Innovation policy evaluation

The impact and effectiveness of research, development and innovation (RDI) funding and other innovation policy measures on companies and society as a whole are assessed from different perspectives and through different methods. The objective is to obtain an objective assessment of the success and effectiveness of the investments and measures made. Based on the results, measures promoting innovation are developed and redirected. The verification of complex causal relationships and the long time span of the impact of innovation policy make the assessment challenging. In addition to measures taken by the Government's innovation policy, many other factors have an impact on the renewal of business and society and on the improvement of wellbeing.

In Finland, the data of Statistics Finland provide a high-quality knowledge base for objective evaluations. Finland's development vis-à-vis other countries can be monitored by means of the Main Science and Technology Indicators statistics of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The European Commission's Innovation Scoreboard provides comparisons with EU countries. Increasing government R&D funding and a broad assessment of societal impact (including impact on sustainable development) require continuous development of the knowledge base and assessment methods.

The most recent extensive international assessment of the effectiveness of Finland's innovation policy is the OECD evaluation of Finland's innovation policy published in June 2017. It gives a number of recommendations for increased productivity, economic renewal,  competence development and improved effectiveness of research. In its country review of December 2022, the OECD also assesses the development of Finland's innovation system and makes recommendations for reforms that would enable Finland to restart the innovation ecosystem and strengthen productivity growth.

The effectiveness of innovation policy measures is also continuously assessed as part of other policy processes. In 2018, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned an external independent assessment of the status and role of the Technical Research Centre VTT Ltd in the research and innovation system (Publications of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2019:16). The role and activities of Business Finland, which started in 2018, as a RDI financier and as a promoter of exports, internationalisation of companies, foreign investments and foreign tourism were assessed in 2020 in an independent evaluation commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (Publications of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021:46). 

Business Finland is responsible for a significant part of the implementation of innovation policy and conducts systematic assessments of the impact of public R&D and innovation funding on companies, industries and the economy as a whole. The effectiveness of RDI subsidies are assessed as part of the assessments commissioned by the Research Division on Business Subsidies

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Teija Palko