How Lessons From Processes of Knowledge Production Can Contribute To Transformative Innovation Policy For Systemic Change



Currently, national and supranational governments are developing mission-oriented policy, thereby following the ideas on how to design innovation policy as developed by Mariana Mazzucato (2011; 2017; 2018)[1]. Mission-orientated innovation policy is seen here as a manifestation of what Schot & Steinmueller (2018) identified as ‘transformative innovation policy’, whereby, through science, technology and innovation policies, societal needs are met and issues of sustainable and inclusive societies are addressed at a more fundamental level. The question that guides our projects is: How can transformative innovation policy profit from lessons about ways to deal with challenges in processes of knowledge production for sustainable innovation? With our research, next to a scientific contribution, we aim to inform innovation policies in the Netherlands with such components of mission orientation in its design and its goals. Three challenges for science-based innovation that are informative for innovation policy were identified earlier (Blankesteijn, 2019). The challenges relate to 1. the lack of legitimacy of the actors involved in innovative technology development for sustainable practices 2. decreasing support for a strong role of the government in innovation 3. regulatory barriers preventing the upscaling of technologies aiming at sustainable innovation. Research projects that are currently undertaken aim at further developing such an understanding, based on identifying barriers and drivers that can be deduced from processes of knowledge production and their relative success in upscaling the technologies developed. Using a mixed-method multiple case study research design, the sectors researched are water management sector, the energy sector and health care sector. These sectors are 1. strongly science driven and 2. experience an urgent need to become more sustainable 3. develop experiments in order to maximize the chance of the technology being upscaled to a more systemic level. With the help of insights based on research in three sectors, eventually overall lessons are drawn on ways to design innovation policy to optimally support such initiatives. These will be communicated through scientific papers. These lessons will be co-developed with and distributed by practitioners, policy makers and scientists working as physicists and chemists as well. The projects run in the period 2017-2024.

Project Resources

From measuring to removing to recovering phosphorus in water management in the Netherlands: Challenges for science-based innovation

Closed-open innovation strategy for autonomous vehicle development

Understanding the Governance of the Engaged and Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century: Towards a New Research and Policy Agenda

Smart Specialization Strategies and the Role of Entrepreneurial Universities

WANNEER WORDT WATERKWALITEIT EEN PROBLEEM? Over het ontstaan van samenwerking tussen waterbeheerders en wetenschappers


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Submission Number: 11