Main Article Content
Areas of knowledge are developed from teaching and research initiatives. These initiatives come from agents who have some type of interest (economic or non-economic) in this development. Among the agents, the Public Research Institutes (PRIs) are fundamental for the evolution of areas of knowledge in the National Innovation Systems (NIS). This research analyzes how a PRI can develop its institutional agency capacity in order to enable the advancement of an area of knowledge in terms of research and teaching. In order to demonstrate the development of agency capacity, the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA) was analyzed, because it is recognized nationally and internationally and has effectively contributed to the advancement of mathematics in the Brazilian NIS. A content analysis of documents, videos, and interviews was carried out. This research contributes to studies on the NIS and education policy, by incorporating recent discussions on institutional theory, more specifically, institutional agency into these literatures. The results showed that the institutional agency capacity of researchers to influence government institutions and the scientific community, as well as civil society, allowed the PRI to promote research and teaching initiatives, resulting in the development of an area of knowledge.
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