Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Evaluation

Course overview

  • Next date: 27, 28 and 29 September 2021, 12.00-4.00pm (BST).
  • Delivered by: Ms Kate Barker, Professor Jonatan Pinkse, Professor Erik Arnold and Dr Effie Amanatidou.
  • Teaching: Lectures and interactive group exercises
  • Location: Virtual Course, Zoom
  • View our 2021 Course Brochure
  • Download our Application Form.

Through science, technology and innovation (STI) policy, the government incentivises research and innovation activity to deliver a broad range of economic and societal objectives. There are numerous rationales for STI policy intervention, and the government has many policy instruments at its disposal. To know whether the STI policy objectives have been achieved and the appropriate policy instruments have been used, evaluation is indispensable.

STI policy evaluations are increasingly understood as an essential learning tool. They help to make policymakers and implementers improve the way they design and operate policies and make them better understand their specific contexts. In addition, governments and taxpayers require credible and robust justification that the economic and societal policy objectives are being achieved in an efficient, effective and economic manner.

Building on a long-running residential course, this year we offer an online course about the key aspects of STI policy evaluation and the most effective use of evaluation tools. Through a combination of brief online lectures and interactive sessions, you will learn about the rationale for STI policy evaluation and get experience with the design of specific evaluation tools and methods.

We take a hands-on approach where you will learn the first steps of developing an STI policy evaluation protocol. We provide agile and rapid training on common rationales, approaches, frameworks, methods and types of outcomes related to various evaluation practices. Our approach enables an intense interaction between course participants as they gain insights and new knowledge on state-of-the-art evaluation practices.

We aim the course at professionals working in organisations which are performing or subject to STI policy evaluations. Participants ideally come with some experience but this is not essential. After taking the course, participants will have an improved understanding of the debates and contexts surrounding STI policy evaluation and be able to situate their own organisation’s evaluation practices within these. The course is not about learning the details of methods. Participants learn about the state of the art in the design of evaluations to generate learning and satisfy accountability within a broader public policy environment.

The course is structured around three interactive workshops delivered over a three half-day programme.

Course Programme

Half-day 1

Topic: The rationale for STI policy evaluation

Lecture: Trends, state-of-the-art and principles of STI policy evaluation

Workshop: In the workshop, illustrative cases of recent STI policy evaluations will be analysed. Participants will learn more about key decisions in the evaluation process. Through interactive discussions and debate, participants will gain insight into the rationale, scope and outcome of recently conducted STI policy evaluations.

Half-day 2

Topic: The design of an STI policy evaluation                      

Practical: Using the case examples of the first day, participants will learn which evaluation methods and indicators have been used and why. Through an interactive exercise, participants will retrace the steps of the evaluators and assess what the underlying logic was of the evaluations. In doing so, participants will gain experience with designing an evaluation’s logic chart.

Lecture: Evaluation methods, indicators, and impact assessment

Half-day 3

Topic: Challenges of STI policy evaluation

Lecture: Evaluation of complex programmes, organisations, and networks

Practical: In an interactive debate, the current challenges of STI policy evaluation will be discussed. Issues that will be covered include the increased expectation for STI policy to contribute to addressing challenges such as the economic recovery from COVID-19 and climate change; the complexity of measuring social and economic impact; and how to make sure that STI policy stays within financial constraints.