This chapter presents the author's argument that most or even all contract research (CR) in universities could and should be located in other institutional environments. By setting university-based CR in a wider epistemic context, author sought to characterise our supposed knowledge society and then, on this basis, he took issue with the way British universities are today governed. Having diagnosed current maladies author suggests a new identity and role for universities, inspired by one historic vision and the political philosophy known as civic republicanism. Knowledge produced through systematic inquiry is today seen as vital in order to address a range of public policy problems and to serve the needs of diverse civil society organisations. This chapter explains political theory. To round-out the normative vision of the university, in light of long-term erosion of its institutional autonomy in Britain and elsewhere, author briefly connect it to the idea and reality of the public.