CIMR Research in Focus 7: Evaluating Public Policy

Innovation and entrepreneurship represent a dynamic, uncertain and fast-paced area of the economy. At times, this can seem at odds with the rigorous and methodological work of academia. Many of the activities of the CIMR aim to bridge the gap between theory and practice, bringing in industry and policymakers to find solutions that work in the real world and to evaluate the impact of public policy. 

Historically, there has been a lack of high-quality evaluation of innovation policy in the UK, as discussed in our debate with Dr Jonathan Potter, OECD, on improving the evaluation landscape in entrepreneurship policy

Understanding the impact of new projects is essential to implement policy measures that provide the intended benefit for society. One such study that is currently underway is an examination of the environmental and socio-economic impact of major construction projects, led by Professor John Glasson, Oxford Brookes University. 

Two research projects by Dr Federica Rossi and colleagues have further explored the unique challenges of evaluating innovation activity: examining how to measure the performance of innovation intermediaries and the network effects of innovation policies

Looking to the European Union, Professor Rinaldo Evangelista asks in a working paper co-authored with Professor Daniele Archibugi and Professor Antonio Vezzani whether EU policies for science and technology, specifically the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, contributed to reduce or to amplify regional differences in innovation. Rinaldo explores how the contrasting objectives of reducing geographical disparities and promoting EU excellence could be achieved in a video discussing the paper

Regional differences are also a concern in the paper ‘Towards a problem-oriented regional industrial policy: Possibilities for public intervention in framing, valuation and market creation’ by Elvira Uyarra and colleagues. The starting point of this paper is that the dominant supply side approach to innovation and industrial policy is insufficient to inform a regional development agenda that can address place-based environmental and societal challenges. Building on political/policy science approaches and sociology of markets and valuation approaches, the authors suggest new possibilities for innovation and industrial policy interventions. 

In the future, governments will need to play an active role in addressing the growing skills gap, which has been the subject of two policy debates this year. In April, CIMR alumnus Matthew Jayes chaired a discussion on rising to the UK’s skills gap, where guest speakers Dr Abigail Taylor and Juliet Eccleston shared their vision for an inclusive future for UK skills. In June, we took a deeper dive into the relationship between region and skills with Dr Maria Abreu, University of Cambridge and Dr Marte C.W. Solheim, University of Stavanger. 

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