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Donald E. Stokes, Pasteur's Quadrant - Basic Science and Technological Innovation, Brookings Institution Press, 1997


Pasteur's Quadrant lucidly depicts the interaction between research to increase understanding and research for specific applications by describing a Quadrant Model of Scientific Research (pg 73).


Along one axis of the square is the query 'Considerations of use?' and the other 'Quest for fundamental understanding?' The resulting table (below) yields three different research activities.


Quadrant Model of Scientific Research
Considerations of use?
Yes No

Quest for fundamental understanding?

Yes Pure Basic Research (Bohr)

Use-inspired basic research (Pasteur)

No Pure Applied Research (Edison)



While instructive, the quadrant model is a starting point from which the more applicable dynamic model can be created (pg 88). Using Pure Basic, Use-inspired basic, and Pure Applied research as a means, an interaction map is constructed that shows the pathways to go from two separate starting points - Existing Understanding and Existing Technology - to the two endpoints of an Improved Understanding and an Improved Technology.

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