IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

R&D policy instruments -- a critical review of what we do and don’t know


  • Ben R. Martin


In recent years, the term “policy instrument” has been used frequently with regard to R&D policy and innovation policy. This article examines the development of the term as part of a body of research known as “policy design”. Over the last 50 years, there has been substantial progress in setting policy design on a more systematic basis, with the development of established concepts and analytical frameworks, including various taxonomies of policy instruments. However, with just a few exceptions, this body of research seems to have had little impact in the world of R&D policy. The paper reviews the literature on R&D policy instruments, identifies a number of challenges for R&D policy instruments in the light of four transitions and sets out a research agenda for the study of R&D policy instruments, before ending with a number of conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben R. Martin, 2016. "R&D policy instruments -- a critical review of what we do and don’t know," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 157-176, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:23:y:2016:i:2:p:157-176
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2016.1146125

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Bellucci & Luca Pennacchio & Alberto Zazzaro, 2019. "Public R&D subsidies: collaborative versus individual place-based programs for SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 213-240, January.
    2. David Urbano & Andreu Turro & Sebastian Aparicio, 2020. "Innovation through R&D activities in the European context: antecedents and consequences," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 45(5), pages 1481-1504, October.
    3. Pijus Krūminas, 2019. "Public R&D under different electoral rules: evidence from OECD countries," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 300-329, September.
    4. Jakob Edler & Jan Fagerberg, 2017. "Innovation policy: what, why, and how," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 2-23.
    5. Jingxiao Zhang & Haiyan Xie & Hui Li, 2017. "Positioning and Priorities of Growth Management in Construction Industrialization: Chinese Firm-Level Empirical Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(7), pages 1-23, June.
    6. Mitze, Timo & Strotebeck, Falk, 2019. "Determining factors of interregional research collaboration in Germany's biotech network: Capacity, proximity, policy?," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 80, pages 40-53.
    7. Ahn, Joon Mo & Lee, Weonvin & Mortara, Letizia, 2020. "Do government R&D subsidies stimulate collaboration initiatives in private firms?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    8. Landoni, Matteo & ogilvie, dt, 2019. "Convergence of innovation policies in the European aerospace industry (1960–2000)," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 174-184.
    9. Marie-Laure Cabon-Dhersin & Romain Gibert, 2017. "Cooperation or non-cooperation in R&D: how should research be funded? ," Working Papers hal-01587014, HAL.
    10. Marie-Laure Cabon-Dhersin & Romain Gibert, 2018. "Cooperation or non-cooperation in R&D: how should research be funded?," Post-Print hal-02006515, HAL.
    11. Markus M Bugge & Lars Coenen & Are Branstad, 2018. "Governing socio-technical change: Orchestrating demand for assisted living in ageing societies," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 468-479.
    12. Andrea Bellucci & Luca Pennacchio & Alberto Zazzaro, 2016. "Public subsidies for SME research and development: Empirical evaluation of collaborative versus individual place-based programs," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 133, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    13. Magro, Edurne & Wilson, James R., 2019. "Policy-mix evaluation: Governance challenges from new place-based innovation policies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(10).
    14. Andreas Pyka & Matthias Mueller & Muhamed Kudic, 2018. "Regional Innovation Systems in Policy Laboratories," Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-18, September.
    15. Leckel, Anja & Veilleux, Sophie & Dana, Leo Paul, 2020. "Local Open Innovation: A means for public policy to increase collaboration for innovation in SMEs," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    16. Francesco Crespi & Serenella Caravella, 2020. "The Role Of Public Procurement As Innovation Lever: Evidence From Italian Manufacturing Firms," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0252, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    17. Jennifer González-Blanco & Mercedes Vila-Alonso & Manuel Guisado-González, 2019. "Public Support Agencies for Innovation in Multilevel Governance Systems: Exploring the Existence of Signs of Complementarity and Substitution," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(20), pages 1-16, October.
    18. Dragana Radicic & Geoffrey Pugh, 2017. "R&D Programmes, Policy Mix, and the ‘European Paradox’: Evidence from European SMEs," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(4), pages 497-512.
    19. Ingold, Karin & Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle & Kammermann, Lorenz, 2019. "The acceptance of instruments in instrument mix situations: Citizens’ perspective on Swiss energy transition," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(10).
    20. Doblinger, Claudia & Surana, Kavita & Anadon, Laura Diaz, 2019. "Governments as partners: The role of alliances in U.S. cleantech startup innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1458-1475.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:23:y:2016:i:2:p:157-176. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.