16.441 small business research

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Jan 24 2003 - 03:04:19 EST

  • Next message: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 441.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 07:47:11 +0000
             From: "P. T. Rourke" <ptrourke@methymna.com>
             Subject: Education of Engineers - Small Business Research

    Dr. McCarty,

    I don't know if this will interest anyone, as it is quite far from the
    usual topics of conversation on Humanist (and so if it is not posted, I
    will not be at all surprised or disappointed) and quite far, too, from the
    interests of working humanists, but I thought it worth mentioning.
    > At the same time, she notes, there is a very strong "back to practice"
    > movement within engineering that she identifies with the growing
    > market-orientated forces. The consulting practice that once bridged
    > university labs with businesses has been drastically weakened as companies
    > realize that they "can get the benefit of good research ideas by investing
    > in and eventually buying up small companies, which pay more attention to
    > marketability, timeliness, and productivity than university labs."

    Larger companies can get the benefit of good research by hiring small
    companies, not only by investing in them and buying them up. That is what
    my employers do (a small R&D company of about 150 persons, most of them
    working scientists and engineers, more than half holding doctorates):
    provide research to other companies as a contracted service. A discussion
    of such Contract Research Organizations can be found in the article linked

    Weiss, Robert F., "Science for Hire: The Emergence of Contract Research

    What this has to do (my own comments, not Prof. McCarty's) with the
    concerns of the humanities computing discipline I cannot say. It has seemed
    to me that the implications of Prof. McCarty's posting are that there are
    parallels between humanities computing and for instance bioinformatics that
    might have relevance to the growth of the former discipline, and that the
    key distinction is in the obvious commercializability of bioinformatics'
    core materials.

    Patrick Rourke

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