Measuring the Impact of the Innovation Union

Innovation lies at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, aimed at facing major structural changes, the increase of global competition and the current crisis, and to tackle major societal challenges such as climate change, energy and resource scarcity, health and ageing. The Innovation Union has the objective of strengthening Europe’s potential for innovation, and has set out 13 general objectives and 34 specific policy commitments associated with these objectives.

Photo: Kay Kim

Photo: Kay Kim

This project will deliver a system of assessment for these commitments. The approach starts with the evaluation of the state of achievement of the individual commitments, but puts crucial emphasis on their effects on the innovation system as a whole, as well as on the wider economic effects of innovation. The idea  is to retrace the chain of effects of these commitments, from their implementation to their final impact in terms of competitiveness, growth and employment.

The specific tasks through which this will be achieved are:

  • Data collection and identification of mechanisms;
  • Developing theoretical and econometric models in order to estimate the impact of the commitments;
  • Developing a conceptual model of the innovation system, leading to a reference tool on which the impact analysis of the commitments individually and overall will be based, and which will also serve as an interface between the assessments of the commitments’ impact and the macro sectoral econometric work;
  • A quantitative analysis of the commitments using the NEMESIS model, which is an existing macro-structural econometric model, but which will be modified and extended for the tasks at hand;
  • An ex-ante and ex-post policy assessment of the economic effects of the Innovation Union at the European, national and regional levels;
  • To present policy conclusions and recommendations on the validation or the efficiency of the policies implemented.

These tasks are broken down into ten work packages which can then be grouped into six clusters:

  • Strengthening the knowledge base and reducing fragmentation;
  • Getting good ideas to market;
  • Governance of innovation;
  • The Innovation System Model and scientific coordination;
  • The macro-sectoral model;
  • Administration and dissemination.

Expected impacts of I3U

The project will provide new insights for the Horizon 2020 framework by determining which elements of the Innovation Union work well and areas for improvement. It will contribute to policymaking at the EU, national and regional level by enhancing knowledge of economic mechanisms related to policies, and providing tools that go beyond the traditional mono-policy assessment tools. It is hoped that I3U will give us a better understanding of the link between innovation and employement, of the concept of efficicency, and the entire structure of the innovative process.

Who benefits from I3U?

Because of its strong emphasis on policy evaluation, it will primarily benefit the following groups:

  • Politicians and decision makers;
  • The research community;
  • Other projects.

The general public will also benefit by becoming more aware of innovation initiatives; by gaining understanding of how the Innovation Union works and how its success can be evaluated; and by gaining an overview of how policies are changing to encourage RD&I.