Impact Assessment of Innovation Policy

Assessing the impacts of knowledge transfer and policy - OECD project

The OECD project ‘Assessing the impacts of the policy mix for knowledge transfer between industry and science’ analyses the impacts of public research institutions on innovation performance, and explores the range of policy instruments implemented across countries to support science-industry knowledge transfer. 

The 2017-18 project is implemented by  the Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP) under the auspices of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP).


The project in short (PDF)

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Launch of the project final report in London

Digital Catapult Centre

10-12 April 2019

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The new database of governance of public research is now online

With more than 100 indicators, the new OECD Database on Governance of Public Research Policy (RESGOV) provides unique information on country features as well as OECD-wide trends of governance of public research policy. Its purpose is to support policy analyses that help inform governments designing more effective public research policies. The data covers 35 OECD countries for the year 2017 with additional information on reforms going back to 2005. The data is made freely available online for download at

The data reveals that higher education institutions (HEIs) and public research institutes (PRIs) feature prominently in national science, technology, and innovation (STI) strategies. They are expected to contribute to raising national R&D intensity and to address societal challenges. In the context of more autonomous HEIs and PRIs, governments make increasing use of performance contracts, project funding and evaluations conducted by specialised agencies.  13 of 35 (37%) countries have introduced performance contracts for HEIs, highlighting a trend towards formalised performance structures across the OECD. 19 of 34 countries (59%) have specialised agencies for evaluation, 5 of which were created since 2005. For more information on the policy indicators and methodology, see Borowiecki, M. and Paunov C. (2018).

Project activities (2017-18)

Assessing the impacts of knowledge transfer and policy

This project has two strands of work:

1. Assessing the impacts of research institutions on innovation performance 

Cross-country statistical evidence on the contributions of public research on innovation is scarce. Moreover, little is known about the importance of different impact channels and on how the characteristics of industry and research facilitate or weaken knowledge transfer. 

This activity produces new cross-country evidence (based on a newly compiled dataset of 23,600 universities and public research institutes of 36 countries). Key questions include the following: 

  • What are the effects of research institutions on innovation (as identified by geographical proximity between new universities and industry patenting)? 
  • What are trends in patent activity of research institutions and how do they relate to industry inventions?


2. Policy instruments and mixes for science-industry knowledge transfer

A variety of policy instruments aim at fostering industry-research knowledge flows. These include, among others, grants for collaborative research, financial support to university spin-offs, mobility schemes for researchers and open access to publicly-funded research.

This activity conducts a mapping of policies implemented across OECD countries to support science-industry knowledge transfer, and explores potential synergies and unintended negative effects of the coexistence of several different instruments.

This project also builds on evidence from 16 country case studies, which explore interactions of new instruments with existing policy mixes.

Project activities (2015-16)

Assessing the impacts of public research

Overview of project activities (2015-16)

The project had three strands of work:

1. Characterising different university systems and their impacts

The objective was to provide new empirical evidence on the impacts of university systems on research, education and innovation outcomes. There are two topics for analysis: (1) Characterisation of different national university systems; and (2) Characteristics of university systems and impacts on innovation at regional level.

2. Mapping of public research policies

The objective was to develop cross-country indicators of the governance of public research policies. Such comparable data will allow for learning about cross-country differences in policy approaches.

3. Assessing the contribution of specific scientific disciplines to industrial innovation

The objective was to provide evidence on the contributions of specific scientific disciplines to specific industry sectors. Such evidence allows for better identifying research priorities and contributions in view of industry needs. This activity also analyses the different metholodogical approaches for best conducting such assessments. 


For further details on these activities, please click here.

Past events

  • CSTP Workshop on Assessing the Impact of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments with Common Objectives – Paris, October 2014 
  • OECD-Estonia Workshop on Impact Assessment: Practices, Techniques and Policy Challenges – Tallin, May 2014

Relevant OECD reports

Background information

Presentation 2015-16 project

Recent events

Workshop "Towards effective science-industry co-creation"organised jointly by the OECD and the MIT Innovation Initiative

Paris, 5 December 2018

Preliminary takeaways from the workshop