Research and innovation policy

For nearly two decades already, no debate on economic and social development anywhere on the globe could forgo the buzzword “innovation”. Considered as a silver bullet for prosperity, innovation has become a major concern for a great many national governments, but also for the EU and international agencies like the OECD. They are all eager to stir economic growth and to cope with grand challenges through the promotion of new ideas, products and processes, technical devices and services that would strengthen the international competitiveness of national economies and help them make inroads on global markets. In the wake of the familiar narrative of knowledge societies, today science and technology figure as prime sources and key features of innovation. A country’s intensity of research and development (R&D), as measured by their share of its GDP, and research prowess have come to be viewed as telling indicators for its scientific potential, innovative capacity, and future economic outlooks. Accordingly, science policy, research funding and research governance have turned into an inherent part of the global scramble for innovation. 

This course is to explore the rationales and workings by which national governments and interna-tional institutions set out to harness R&D for innovation. In particular, it will look into the semantic links between research policy and innovation, different trajectories and features of research for innovation, and different institutional settings and public policies deployed in the innovation spiel. Engaging international comparisons will let us identify global goals and approaches in that rapidly changing field yet also capture national idiosyncrasies and legacies.