OECD Country Reviews of Innovation Policy

Innovation policy is becoming an integral part of economic policy in a wide range of countries, both advanced and emerging. The DSTI offers comprehensive country level assessments of national innovation systems, focusing on the role of government. These reviews are a resource for policy makers attempting to leverage innovation to achieve their countries’ goals, be they boosting productivity growth, moving up the value chain, or driving sustainable growth and development.

The reviews, conducted at a country’s request, provide concrete policy recommendations to strengthen the science system, harness technological change, boost economic growth, achieve needed social objectives and create environments conducive to further innovation.

Since the first review in 2006 – of Switzerland’s innovation policy and system – the series has grown rapidly, covering a range of OECD member countries and partner economies. Not only do the reviews provide tailored advice, they also comprise a well-spring of good practices in innovation policy that all countries can learn from. 

Costa Rica, Finland, Kazakhstan and Norway received reviews in 2017. Country reviews are currently being conducted for Koweit, Austria and Portugal. The latter will also include a review of the higher education system. 

Additional information on current and past reviews can be found on the dedicated OECD page.

Rationales for countries to demand a Review of Innovation Policy:

 •       The critical role of innovation in economic development: The increasing recognition of innovation as a major driver of growth has moved innovation policy up on government agendas. The financial and economic crisis has further highlighted the role of innovation in achieving high, sustainable growth.

•       Upgrading and diversification: The role of innovation in upgrading and diversifying countries’ economic activity has become prominent not only in resource-based economies, in countries which perceive themselves as being locked into low value-adding activity and others that are challenged by a changing economic environment and competition.

•       Globalisation and competitiveness: Innovation is an appropriate response to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. A concerted effort to improve innovation capacity provides a sustainable basis for maintaining international price and quality competiveness. 

Latest news

A new macro-level survey on the role of research and development in fostering economic performance in Finland is available on the Finland country review page here

Latest countries reviewed


Kazakhstan 2017

Kazakhstan has put in place key components of a modern research and innovation system. This has helped improve scientific output and resulted in some successes in technology commercialisation. Further commitment and effort will be needed to strengthen innovation capabilities and make the most of Kazakhstan‘s advantages.



Norway 2017

Following a remarkable transformation in the past century in research and innovation, in particular through the development of new technologies and processes in sectors such as oil and gas, shipbuilding and also fisheries and aquaculture, Norway is today increasingly facing a “triple transition imperative” in which it needs, first, to shift toward a more diversified and robust economy; second, to move to a more competitive, effective and efficient innovation system; and third, to support research and innovation activities that can confront an array of societal challenges (climate change, food security, aging, health and so on). 



Finland 2017

Strengthening and lifting Finland’s innovation system out of a period of uncertainty requires a coherent and unified new vision for science, technology and innovation (STI), renewed investment and policy instruments. This vision should be oriented towards renewal tackling societal challenges and developing new knowledge-based competitive advantages at global scale. Success calls for better co-ordination and co-operation among policy actors and national and regional-levels, and further internationalisation. 



Costa Rica 2017

Costa Rica’s successful economic performance and social achievements realised over the last three decades are widely acknowledged. GDP per capita has steadily increased at higher rates than in most Latin American countries as the economy has evolved along its development path from a rural and agriculture-based to a more diversified economy integrated in global value chains. But Costa Rica faces challenges and must enhance and broaden the basis for productivity growth by strengthening its innovation system and enhancing the role of science, technology and innovation in addressing its national development goals.



Malaysia 2016

Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic economies and one of Asia’s great success stories. Its economic and social development over the last half century has been impressive. High economic performance, based on a profound transformation into a diversified economy, coupled with a striking reduction in poverty levels, has brought Malaysia closer to reaching its goal of becoming a high-income country by 2020.



Lithuania 2016

Following independence Lithuania has made much progress in developing the institutions and framework conditions of a modern market-based economy, which provided the basis for Lithuania’s success in narrowing the gap with the more advanced countries in the OECD.But Lithuania is also facing challenges. The gap in income per capita is still large, and the speed of convergence to the OECD average level of income has slowed in recent years.



Sweden 2016

The 2016 Sweden Review of Innovation Policy deepens the 2012 Review by focusing on six policy initiatives central to the 2008 and 2012 Swedish Research and Innovation Bills, notably: 1) the increase in funding for university research, 2) the establishment of Strategic Research Areas, 3) actions designed to enhance the role of research institutes in Sweden’s innovation system, 4) the definition and funding of Strategic Innovation Areas in collaboration with industrial, academic and research institute actors, 5) the initiation of a Challenge-Driven Innovation programme addressing societal challenges, 6) improved prioritisation and support for Swedish participation in European research and innovation activities.


A full list of past reviews can be found here.