About the observatory

Research and Innovation missions are much discussed and seen as a policy direction that may provide answers to today’s complex challenges. Many stakeholders are attracted by the mission concept,  the discussion should go beyond the concept. As our in depth empirical research has shown, there is no one-size-fits all mission, and missions vary significantly in many aspects such substance, governance, scope and stakeholder involvement. Much depends on the context and the thematic focus. This observatory brings together an inventory of more than 44 initiatives world wide and 18 in depth case studies. They are analysed along the key characteristics and directly comparable.

The observatory on mission-oriented initiatives presents information on policies, programmes, projects and actions undertaken around the world at various levels by governments, international organizations, civil society, and businesses that contribute to cope with and solve societal and technological challenges in the fields of circular economy, climate change, energy, food and bio-economy, health, re-industrialisation, security and transport.

These have been identified by the the Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP) and its partners  (TNO, Tecnalia, Joanneum Research, VTT and with DTI) in the context of the 2017-2018 Study “Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation, Inventory and characterisation of initiatives” commissioned by the European Commission (see below).

The purpose of the observatory is to provide an information basis for enhanced understanding of the initiatives and the features of mission-orientation and to facilitate comparison between different initiatives. It thus serves as a platform for collecting and dissemination relevant information for policy-makers as well as experts.

Communication of feedback and comments

The Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP) welcomes additional information and relevant comments on the existing initiatives.

Propositions for improvement and further elaboration of the information can be communicated by using the contact form.

The study “Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation, Inventory and characterisation of initiatives”

In the context of the preparation of Horizon Europe, the study collects and analyses evidence of current and recent mission-oriented research and innovation initiatives in European Member States and other major economies around the world. The study includes a desk research improving the understanding of mission-oriented R&I initiatives, a definition, and an inventory and analysis of over forty ongoing initiatives (of which seven in depth cases) addressing major global challenges, such as climate change, health, ageing or food security. The analyses explore implementation and management, including their governance structure, the policy mix as well as the monitoring systems and evaluation mechanisms. The Study highlights that there is a plurality of mission-oriented R&I initiatives. Directionality and intentionality nevertheless differentiate them from other initiatives, such as those that are challenge-driven. The success of these initiatives highly depends on pre-conditions, such as institutions and policies already in place as well as existing capacities and knowledge.

The Final report is available at the European Union Publications Office.