9. Public organisations for science and innovation, the same designs for new outcomes?

Convenors: Rodrigo Cevallos, Arthur Moreira and Emanuela Reale.

Session type: Speed talk session.

Under the framing of transformative change, most of the public organisations both funding organizations  and  research  performer  organizations,  devoted  to  Science,  Technology  and Innovation (STI) confront a dichotomy, either to maintain their features and characteristics aligned with the momentum of the previous framings – national innovation systems and the linear model – or to modernise. Recent studies have nourished the stock of knowledge with heuristics and classifications, facilitating the analysis of differences among public organisations for STI. Meanwhile, the knowledge gap in the understanding of the organisations’ roles, has not been problematised to the extent that comprises the whole array of configurations – the organisations’ puzzle – that the types of organisations involved in the process of STI policies can adopt and their results (neither cross-section nor their longitudinal development).

This theoretical framing engages with the discussion on the tension concerning (original or new) organisations and new demands, in the context of a bilateral interpellation between civil societies and governments. The societal demanded roles for public organisations for STI currently comprise how to address missions to tackle grand challenges, to devise responsible research and innovation, to design and implement transitions for sustainable growth, and also the growing disputes of deliberative democracy. The process to acknowledge these roles must deal with the inertia of the design of public organisations that were planned for different objectives.

Moreover, the comparative trend of public funding mainly oriented to impactful science and translational research towards innovation has rooted from the local to the supranational level looking for a balance between the two. This novelty affects the different phases of governmental policies for STI. Specifically, organisations play a double role in this regard, both as part of the implementation of a policy design and as an implementer of the policy as well. Characterising the change that organisations have experienced to be sensitive to their new landscape would shed light regarding the definitions and implications of these changes.

In this conference track, we aim to foster the discussions regarding public organisations for STI and the organisational architecture towards the new configuration of societal demands. We expect to motivate discussions between senior and junior scholars from the full range of public organisations for STI, stretching from purely public organisations, hybrid organisations (public-private) and comparative studies between public and private.  Guiding questions and ideas for communications participating in this track include (but are not exclusive):

  • How has the organisational architecture of public organisations for STI changed to address the new challenges of STI policy?
  • How has the strategical and operational design of different types of public organisations for STI changed to address the new challenges of STI policy?
  • Which new types of organisations have emerged to tackle new challenges of STI policy?
  • How are public organisations of the strategical/political level coping the new challenges of STI policy?



Breznitz, D., Ornston, D., & Samford, S. (2018). Mission critical: The ends, means, and design of  innovation  agencies.  Industrial  and  Corporate  Change,  27(5),  883-896. doi:10.1093/icc/dty027.

Lepori, B., & Reale, E. (2019). The changing governance of research systems. agencification and  organisational  differentiation  in  research  funding  organisations.  In  D.  Simon,  S. Kuhlmann, J. Stamm & W. Canzler (Eds.), Handbook on science and public policy (). Norhampton: Edward Elgar.

Cevallos, R. & Merino-Moreno, C. (forthcoming). National Policy Councils for Science, Technology and Innovation: A scheme for structural definition and implementation. Science and Public Policy. Accepted: May 18th, 2020. doi: 10.1093/scipol/scaa052.