Histoire de la politique scientifique en Belgique. Une mise en perspective 22 – 23 avril 2005, Salle Marie-Thérèse (1er étage), Palais des Académies, Rue Ducale, 1000 Bruxelles
Journées d’étude du Groupe de contact FNRS Histoire comparée des sciences organisées conjointement avec Studium Generale groupe de contact pour l’histoire des universités
In 1927, King Albert I held a memorable speech in favour of the foundation of a national institute for science funding. One year later, the FNRS/NFWO was created, to become the major institution for promoting scientific research in Belgium. It marked a major turning point in the history of science in Belgium and enabled in due time the development of a modern science policy.
However, the usual emphasis put on this single event, has tended to obscure other aspects of the complex interaction between science, government and industry. Obviously, this interaction did not start in 1928, nor was the creation of the FNRS/NFWO a ready made solution to the long standing problem of stimulating scientific innovation. The gradual expansion of political influence in scientific research was sometimes viewed as harmful for the development of pure science and the necessary objectiveness of scientific studies. The emergence of new professional profiles (assistants, researchers) introduced important changes in the organisation of university staff or the management of research activities.
This workshop will attempt to put the creation of the FNRS/NFWO into its proper historical perspective. Belgian science policy will be analysed on a longer historical time scale. Also, attention will be drawn to key figures and developments in twentieth century science in Belgium. To provide the necessary framework for historical analysis, the Belgian situation will be compared to parallel developments in other European countries.
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