Thesis title: The frontiers of valorisation of academic research in France
Supervisor: David Pontille
Since the 1990s, there has been a succession of public policies encouraging the “valorisation of public research”. This consists of opening up the use of research results to beneficiaries other than academic actors, by defending the merits of a “return to society” of tax-funded research. It benefits from dedicated services and funding schemes, presenting valorisation activities as career enhancement or civic involvement on the part of research staff. This thesis claims to define (in the double sense of delimiting and qualifying) valorization and to show how it is the result of a distributed work that redraws the boundaries of scientific activity. The investigation, equipped with the tools of Science and Technology Studies and conducted within the CNRS, pays particular attention to the operations of different types of actors, including administrative and managerial ones, in order to constitute valorization projects. It documents the way in which the very boundaries of valorisation are negotiated, and how these negotiations embody project-based institutional accounting, epistemological conceptions of scientific excellence, systems of evaluation and career advancement, political conceptions of the place of the scientist in society, and definitions of ‘society’ itself. This thesis thus allows for a fresh discussion of what has been described and criticised in the literature as ‘academic capitalism’ or ‘neo-liberalisation of research’. Always indexed to academic activities and carrying an economicization of knowledge within the daily functioning of laboratories, the practices of valorization are constituted as a modality of scientific work.
* According to the summaries present in the bibliographic database