Public sector research - core policy instruments


Policies that constitute the innovation "policy mix" are numerous and diverse, reflecting not only the variety of domain areas pertinent to innovation performance, but also the variety of actors and shaping factors at play. Furthermore, some policies may be directed primarily at innovation performance, some may have different primary targets but secondary objectives related to innovation, and others may have entirely different objectives but with unintended consequences for innovation.


The Platform identifies policies through their modulation of shaping factors and actors’ behaviours. In this way, individual policies are largely defined by the shaping factors and actors they seek to influence. The Platform adopts a rather narrow definition of policies, focusing on policy instruments rather than the statements of intent that characterise policy. It acknowledges that individual policy instruments can be used in different ways for a variety of purposes. Moreover, it recognises that policy instruments display interactive (synergistic) effects with respect to one another so that the outcome of the policy mix is not simply the sum of the separable impacts of individual instruments.


The Platform also recognises that instruments and governance arrangements "accumulate" over many years, becoming institutionalised and creating path dependencies for future instrument choice. These dynamics see the emergence of policy styles, whereby some instruments or arrangements are favoured over others. In this sense, policy instruments are not just "tools", but have characteristics related to a political-administrative context. The Platform module covering policy styles and governance arrangements is therefore highly pertinent for any policy analysis and design work.


Each domain module contains information on the core policy instruments relevant to the area. The core policy instruments relevant to public sector research and its contributions to innovation performance are listed to the right. Each policy instrument includes a brief description of its purpose and targets and the effects it can have on relevant shaping factors and actors. In a few instances, e.g. innovation vouchers, Briefs are available containing further analysis.

Public sector research

Module home

   Activities and outcomes

   Key actors

   Shaping factors

   Core policy instruments

Discretionary organisational funding

Competitive R&D project grants

Support for R&D infrastructures

Centres of excellence

Collaborative R&D platforms

Technology platforms

Cluster initiatives

Science and technology parks

University-industry linkage schemes

PhD studentships

Post-doctoral fellowships

Inter-sectoral mobility schemes

Risk capital measures in support of spin-offs

Entrepreneurship training schemes

Technology diffusion schemes

Innovation vouchers

Technology incubators




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