EU REAWATCH: research and innovation policy analysis
Experiences and expectations from an improved policy monitoring platform<br />Per M. Koch, Inno Policy Trendchart/ERAWATCH Workshop, Oslo, August 30 2011<br />
What policy makers want is not necessarily what they need<br />
The benchmarking malaise<br />Policy makers need benchmarking data <br />to legitimize increased spending (“We are lagging behind”)<br />to document success (“We are best in the world”)<br />to make an extremely complicated case as simple as possible (3 percent of GDP)<br />We are number fetishists<br />The prestige of the natural sciences<br />The power of macro economics and the ministries of finance<br />A necessary evil<br />Trendchart/ERAWATCH need to contextualize popular indicators and help policy makers understand the unique properties of their own innovation system<br />Disencourage copy paste politics<br />
The philosophy of evidence based policy development<br />“…helps people make well informed decisions about policies, programmes and projects by putting the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation” (P Davies, 1999) <br />Vs. “opinion-based policy, which relies heavily on either the selective use of evidence … or on the untested views of individuals or groups, often inspired by ideological standpoints, prejudices, or speculative conjecture.” (P Davies 2004)<br />
The myth of evidence based policy-development<br />“…policy making must be soundly based on evidence of what works” Professional Policy Making for the Twenty-First Century (UK Cabinet Office, 1999) <br />But how to you prove what works?<br />Any social and economic phenomena is a result of interaction between a limitless number of factors<br />Society is constantly changing, a moving target<br />Any interpretation of the reality underlying policy-development will be only that: an interpretation<br />Researchers are as fallible as other experts, anchored in their own belief systems and prejudices. The expert should not be a disembodied “objective” voice.<br />You risk basing your analysis on the indicators that exist, not the ones you need.<br />
Balance between facts and experience based analysis<br />The narrative is as important as the facts.<br />The Innovation Union scoreboard in isolation does more damage than good.<br />The expert should be visible.<br />
The two cultures<br />The research and innovation policy arena continues to be divided into at least two cultures in most countries:<br />The science culture, with focus on:<br />Universities <br />Basic science, alternatively “free” science<br />Academic input and output (No. of researchers, funding, publishing)<br />The innovation culture, with focus on:<br />Manufacturing (and to a lesser degree: services)<br />Applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship<br />Industrial input and output (funding of R&D, innovative capabilities, patents)<br />
ERAWATCH vs. Trendchart<br />The ERAWATCH vs. Trendchart dichotomy mirrors this cultural divide<br />Makes it harder to avoid black boxing science<br />Makes it harder to understand research as a tool for learning in companies<br />Makes it harder to understand industry as part of the science system<br />May leave out areas that are normally not considered by the two cultures:<br />Public sector innovation and the interactions between the corners of the knowledge triangle<br />Public and private services<br />The role of culture, art, design<br />
Steps forward<br />A common database of policy instruments is a huge step forward.<br />Ending the production of critical and analytic country reports on innovation policy is not.<br />There should be one common ERAWATCH/Trenchart gateway online.<br />
Country reports vs. cross-country analysis<br />The country reports are mainly used by policy makers in the relevant nations, if at all.<br />A need to make them more visible in the national policy landscape.<br />Make use of national reports in regional conferences and workshops<br />Example: Nordforsk and NICE.<br />An even stronger focus on thematic reports and reviews on the innovation side<br />
The European Inventory of Research and Innovation Policy Measures<br />Some suggestions.<br />1. Governance & horizontal research and innovation policies <br />Access to policy relevant research institutes, think tanks and knowledgeable NGOs/associations<br />2. Research and Technologies<br />Use of foreign research institutions (globalization) <br />3. Human Resources (education and skills) <br />Encouragement of trans-disciplinary research and learning, including the humanities, design and art<br />4. Promote and sustain the creation and growth of innovative enterprises and public and civil sector organizations<br />Support to innovation in the public sector (including the interaction between private and public institutions)<br />5. Markets and innovation culture <br />Measures to establish inter-/multinational collaboration for STI for global/grand challenges (globalization)<br />
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