The Innovation Policy of the European Union

The Innovation Policy of the European Union

From Government to Governance

Susana Borrás

Adopting a strong interdisciplinary approach, the author skilfully examines the politics and economics of the new innovation policy of the EU, addressing such diverse topics as research and knowledge production, the changing regime of intellectual property rights, building the information society, standard setting, risk assessment and the social sustainability of innovation. The conclusions pose many theoretical questions which will require further research, most notably the extent to which EU innovation policy underpins a European system of innovation.

Chapter 1: Analysing the Innovation Policy of the European Union

Susana Borrás

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy, politics and public policy, european politics and policy


Technology works in Europe as a double engine: an engine for growth and an engine for integration. John Peterson and Margaret Sharp (1998), Technology Policy in the European Union. London, Macmillan. INTRODUCTION This book postulates that the transition from ‘technology policy’ to ‘innovation policy’ for the EU in the mid-1990s did not just mean an expansion of the number of issues under the new agenda; more importantly, it started to unleash a reorganization of policy-making at EU level. This was a transition from a mode of policy-making that was functionally compartmentalized, hierarchically managed and had limited accountability, to a new, emerging, mode of ‘governance’ where the areas are gradually becoming explicitly interconnected, there is no obvious hierarchy, there are substantial pressures to enhance transparency and participation, and public action is increasingly self-reflexive. In other words, the ‘contents’ of innovation policy are changing as much as the ‘form’ of conducting public action, and both ‘contents’ and ‘form’ are the cornerstones of a public action that is increasingly becoming a centrepiece of EU politics. Innovation policy, as the means of encouraging technical progress and sustainable socioeconomic growth, has been recently upgraded from a rather obscure position amid the host of EU policies to an increasingly strategic status within the EU. Competitiveness, growth, job creation and social progress are nowadays key elements in the EU’s own ‘raison d’être’, and innovation policy has a lot to offer in this regard. This chapter has two purposes. The first is to present, in a nutshell,...

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