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International Approaches to Industrial Innovation Policy – Babbage Forum reports launched

Published on March 8th 2023


A series of reports published by the Babbage Forum provides policymakers with an international overview of approaches to industrial innovation policymaking.

Ten reports, covering industrial innovation policymaking in China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, UK and the US have now been made available by the Babbage Forum. The reports draw on research and interviews with leading policymakers in each country and provide a snapshot of current practices. A summary report ‘Industrial Innovation Policy – Challenges and Opportunities’ is available and may be downloaded here.

Many countries are reviewing their industrial innovation policies against rapidly evolving scientific, technological, societal and geopolitical landscapes. In some, this represents a marked shift in approach involving greater central government engagement with industry. In others, it continues well-established approaches in a changing context.

The Babbage Forum’s newly published reports review practices with new and emerging trends in leading industrial nations. They provide a rich background against which policymakers can develop their responses to changing circumstances.

‘We hope these reports will be of value to policymakers seeking to craft new policies in a rapidly evolving global context. There appear to be many lessons that countries can learn from each other about approaches to industrial innovation policymaking without needing to examine the specific choices. Sharing practices from different countries in a multi-disciplinary context has the potential to enable more systematic approaches to policymaking with implications for more effective deployment of scarce resources.’ IfM founder and Chair of the Babbage Forum, Professor Mike Gregory. 

The reports demonstrate that, while the context and approaches of different countries vary significantly, many face similar challenges. Several themes of particular importance to policymakers have been highlighted. The Forum plans to pursue four of these in greater depth in the coming year with a view to identifying effective practices, tools and approaches. They are:

  • Institutional ecosystems – where more transparent and effective approaches to the mapping and orchestration of complex, connected ecosystems are required
  • Policymaking competencies – where better education and training is required within government and relevant external organisations.
  • Evaluation and Policy learning – where better approaches are needed to connect objectives, outcomes and learning.
  • Industrial capabilities – where more robust approaches to measurement, characterisation and analysis are needed.

The Babbage Forum is a network of leading international figures from engineering, economics and operations management and was established in response to a perceived need for broader disciplinary inputs to the development of industrial innovation policies.

‘The multidisciplinary nature of the Forum and its practical focus are designed to ensure that proposed approaches to industrial innovation policymaking draw upon all the relevant disciplines and lead to useful outcomes for policymakers’ says Professor Gregory.

‘A series of national Babbage meetings in Europe, Asia and USA over the coming months will engage with industrial innovation policymaking communities in each country to provide tangible knowledge, insights and data,’ says Gordon Attenborough, Policy Lead for the Babbage Forum.

‘Reports from these events will detail national perspectives around the four priority themes and facilitate international observations and comparisons to be further developed at a conference in September.’

For further information about the national meetings and September conference scheduled to be held in Cambridge, please contact: S. Cheung Johnson, Babbage Forum Coordinator.

Read the report

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