Research and innovation policy learning


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Presentation originally made for the Gordon Conference on Science Policy 2010. On policy learning and innovation in science, technology and innovation policy governance.

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  • Dr Holdren
  • Research and innovation policy learning

    1. 1. Policy Learning and the Role of Science and Technology Policy Research Per M. Koch Head of the Science Policy Project
    2. 2. Personal Background <ul><li>Head of policy learning project in Ministry </li></ul><ul><li>Chair of the OECD STIG-project on STI for global challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Policy director in Research Council of Norway </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher and Director in STEP / NIFU STEP (innovation and innovation/research policy studies) </li></ul><ul><li>STP in the ministry in the 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Member of various OECD working parties </li></ul><ul><li>Adviser in the EU Trend Chart on innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Analyst for EU ERAWATCH (science policy) </li></ul><ul><li>Social science in the EU Framework Programme </li></ul><ul><li>Academic background: The History of Ideas </li></ul>
    3. 3. Focus of this presentation <ul><li>The research and innovation policy area (STP) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning and innovation in the research and innovation policy system </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy in the sense of transparency and stakeholder involvement </li></ul>
    4. 4. Innovation in policy environments <ul><li>Research and innovation policy makers (civil servants and politicians) talk a lot about learning and innovation in industry and the public sector. </li></ul><ul><li>They seldom look at themselves as participants in networks of learning or systems of innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>Science and technology policy studies can help them gain insight into their own roles as policy entrepreneurs. </li></ul><ul><li>But that requires close interaction between STS/STP/Innovation researchers and policy makers. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Organizational charts don’t say anything about learning
    6. 6. There is no learning hierarchy NGOs and stakeholders Ministries Parliament Researchers Consultants Agencies Policy learning arena MEDIA THE PUBLIC INDUSTRY CIVIL SOCIETY Students
    7. 7. Interaction with researchers, experts, policy makers, stakeholders, politicians, citizens. In-house learning based policy innovation Policy makers develop new policies, new policy measures and narratives Ministries: Policy learning and innovation as co-evolution Governance experience Tacit knowledge Acquired knowledge Literature Conferences and workshops Mobility Acquired R&D International co-op. “ societal pull”
    8. 8. Silos as barriers to policy learning <ul><li>The development of internal barriers and “silo mentalities”. Parallel systems maintain their own organisational norms, belief systems and practices. </li></ul><ul><li>Distinct and well-established professional groupings, with their own communities of practice and rationales. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers grounded in narrow belief systems, interests and ideologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Power struggles and turf wars stops flow of knowledge. </li></ul>
    9. 9. This lack of reciprocal learning is a democratic problem <ul><li>Undermines communication and understanding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>between policy makers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between policy makers and researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between policy makers and society </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of transparency </li></ul>
    10. 10. Drivers for policy learning <ul><li>Staff with high levels of professional expertise, exhibiting a high level of creativity and problem solving and a positive attitude to teamwork </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobility of people within the policy system, and between policy and society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researchers with an understanding for policy learning and the political process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment of STS/STP/innovation savvy candidates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NGOs and civil society </li></ul><ul><li>International learning arenas like the OECD and the EU </li></ul><ul><li>Political push and crises </li></ul>
    11. 11. The need for an understanding of the socio-cultural framework of policy making <ul><li>If researchers are to interact with policy institutions they must be aware of their belief systems and master narratives, regardless of policy area. </li></ul><ul><li>Research and innovation policy makers and stakeholders have a special need for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>research on the interaction between S&T and society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The social dynamics of S&T policy development </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. One example: Belief systems <ul><li>The policy makers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The tribe (actor network) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their common belief system (ideology) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their master narratives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The researchers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The tribe (actor network) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their common belief system (paradigm) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their master narratives </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Different belief systems in research and innovation policy <ul><li>Different ministries, agencies and stakeholders speak different languages </li></ul><ul><li>What is most important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic science or innovation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic growth or welfare? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology or culture? </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. There are many policy narratives <ul><li>Reflect different understanding of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What society is and how it works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How research interacts with society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common terms (e.g. “innovation”, “research”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the role of science is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the best theoretical and methodological foundation for policy development is </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. The science narrative <ul><li>Social contract between science and the state </li></ul><ul><li>Supporters in ministries of research, and in universities </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative: Science produces ideas and inventions to be used in society </li></ul><ul><li>Linear model </li></ul><ul><li>Originally influenced by STP </li></ul>
    16. 16. The business narrative <ul><li>Social contract between the business sector and the state </li></ul><ul><li>Supporters in industry and ministries of industry </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative: Industry innovates, which leads to increased productivity and economic growth </li></ul><ul><li>Originally a linear model, now systemic. </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by innovation research </li></ul>
    17. 17. In-house learning based innovation Following the OECD systemic approach: Research is given a new and broader role as a learning tool market pull Through knowledge about customer and competitors the company does analysis of innovation The company brings new or altered products, processes or services on to the market Market competences Tacit knowledge Acquired technology Literature Conferences and fairs Recruits Acquired R&D In-house R&D
    18. 18. Shared properties of the science and business narratives <ul><li>Laissez faire and free competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Researchers: Give us money and we will give you results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry: Do not pick winners! We know what the market needs! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fits well with neoclassical economy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research in a black box outside the economy </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. The social narrative <ul><li>Social contract between the government and its citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Supporters in the EU, the OECD and various national ministries </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative: Research is part of the learning processes of society and institutions. The state must develop strategies for meeting major challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: OECD project for developing mechanisms for research cooperation for meeting global challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Important role for STS </li></ul>
    20. 20. Narrative confusion <ul><li>Policy makers may make use of terminology from another belief system to strengthen their own narrative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Basic research inevitably leads to innovation” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutions may deliberately (?) mix narratives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>European Research Council and EU 3% objective: Linear </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The terms may be misunderstood </li></ul><ul><ul><li>South Africa: National System of Innovation often equals the institutional structure and not the system </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. STP and innovation researchers can <ul><li>Study and deconstruct belief systems and narratives </li></ul><ul><li>Help policy makers understand their own socio-cultural landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Help outsiders gain insight into the same landscape, making it easier for them to influence processes </li></ul><ul><li>Makes close researcher/policy maker interaction a necessity </li></ul>
    22. 22. Traditional view of evidence based policy learning has to be abandoned Independent researchers or experts Civil servants Politicians The wall of disinterested objectivity
    23. 23. This must be an interactive learning arena Independent researchers (experts) Civil servants (experts) Politicians (experts) Stake-holders (experts) They are all experts in their field, some in science, others in policy
    24. 24. What about scientific independence and the critical view? <ul><li>The larger the distance between the policy maker and the researcher, the less likely the researcher is to understand governance, and the less relevant the research will be. </li></ul><ul><li>Real independence is displayed through the ability to offer critical analysis and advice </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers need alternative sources of funding </li></ul><ul><li>The research should be exposed to both public and scientific debate </li></ul>