Impacts of Innovation Policy: Synthesis of Evidence and Meta-Assessment

Abdullah Gök, University of Manchester

Innovation has gradually moved to a central focal point in policy-making around the globe. It is now widely accepted that innovation policy is key to economic development, having profound impact on how economic value is created, distributed and shared and ultimately supports tackling societal challenges. Despite innovation policy’s ever increased importance, the evidence on how effective government policy is in stimulating, supporting and sustaining innovation is scattered. Building on a conceptualization of innovation policy instruments, this presentation discusses findings from a systematic analysis of available evidence on the impacts of innovation policy. In this paper, we aim to synthesise the results of a meta-evaluation of innovation policy evidence presented at the recently published “Handbook of Innovation Policy Impact” (Edward Elgar). The Handbook compiled, assessed and synthesised available evidence on the effectiveness of innovation policy, resulting in meta-evaluation reports for 15 different types of policy measures and a report on policy mixes. Evidence is drawn primarily from Europe, the US, and other developed economies through an international review of over 1,200 publications and reports (including 216 evaluation reports and 509 academic papers providing evidence).
The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it pulls together overall some “headline lessons” regarding the effectiveness and impacts of the innovation support measures covered in the Compendium. Second, and more importantly, the paper offers observations and insights about the state of the production and use of evidence on innovation policy interventions, including a consideration of evaluation methods, approaches and gaps. Synthesising the main findings across the Handbook, this paper significantly contributes to policy learning in two ways: i) it demonstrates the ways to utilise the existing evidence on innovation policy and ii) it highlights deficiencies in evaluation approaches and methods that can be used to improve the future production of evidence for innovation policymaking. We stress that drawing lessons from existing evidence is highly context dependent. However, we believe that our findings are particularly relevant to developing countries where the existing intramural evidence base is weak and innovation policy learning is generally through direct transfer of extramural instruments without an in depth understanding of the broad vector of possible impact. Furthermore, we focus on lessons for the production and use of evidence which are more universal in nature.

More information on the “Handbook of Innovation Policy Impact”:

More information on the underlying the Compendium of Effectiveness of Innovation Policy Project:

About the speaker
Dr Abdullah Gök is a Lecturer in Innovation, Strategy and Business Economics at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR), Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), University of Manchester. Abdullah is also affiliated with the Centre for Synthetic Biology of Fine and Speciality Chemicals (SYNBIOCHEM). Abdullah's research interests spans three inter-related areas of innovation management and policy. First, he studies emerging technologies and their implications for business strategy and public policy. He is interested in how emerging technologies are developed, governed and commercialised. Abdullah’s second research area relates to formulation, evaluation and impact of innovation policy. He studies how government intervention creates impact on innovative businesses and how this impact is evaluated, particularly by employing an evolutionary view of innovation. His third research area is at the intersection between data and innovation. He utilises data science in studying innovation by developing (“big” and novel) data collection and analysis methods, for instance to identify firms in certain sectors and to study their innovation strategies from unstructured information in their websites. Prior to joining MIoIR in 2006, Abdullah worked at The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) as a policy researcher between 2003 and 2006. Abdullah holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Science and Technology Policy Studies from the METU, Turkey. He completed his PhD in December 2010 at the AMBS, University of Manchester. More information about Abdullah can be found at:

Venue: Conference room (room 0.16 & 0.17)

Date: 03 November 2016

Time: 14:00 - 15:00  CEST