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Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

Science, technology and innovation policy

Public policy enables, steers and channels knowledge and innovation.

A woman presenting ideas at a whiteboard.

Public policies and instruments in science, technology and innovation can reduce market and system failures, shape markets and help stimulate knowledge creation and innovation. History has shown that it is often public funding that is used to support high risk research, leading to technological breakthroughs and nurturing new industries. 

We contribute to a better understanding of the role of the state in creating, maintaining and developing the conditions for science, technology and innovation. By fully understanding the policy process, we conceptualise and advance the understanding of the relationship between governance and funding arrangements, on the one hand, and knowledge and innovation production, on the other.

Our research strengths within this theme are in the following research areas:               

  • Science, technology and innovation policy
    Our research conceptualises innovation policy and instruments; understands and develops further evaluation approaches and methods; and analyses the effects of policy instruments and policy mixes. Our conceptual and empirical research focuses on a set of issues associated with the effects that policy and funding schemes have on different aspects of the publicly funded science system. 
  • Demand driven innovation policies and public procurement
    We conceptualise demand-side innovation policies and have a specific focus on  public procurement of innovation. We have shaped academic and stakeholder discourse in this area, having worked with policymakers in the OECD, EU, UK and many national and regional bodies.  
  • Universities and public policy
    We focus on the changing role and characteristics of universities at the national, trans-national and regional level. Over the last decade many countries have introduced policies aimed at transforming higher education and changing the role, position and practices of universities. These policies not only vary considerably across national funding and policy spaces, but they also translate into different pressures depending on the organisational characteristics and positioning of the specific university.
  • Mission oriented policy research
    We bring mission-oriented research into the core of science policy debate and engagement. Building on a long-standing tradition of analysing the role of governmental labs, we revisit and reconceptualise the production and use of knowledge for policy. We study mission-oriented policy implementation at the EU and national levels, analysing transnational partnerships in research and innovation including developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks and assessing impacts on policy, economy and society.
  • Foresight
    We are a pioneer in the use of foresight methodology to inform and shape science, technology and innovation (STI) policy and strategy. While most foresight studies and applications are done in the context of STI policy, this is an activity that reaches beyond the STIP theme too. Foresight methodologies are used by variety of intellectual domains and have very clear practical applications. 

Associated staff