal R&D. Brookings, Center for Technology Innovation.
Abstract: The fiscal budget has become a casualty of political polarization and even functions that had enjoyed bipartisan support, like research and development (R&D), are becoming divisive issues on Capitol Hill. As a result, federal R&D is likely to grow pegged to inflation or worse, decline. With the size of the pie fixed or shrinking, requests for R&D funding increases will trigger an inter-agency zero-sum game that will play out as pointless comparisons of agencies’ merit, or worse, as a contest to attract the favor of Congress or the White House. This insidious politics will be made even more so by the growing tendency of equating public accountability with the measurement of performance. Political polarization, tight budgets, and pressure for quantifiable results threaten to undermine the sustainability of public R&D. The situation begs the question: What can federal agencies do to deal with the changing politics of federal R&D? In a new paper, Walter D. Valdivia and Benjamin Y. Clark apply punctuated equilibrium theory to examine the last four decades of federal R&D, both at the aggregate and the agency level. Valdivia and Clark observe a general upward trend driven by gradual increases. In turn, budget leaps or punctuations are few and far in between and do no appear to have lasting effects. As the politics of R&D are stirred up, federal departments and agencies are sure to find that proposing punctuations is becoming more costly and risky. Consequently, agencies will be well advised in securing stable growth in their R&D budgets in the long run rather than pushing for short term budget leaps. While appropriations history would suggest the stability of R&D spending resulted from the character of the budget politics, in the future, stability will need the stewardship of R&D champions who work to institutionalize gradualism, this time, in spite of the politics.
URL: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/06/17-politics-federal-research-development-valdivia-clark
Citation:
Winickoff, David E. and Walter D. Valdivia. 2015. Bayh-Dole. eLS (Encyclopedia of Life Sciences). Chichester, UK: John Wilery & Sons. Available online June 15, 2015.
Abstract: Bayh‐Dole is shorthand for the public policy in the United States that allows universities to take title to patents on discoveries made from state‐funded research. The Bayh‐Dole Act, enacted by the US Congress in 1980, has been emulated in many countries around the world for its putative benefits on national rates of innovation and has exerted a profound influence on university patenting practices in the United States and abroad. Bayh‐Dole has contributed to the sharp increase in university patenting activity. Its impact on the innovation system as a whole is harder to measure and has been the subject of scholarly and political controversy. While proponents of this policy argue that it has injected American innovation with new dynamism, other analysts have cast doubt on the economic benefits of Bayh‐Dole. Furthermore, there are concerns that the Act negatively effects academic cooperation and runs against the public mission of universities.
URL: http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0025088.html
Citation:
Evans, Samuel A. and Walter D. Valdivia. 2012. Export controls: A site of demarcation between academic freedom and national security. Minerva 50(2): 169-190.
Abstract: In the U.S.A., advocates of academic freedom—the ability to pursue research unencumbered by government controls—have long found sparring partners in government officials who regulate technology trade. From concern over classified research in the 1950s, to the expansion of export controls to cover trade in information in the 1970s, to current debates over emerging technologies and global innovation, the academic community and the government have each sought opportunities to demarcate the sphere of their respective authority and autonomy and assert themselves in that sphere. In this paper, we explore these opportunities, showing how the Social Contract for Science set the terms for the debate, and how the controversy turned to the proper interpretation of this compact. In particular, we analyze how the 1985 presidential directive excluding fundamental research from export controls created a boundary object that successfully demarcated science and the state, but only for a Cold War world that would soon come to an end. Significant changes have occurred since then in the governance structures of science and in the technical and political environment within which both universities and the state sit. Even though there have been significant and persistent calls for reassessing the Cold War demarcation, a new institutionalization of how to balance the concerns of national security and academic freedom is still only in its nascent stages. We explore the value of moving from a boundary object to a boundary organization, as represented in a proposed new governance body, the Science and Security Commission.
URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11024-012-9196-4
Citation:
Valdivia, Walter D. 2013. University Start-Ups: Critical for Improving Technology Transfer. Brookings Institution: Center for Technology Innovation. Washington DC.
Abstract: University technology transfer has been largely dominated by a business model of licensing university patents to the highest bidder. This model is unprofitable for most universities and sometimes even risks alienating the private sector. However, a new and smarter model has emerged and is being increasingly adopted. In this new model universities nurture their own start-ups and make available their patents to them. This ought to improve technology transfer. But universities cannot do it alone, they operate within a larger innovation ecology and the government can help foster an adequate environment for entrepreneurship. Three key recommendations to engineer a start-ups model revolution in tech transfer: 1.The government should expand funding for the Small Business Technology Transfer program designating funds specifically for university start-ups. 2.Congress should authorize a patent use exemption for non-profit research organizations for the purpose of exclusive experimental use. 3.The government should create an equity rule for the distribution of funds among universities.
URL: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/11/university-start-ups-technology-transfer-valdivia
Citation:
Valdivia, Walter D. 2011. The stakes in Bayh-Dole: Public values beyond the pace of innovation. Minerva 49(1): 25-46.
Abstract: Evaluation studies of the Bayh-Dole Act are generally concerned with the pace of innovation or the transgressions to the independence of research. While these concerns are important, I propose here to expand the range of public values considered in assessing Bayh-Dole and formulating future reforms. To this end, I first examine the changes in the terms of the Bayh-Dole debate and the drift in its design. Neoliberal ideas have had a definitive influence on U.S. innovation policy for the last thirty years, including legislation to strengthen patent protection. Moreover, the neoliberal policy agenda is articulated and justified in the interest of competitiveness. Rhetorically, this agenda equates competitiveness with economic growth and this with the public interest. Against that backdrop, I use Public Value Failure criteria to show that values such as political equality, transparency, and fairness in the distribution of the benefits of innovation, are worth considering to counter the policy drift of Bayh-Dole.
URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11024-011-9162-6

Substantive Focus:
Science and Technology Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY

Keywords

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, & INNOVATION POLICY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER INEQUALITY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT