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This paper provides an integrative literature review of the research on the impact of the public funding of basic research, extending previous work done at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, East Sussex, UK. "Impact" is measured in terms of publications, patents, new drugs, employment, and new start-up companies. The primary focus of this paper is on empirical studies of the impact of biomedical research. However, a few key theoretical papers and empirical papers with a broader industrial focus are also reviewed to provide a more complete perspective. Conclusions, including an alternative view that basic research need not be public supported, and future research opportunities in this area are also discussed.