Popp analysis of publications and implications for energy research and development published in NE
Mar 13, 2016
Nature Energy, March 2016
The mix of public and private funding in alternative energy research makes isolating the effect of government funding challenging. Factors such as energy prices and environmental policy influence both private and public R&D decisions, and it may take several years for public R&D’s effect on technology to be realized. Here, by combining data on scientific publications for alternative energy technologies with data on government R&D support, the author provides information on the lags between research funding and new publications and links these articles to citations in U.S. energy patents.
The author finds that $1 million in additional government funding leads to one to two additional publications, but with lags as long as ten years between initial funding and publication. Finally, the author shows that adjustment costs associated with large increases in research funding are of little concern at current levels of public energy R&D support. These results suggest that there is room to expand public R&D budgets for renewable energy, but that the impact of any such expansion may not be realized for some time.