Innovation policy evaluation
An exceptional number of reviews have been made on Finland’s innovation policy in recent years. The OECD review of Finland’s innovation policy was published in June 2017. It gives a number of recommendations for increased productivity, economic renewal, competence development and improved effectiveness of research. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture requested the review to get an internationally respected and independent review of the current state of the Finnish research and innovation system and related structural and content-related development needs.
Other reviews are also being carried out. In June 2018, Professor Erkki Ormala was invited to review the sufficiency of the central government research and innovation funding. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has requested an external independent review of the status and role of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the Finnish research and innovation system. Innovation policy is continuously reviewed as part of other policy processes.
Business Finland will systematically assess the impacts of its measures. It implements a significant part of Finland’s innovation policy measures under the guidance of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The European Commission has published an interim evaluation of the EU’s Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 (2014 to 2020). Horizon 2020 has also been assessed by the High-Level Group on maximising the impact of EU research and innovation programmes. These evaluations will be used in the implementation of the latter part of Horizon 2020 and in the preparations for EU’s next Research and Innovation Programme and other innovation policies.
It is important to review innovation policies to find out how successful and productive they have been and how they and their guidance should be improved. As is the case in all evaluations, it is difficult to prove causal relationships, and there are also other factors influencing innovation beyond the central government’s innovation policy. Despite challenges, it is nevertheless possible to evaluate public policies by using different kinds of methods. Moreover, public policies are such an important factor in promoting innovation and addressing gaps in the system that innovation policy evaluations are always relevant.