Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

Science, Technology and Innovation, Public policy and organisations (STIP)

Public policy enables, steers and channels knowledge and innovation. Public policies and instruments in science, technology and innovation can reduce market and system failures, shape markets and help stimulate knowledge creation and innovation.


History has shown that it is often public funding that is used to support high risk research, leading to technological breakthroughs and nurturing new industries.

The Institute contributes to a better understanding of the role of the state in creating, maintaining and developing the conditions for science, technology and innovation. By fully understanding the policy process, we conceptualise and advance the understanding of the relationship between governance and funding arrangements on the one hand, and knowledge and innovation production on the other.

Our research strengths within this theme are split into six distinct research areas:

Our research conceptualises innovation policy and instruments; understands and develops further evaluation approaches and methods; and analyses the effects of policy instruments and policy mixes. 

We conceptualise demand-side innovation policies and have a specific focus on public procurement of innovation. The Institute has shaped academic and stakeholder discourse in this area, having worked with policymakers in the OECD, EU, UK and many national and regional bodies. Recent examples of research activities include the ESRC funded UNDERPIN work; the evaluation of the SBRI scheme; and a study on demand based policies for the EU.

This brings together conceptual and empirical research focusing on a set of issues associated with the effects that policy and funding schemes can have on different aspects of the publicly funded science system. An example is the ERC-funded EURECIA study (link) on developing novel ways to study the impact of the European Research Council.

This focuses on the changing role and characteristics of universities at the national, trans-national and regional level. Over the last decade many countries have introduced policies aimed at transforming higher education and changing the role, position and practices of universities. These policies not only vary considerably across national funding and policy spaces, but they also translate into different pressures depending on the organisational characteristics and positioning of the specific university.

The Institute brings mission-oriented research into the core of science policy debate and engagement. Building on a long-standing tradition of analysing the role of governmental labs, we revisit and reconceptualise the production and use of knowledge for policy. One recent study looked at the governance of Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs). The recommendations have been taken up in the form of a new set of Cabinet Committee-approved guidelines that all government departments now follow.

We are a pioneer in the use of foresight methodology to inform and shape STI policy and strategy. While most foresight studies and applications are done in the context of STI policy, this is an activity that reaches beyond the STIP theme too. Foresight methodologies are used by variety of intellectual domains and have very clear practical applications.

Research Theme Leaders
Jakob Edler / Maria Nedeva

About us

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research is a centre of excellence in the field of innovation studies, building on a 50-year tradition of innovation and science studies in Manchester.

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