Science, technology and innovation policy

Policy dialogue on S&T Policy 2025 - Enabling transitions through science, technology and innovation



 20 October 2021  Virtual event



Global warming, biodiversity loss, ageing societies, trade and technology tensions – these are among well-known challenges facing societies today and that are set to have profound economic, social and political impacts over the next 30 years. Added to this mix are less predictable, disruptive events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which could occur more frequently in the coming decades. Science, technology and innovation (STI) play major roles in addressing challenges like these, as demonstrated in the STI response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Capitalising on this success, STI can enable a green transition that goes hand-in-hand with new growth opportunities and strengthened productivity growth. However, to realise this potential, there is need to better ‘join-the-dots’ in STI, not just across disciplines and between science and innovation, but also across government departments and at an international level.

This Policy Dialogue, the first in a new series of workshops organised by the OECD’s Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), starts from the premise that governments need to transform their STI policies to deal with multiple challenges. The workshop introduces the S&T 2025 Policy concept, which provides an overarching vision and framework for STI policymakers to rethink, redesign and implement a new generation of STI policies that better contributes to sustainability transitions, resilience and inclusion. It then explores two substantive policy challenges – how to mobilise research and innovation system actors and how to manage STI interfaces with other policy areas – in pursuit of sustainability transitions. 

The S&T Policy 2025 website is available here.



 Panel 1 – Introducing the S&T Policy 2025 concept

While transition timelines are long-term (e.g. net zero targets typically aim for 2050), there is an urgent need to set STI policy on pathways that contribute to long-term socio-technical transitions. The S&T Policy 2025 concept calls for short-term ‘stretch targets’ for the STI policy community to aim for over the next 3-4 years, to put STI on track to make the sorts of contributions future challenges call for. The concept also encompasses the whole of STI policy, drawing together multiple strands (e.g. on STI funding, human resources, governance, etc.) that can be assembled into a crosscutting, overarching schema to provide a holistic overview of the STI policy landscape in transition. In this session, panellists discuss the main gaps and challenges that hinder a transformative STI policy agenda, and how the S&T Policy 2025 project’s activities and outputs could help address these.

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  • Sylvia Schwaag Serger, Lund University and member of the Swedish Prime Minister’s National Innovation Council, Sweden (moderator)
  • Cecilia Cabello Valdés, Director of Operations, Fundación Española para la Ciencia y Tecnología, Spain
  • Dimitrios Pontikakis, Economist, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
  • Tiago Santos Pereira, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Pranpreya Sriwannawit Lundberg, Policy Specialist, Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council, Thailand.


Panel 2 – Mobilising research and innovation system actors for transformations

Socio-technical transitions are systemic by nature, requiring firms, governments, public research actors, and societies more broadly to adapt to meet the sustainability challenge. These actors have their own plans, strategies and agendas that shape the course of transitions. This means system transitions display various degrees of complexity, novelty, uncertainty, and ambiguity, and their course is impossible to predict. But shared visions and cooperation between different parts of the system can help reduce uncertainty and ambiguity, as multiple actors work towards common goals and solutions. Governments can play important roles in mobilising system actors around shared visions and common goals. In this session, panellists discuss the biggest challenges facing governments when trying to mobilise a variety of actors for sustainability transitions, and consider the prospects for novel policy tools, such as mission-oriented innovation policies, to offer solutions.

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  • Sarah Brown, Counsellor for Industry, Science, Energy and Resources at OECD, EU and NATO, Australia Embassy (moderator)
  • Muriel Attané, Secretary General of EARTO, the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations
  • Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland
  • Ben Smith, Senior Adviser, Energy Department, Research Council of Norway
  • Julia Reinaud, Senior Director, Breakthrough Energy
  • Jeanne M. VanBriesen, Director for Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems, National Science Foundation, United States.


Panel 3 – STI interfaces with other policy areas in pursuit of socio-technical transitions

Policy co-ordination and coherence are among the oldest and most prevalent challenges for governments, and are today subject to greater scrutiny as policymakers confront multi-dimensional systemic problems like climate change. Various arrangements have emerged over the years to improve the overall coherence of STI policies, programmes and instruments across a range of government departments and agencies. Yet, there is a wide sense that coordination with other policy areas remains among the biggest challenges that hinder STI policy contributing to sustainability transitions. In this session, panellists discuss how STI is currently “positioned” in government-wide discourses, strategies and initiatives on sustainability transitions, and the practical steps STI policymakers need to take to improve coordination with other policy areas.

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  • Christian Naczinsky, Head of Department for EU and OECD Research Policy, Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Austria (moderator)
  • Daniel Dufour, Director General, Innovation Branch, Natural Resources Canada
  • Maria Benedetta Francesconi, Head of Division for SMEs and Start-ups, Ministry of Economic Development, Italy
  • András Hlács, Education, Digitalisation and STI Counsellor, Delegation of Hungary to OECD and UNESCO
  • Alexandr Hobza, Chief Economist, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Federico Torres, Vice-Minister, Ministry for Science, Technology and Telecommunication, Costa Rica.



  • For further information please contact Michael Keenan indicating "S&T Policy 2025" in the subject line.

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