• National strategies for science, technology and innovation (STI) serve several functions in government policy making. First, they articulate the government’s vision regarding the contribution of STI to their country’s social and economic development. Second, they set priorities for public investment in STI and identify the focus of government reforms (e.g. university research funding and evaluation systems). Third, the development of these strategies can engage stakeholders ranging from the research community, funding agencies, business, and civil society to regional and local governments in policy making and implementation. In some cases, national strategies outline the specific policy instruments to be used to meet a set of goals or objectives. In others, they serve as visionary guideposts for various stakeholders.

  • The term governance is generally ill-defined and has gained a range of meanings. For the purposes of this profile, the definition of STI governance is limited to the set of publicly defined institutional arrangements, including incentive structures and norms, that shape the ways in which various public and private actors involved in socioeconomic development interact when allocating and managing resources for innovation. The emphasis on interaction naturally raises issues of co-ordination, and failures in governance are, more often than not, related to failures of co-ordination.

  • The role of evaluation is to generate information about the appropriateness and effectiveness of public policy interventions. This information can be used to assess and enlighten processes of learning around policy practices and performance, stimulate discussions among actors (e.g. about appropriate evaluation criteria), signal quality and reinforce reputations (e.g. in public research), and allow policy makers to account for public spending choices. Evaluation results may prompt a re-positioning of policies and programmes, shape the allocation or re-allocation of public funding (e.g. more generous block grants to top-performing universities) and inform the development of national STI strategy.