This study is concerned with trends in and key features of policies and programmes used by governments to support innovation in the business sector. The study has been prepared at the request of, and with financial support from, Industry Canada.
This study addresses trends in and key features of public policies and programmes to support innovation in business. It was prepared at the request of, and with financial support from, Industry Canada.
Business innovation policies
This chapter describes the context for the study, and reflects on some of the main findings as they relate to policy challenges faced by Canada and other countries. Key trends in business innovation policies and their rationales are summarised. Observations are also made on the merits and demerits of direct and indirect support measures, such as grants and R&D tax credits respectively. Consideration is also given to the overall policy mix – the combination of policy instruments deployed to achieve policy goals.
Public support for business R&D
This chapter assesses countries’ support to private investment in R&D. It provides an overview of current policies, describing both direct support instruments (e.g. direct procurement, grants and subsidies for R&D) and indirect instruments (e.g. R&D tax credits) used by the seven countries examined. General observations are drawn on the relative merits and demerits of direct and indirect support. Countries’ overall mix of policies, notably the balance between direct and indirect support, is also discussed.
Non R&D-based public support for business innovation
This chapter reviews other forms of government support for business innovation. Non R&D-based innovation support is of growing importance. In recent years, government support has shifted towards measures to ease the creation and development of early ventures through seed investment, venture capital and commercialisation programmes. Non R&D-based support for innovation has also sought to facilitate the creation and diffusion of knowledge to firms through initiatives to promote networks of different sorts, including regional innovation hubs (centres of excellences) and a range of programmes aimed at assisting firms’ access to information and expertise.
Demand-side policies to support innovation
This chapter reviews and assesses countries’ policies and programmes to stimulate demand for innovation. It presents the motivation, rationale and scope of demand-side policies and provides examples of different national strategies and approaches. The policy instruments reviewed include innovation-based public procurement, technology-oriented regulations, product standards and the European Union’s Lead Market Initiative.
Evaluating public support for innovation in business
This chapter considers a number of conceptual, practical and institutional issues in the evaluation of direct and indirect support for private sector research and innovation. Challenges and possible approaches to the evaluation of demand-side innovation policy are also examined. The emphasis is placed on methodological challenges, rather than the content of findings from evaluation studies. Examples are drawn from the seven countries considered in this report, although work from other countries is also used where the evaluation record is instructive. The chapter concludes with a series of selected lessons learned.
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