The evolution of high-level science advisory councils in France, the Netherlands and the United States is reviewed in the light of common trends in the relationship of science and government over the past twenty years. The creation of the councils came as a response to similar needs of governments in the domestic and international spheres. The subsequent decline of the advisory councils in all three countries is attributable to the 'bureaucratization' of science policy-making, a slower rate of growth in R&D expenditure, a more goal-oriented approach in governments' sponsorship, changing public attitudes towards science and technology, and the intrinsic difficulties faced by the council members in acting both as scientists and as political advisors. The revitalization of the councils in the mid- 1970s was similarly inspired by emerging needs and institutional developments affecting all three governments. In turn, the distinctive features of each council derive from underlying differences in political organization and culture. These differences are revealed in governmental conceptions of science policy; in the role played by scientists in public affairs; and in the organization of scientific and technological interests in political decision-making.
|Social studies of science
|Published - 1979