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Limited by Design: R&D Laboratories in the U.S. National Innovation System cover
October 1998
Columbia University Press

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Limited by Design

R&D Laboratories in the U.S. National Innovation System
Michael Crow
Barry Bozeman

"Limited by Design" is the first comprehensive study of the varying roles played by the more than 16,000 research and development laboratories in the U.S. national innovation system. Michael Crow and Barry Bozeman offer policy makers and scientists a blueprint for making more informed decisions about how to best utilize and develop the capabilities of these facilities. Some labs, such as Bell Labs, Westinghouse and Eastman Kodak, have been global players since the turn of the century. Others, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, have been mainstays of the military/energy industrial complex since they evolved in the 1940s. These and other institutions have come to serve as the infrastructure upon which a range of industries have relied and have had a tremendous impact on U.S. social and economic history.

Michael Crow and Barry Bozeman illustrate the histories, missions, structure and behavior of individual laboratories and explore the policy contexts in which they are embedded. In studying this large and varied collection of labs, Crow, Bozeman and their colleagues develop a new framework for understanding the structure and behavior of laboratories that also provides a basis for rationalizing federal science and technology policy to create more effective laboratories. 

The book draws upon interviews and surveys collected from thousands of scientists, administrators and policy makers, and features boxed "lab windows" throughout that provide detailed information on the variety of laboratories active in the U.S. national innovation system.


Michael M. Crow became the sixteenth president of Arizona State University on July 1, 2002. An academic leader and educator, he is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution that combines academic excellence, inclusiveness, and societal impact — a model he terms the “New American University.”

Barry Bozeman is the Arizona Centennial Professor of technology policy and public management and founding director of the Center of Organization Research and Design. Bozeman’s research focuses on public management, organization theory and science and technology policy.