UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Clone of MOIN USA

What is MOIN USA?


MOIN USA is a dedicated US chapter of the Mission-Oriented Innovation Network which works with US policy makers and academics to explore how mission-oriented and public value driven innovation can tackle grand challenges in the US context.

MOIN USA launched in March 2021 with representation from US public agencies DARPA, NASA, NYSERDA, SBA/ SBIR, ARPA-E and NSF alongside representation from US philanthropies and institutes - the Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Roosevelt Institute.

The MOIN USA Policy Note provides further details in regards to the approach of the network.

Goals of MOIN USA

  • To build a research and policy agenda for shaping and co-creating markets, focusing on missions and public value, with a network of public institutions and academic partners in the US.
  • To experiment with the ROAR policy toolkit that enables MOIN members to envision, justify and evaluate mission-oriented innovation.
  • To foster new dynamic capabilities both inside and amongst US public institutions.

Key outputs of MOIN USA

  • A peer-to-peer learning platform for US public agencies on mission-oriented and public value driven innovation.
  • A network of US academics guiding new thinking on the use of innovation and industrial strategy to tackle local, regional and national challenges.  
  • A co-created research agenda in which academics and policy-making institutions test emerging ideas in practical contexts.

IIPP hosts second MOIN USA event focusing on co-creating a research policy agenda (29 June 2021)
MOIN USA brings leading U.S. policy-making institutions together again, this time to focus on co-creating a research policy agenda focusing on mission-oriented innovation policy and public value.
Building on its launch event in March and with the continuing support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) was delighted to host a second Mission Oriented Innovation Network USA (MOIN USA) event on 29 June. The event welcomed back familiar faces from NASA, DARPA, ARPA-E, SBA, NYSERDA, Roosevelt Institute and CalCEF and IIPP introduced its work to new participants from the NIH, NIST, OSTP and the Federal Innovation Council.

MOIN USA presentation to the members of the Federal Innovation Council – hosted by Partnership for Public Service (24 June 2021)
Speakers: Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor Rainer Kattel, Dr Antonio Andreoni and Rowan Conway

It was an opportunity to meet new institutions and encourage them to be more involved with MOIN USA activities.

MOIN USA presentation at the Convening of Project Leaders in Hewlett Network – hosted by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (3 May 2021)
Speakers: Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor Rainer Kattel, Dr Antonio Andreoni and Rowan ConwayIntroducing Mission-oriented Innovation Network to a broader grantee network and providing an update on IIPP objectives and achievements.

IIPP launches Mission-Oriented Innovation Network in the USA (30 March 2021)
MOIN USA brings together leading US policy-making institutions to share challenges and opportunities in creating and shaping markets to create public value.

On March 30th the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, launched a dedicated branch of the US Mission-Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN USA).  The aim of MOIN USA is to build a research and policy agenda for shaping and co-creating markets, focusing on public value, with a network of public institutions and academic partners in the US.

Policy engagement highlights

Engagements with US Policymakers, stakeholders, media and academics. 

The Biden White House plan for a new US industrial policy – speech by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese’s speech on US industrial policy as prepared for delivery at the Atlantic Council (23 June 2021)
Professor Mariana Mazzucato informed NEC’s thinking on transforming the US economy to deliver inclusive growth at local, national and international levels.

Stop Whining About Big Government  - by Kara Swisher for The New York Times (15 March 2021)
Who leads innovation? If you’re picturing a Silicon Valley billionaire, you’ve got it all wrong, says the economist Mariana Mazzucato.
Mazzucato — who counts the pope, the billionaire Bill Gates and the U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among her readers — says governments should act more like venture capitalists, rather than let the private sector hog all the glory and the rewards. Her message to Elon Musk after he received $5 billion in spport from the U.S. government is simple: “Say thank you.”

The Next Big Idea: Climate Change & The Economy with Mariana Mazzucato & Tom Steyer – hosted by Washington Post Live (8 Deceember 2020)
Professor Mariana Mazzucato, professor at the University College London & author of “Value of Everything," said healthcare needs to be at the center of comprehensive economic policy especially when it comes to recovering from a global health crisis. “To have a goal-oriented policy is very different from just kind of dispersing funds here and there to small companies or particular sectors.”

An ‘Electrifying’ Economist’s Guide to the Recovery – by Alisha Haridasani Gupta for The New York Times (19 November 2020)
Mariana Mazzucato, a professor who has the ears of world leaders and chief executives, envisions a post-pandemic world that redefines what is valued. Ostensibly, her mission is to reimagine capitalism and boost the state-backed public sector, but her work has nonetheless resonated not just with leftist thinkers but also in fiscally conservative, free market circles where even the slightest whiff of socialism would usually set off alarms. The fiercely pro-free-market Financial Times, for example, noted that the argument laid out in one of Dr. Mazzucato’s books, “The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths,” is “basically right.”

Professor Mariana Mazzucato speaks at the Tough Tech Summit 2020 (27 October 2020)
The world needs Tough Tech to build the platforms that can create long-term, significant change. At Tough Tech Summit 2020, they explored the opportunities we face today, how we can better respond to the critical challenges at hand, and the role of Tough Tech in instigating such change.
Opening & Keynote Fireside Chat: Opening remarks by Katie Rae (CEO and Managing Partner, The Engine), followed by a fireside chat with Tom Kalil (CIO, Schmidt Futures & Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UC Berkeley ) and Mariana Mazzucato (Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London) about the role of government and policy in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation for public benefit.

Economic welfare vs. national security: Inclusive growth, the State, and the role of the private sector – hosted by the Atlantic Council (21 October 2020) 
A conversation with Professor Mariana Mazzucato  and Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Megan Greene on economic welfare vs. national security: inclusive growth, the state, and the role of the private sector.
COVID-19 has had a devastating economic impact and the recovery has not been uniform. The short and medium-term impacts of the pandemic will be particularly severe for the most disadvantaged and risk compounding existing socio-economic divides. Governments must take decisive action to support the most vulnerable ensure that there is a sustainable recovery. As both Mazzucato and Greene have recently written, the U.S. and its partners have a unique opportunity to shape their own role in the post-COVID economy. But what should be the new role of the public sector, and how should it incentivize private industry? What is the line between protection and protectionism when incentivizing job creation at home? Is this, in the end, a national security debate? Mazzucato and Greene discussed how to tread the balance between economic welfare and national security as well as the role the state innovation and the private sector play.

Meet the Leftish Economist With a New Story About Capitalism – by Katy Lederer at The New York Times (26 November 2019) Mariana Mazzucato wants liberals to talk less about the redistribution of wealth and more about its creation. Politicians around the world are listening.
Dr. Mazzucato takes issue with many of the tenets of the neoclassical economic theory taught in most academic departments: its assumption that the forces of supply and demand lead to market equilibrium, its equation of price with value and — perhaps most of all — its relegation of the state to the investor of last resort, tasked with fixing market failure. She has originated and popularized the description of the state as an “investor of first resort,” envisioning new markets and providing long-term, or “patient,” capital at early stages of development.

The State and Innovation—From Fixing Markets to Co-Creating lecture by Professor Mariana Mazzucato (26 September 2019) The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the final lecture in last season’s Deputy Director for Management Seminar Series—challenged the audience to widen its vocabulary and tell more complete stories about who leads innovation.
“Storytellers rule the world,” Mazzucato said, recalling philosopher Plato’s declaration. “The history of innovation in modern-day capitalism has a lot of bureaucracy behind it. We know so little about it because of the myths that continue to exist…The state—this decentralized network of different types of public institutions—has been the foundation of so much of the competitiveness across different sectors, from energy to information technology to health.”

When you think of what government agencies do in the marketplace, terms like de-risk, enable, incentivize and facilitate often come to mind, Mazzucato said. But do such words capture the full gamut of the breakthrough research, creative vibe and dynamic environments found at federal institutions such as NIH, DARPA and the Department of Energy?

A Plan For Economic Patriotism - by Senator Elizabeth Warren (4 June 2019))
Professor Mariana Mazzucato  advised Senator Warren’s economic policy in 2019.

A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy - by Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic (19 February 2019) 
The Green New Deal’s mastermind is a precocious New Yorker with big ambitions. Sound familiar?
Professor Mariana Mazzucato asserts that the state should yoke the mission of fighting climate change to every aspect of its purchasing power. Whether the government buys a company’s product, offers it a research grant, or loans it money should depend on its willingness to adopt certain Green New Deal goals. “You don’t pick the winners; you pick the willing,” she said. “The question should be: Who’s willing to engage across any sector—big firms, small firms, any size—to engage with Green New Deal strategies?” These strategies might include a renewable-energy requirement or a reduction in the physical amount of material needed to make a product.

Warren, Schakowsky Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Radically Reduce Drug Prices Through Public Manufacturing of Prescription Drugs (18 December 2018)
Legislation would address market failures and increase competition in the generic drug market by establishing new Office of Drug Manufacturing. Senator Warren also calls on Senate to investigate alleged price fixing among companies, driving up the cost of hundreds of generic drugs in America.

“Senator Warren’s bill, which authorises public manufacturing of vital generic drugs that are limited or concentrated in supply and high in prices, is a bold and visionary move. Creating a functional generics market that is abundant, affordable and accessible for the public goes far beyond simply fixing market failures: to safeguard the public interest of American citizens, the government as a representative of the public must become a much more proactive player in directly co-shaping and co-creating a generic market that delivers for all,” said Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP).

Investments in Science and Innovation (27 July 2015)
This event was part of a series of forums organized by Senator Warren and Representative Cummings, their Middle Class Prosperity Project. Professor Mariana Mazzucato  presented her views as part of an expert panel.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) held a forum on strengthening investments in scientific research as a way to grow the economy and create jobs. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) was the first presenter, and he was followed by a panel of researchers and academics.

Thought leadership

Industrial Policy’s Comeback – by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor Rainer Kattel and Dr Josh Ryan-Collins for the Boston Review (15 September 2021)

Market fundamentalism has failed to improve economic and social conditions.

Now, we need a mission-oriented approach to the economy that embraces an active role for government in spurring growth and innovation.]The United States is not alone. Countries throughout Europe and elsewhere are increasingly turning to the view that governments should use industrial policy to tackle grand challenges. Recognizing this trend, the International Monetary Fund issued a report in 2019 called “The Return of the Policy That Shall Not Be Named: Principles of Industrial Policy.” Why could this policy “not be named”? The short answer is that industrial policy was one of the many casualties of an international shift in economic policy that began in the 1980s and flourished under the administrations of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom. The emergent sensibility—what we now call neoliberalism—was codified in 1989 in the Washington Consensus, which championed privatization, deregulation, and free trade. Along with these central pillars came an emphasis on low budget deficits, independent central banks focused on low inflation, and the liberalization of trade and foreign direct investment. This outlook was deeply confident in markets and deeply skeptical of government action, beyond the state’s limited role in enforcing property rules and investing in education and defense. “On the basis of an exhaustive review of the experience of developing economies during the last thirty years,” the World Bank summed up in the early 1990s, “attempts to guide resource allocation with nonmarket mechanisms have generally failed to improve economic performance.”

A New Social Contract in “Fuzzynomics and 12 Other Attempts to Name Our New Era”Foreign Policy (FP) asked leading economists and thinkers to define the post-pandemic age (9 July 2021)

“A New Social Contract” by Professor Mariana Mazzucato

Business is talking about stakeholder capitalism. Governments are talking about the need to confront challenges such as climate change. The new era requires walking the talk—and putting common purpose at the center of how the public and private sectors interact. For too long, the relationship between government and corporations has been parasitic, not symbiotic. In areas like health, we have governments putting billions of dollars into drug innovation, yet taxpayers often cannot afford them. Government invented the internet but didn’t bother making sure that technology corporations wouldn’t abuse our privacy. A new social contract is required to make sure that stakeholder value and policies defined by the challenges they must solve go to the center of how business and the state interact—that is, in how they co-create value.

Opinion: Build back the state by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for University College London (16 April 2021)

In promising to "build back better" from the pandemic, US President Joe Biden has certainly struck the right note. But to succeed, he will need to draw on the lessons of a previous era, says Professor Mariana Mazzucato (UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose).

Saving the Climate in a Triple Crisis by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for The New Republic (15 March 2021)

A moon shot model for the transformation of capitalism

Capitalism is facing three major crises. A pandemic-induced health crisis has rapidly ignited an economic crisis with yet unknown consequences for financial stability, and all of this is playing out against the backdrop of a climate crisis that cannot be addressed under the rubric of business as usual. It may be hard to cast your mind back, but in January 2020, the news media were full of frightening images of overwhelmed firefighters in Australia, and flood workers in Venice—not overwhelmed health care providers all over the world. Indeed, a 2020 outlook published in The Economist had not one word on Covid-19.

Reimagining the Platform Economy - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor Rainer Kattel, Dr Tim O’Reilly and Josh Entsminger for the Project Syndicate (5 February 2021)

Today's digital economy has grown up around a business model of data and wealth extraction, confounding traditional antitrust paradigms and undermining the public and social value that otherwise could be derived from technological innovation. The state can redress these problems, but only if it reclaims its proper role.

From moonshots to earthshots - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for Social Europe (5 February 2021)

Covid-19 has exposed the myriad weaknesses of modern capitalism. And in many countries past cuts to social services and public health have amplified the damage wrought by the pandemic, while other self-inflicted wounds to the state have led to inadequate policy co-ordination and implementation. Mass testing and tracking, production of medical equipment and education during lockdowns have all suffered as a result. We should not be afraid of a post-pandemic world that will not be the same as the status quo ante. We should embrace it and use all appropriate fora and available opportunities to make it a better world by advancing the cause of international cooperation.

Capitalism After the Pandemic: Getting the Recovery Right  - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for Foreign Affairs (December 2020)

After the 2008 financial crisis, governments across the world injected over $3 trillion into the financial system. The goal was to unfreeze credit markets and get the global economy working again. But instead of supporting the real economy—the part that involves the production of actual goods and services—the bulk of the aid ended up in the financial sector. Governments bailed out the big investment banks that had directly contributed to the crisis, and when the economy got going again, it was those companies that reaped the rewards of the recovery.

Biden and the Promise of the People's Vaccine - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato and Rebeca Grynspan for Newsweek (2 November 2020)

President Joe Biden has made good on his pledge of re-joining the World Health Organization and committing to multilateralism in the U.S. COVID response by joining the international purchase and distribution platform COVAX. But he can do much more to ensure everyone, everywhere gets the COVID vaccine quickly. The world is watching as the three promising vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna/U.S. National Institute of Health and AstraZeneca/Oxford University are rolled-out in rich countries. Yet we're bracing ourselves for yet another major failure in the global COVID response: U.S. vaccine stocks are already running dry and AstraZeneca has failed to make good on its contracts to supply the European Union. New variants of the virus, which are more contagious and possibly more deadly, have been found in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. If we don't move quickly, current vaccines may no longer be a match for new mutations.

It's 2023. Here's How We Fixed the Global Economy  - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for TIME Magazine (21 October 2020)

The year is 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic has come to an end, and the global economy is on the path to recovery. How did we get here? How did our economy and society evolve to overcome the greatest crisis of our age? Let’s begin in the summer of 2020, when the unabated spread of disease was heralding an increasingly dire outlook for economies and societies. The pandemic had exposed critical vulnerabilities around the world—underpaid essential workers, an unregulated financial sector and major corporations neglecting investment in favor of higher stock prices. With economies shrinking, governments recognized that both households and businesses needed help—and fast. But with memories of the 2008 financial crisis still fresh, the question was how governments could structure bailouts so they would benefit society, rather than prop up corporate profits and a failing system.

Capitalism Is Broken. The Fix Begins With a Free Covid-19 Vaccine – by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for The New York Times (28 October 020)

Skewed public-private relationships, like pharmaceutical companies getting millions from taxpayers then overcharging for drugs, are just one part of the problem.

This is an article from World Review: The State of Democracy, a special section that examines global policy and affairs through the perspectives of thought leaders and commentators, and is published in conjunction with the annual Athens Democracy Forum.

We Socialize Bailouts. We Should Socialize Successes, Too. - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for The New York Times (1 July 2020)

Governments have spent trillions in tough times without creating structures that turn short-term fixes into a more inclusive economy.

When the economy is in crisis, who do we turn to for help? Not corporations — it’s governments. But when the economy is flourishing, we ignore governments and let corporations soak up the rewards. This was the story of the 2008 financial crisis. A similar story is unfolding today. Governments have spent trillions on stimulus packages without creating structures — like a citizens’ dividend, which would reward public investment — that turn short-term remedies into the means for an inclusive, sustainable economy. This gets to the heart of what fuels inequality: We socialize risks but privatize rewards. In this view, only businesses create value; governments merely facilitate the process and fix “market failures.”

Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for The New York Times (18 March 2020)

Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce.

The search for treatments and vaccines to curb transmission of the new coronavirus is in overdrive. Fortunately, there are a number of promising candidates thanks to the U.S. government’s investment in biomedical research and development. Since the 2003 SARS outbreak, the United States has spent nearly $700 million of taxpayer money on coronavirus research — more than any other country — through the National Institutes of Health. Yet the question right now for Americans — thousands of whom are forced to ration their insulin and face astronomical bills for live-saving drugs — is not only when these treatments and vaccines will become available, but at what price.

Industrial Policy and the Climate Challenge  - by Professor Mariana Mazzucato for The American Prospect (5 December 2019)

Industrial strategy is back. Let’s use it to tackle the greatest challenge of our time.

The 21st century is increasingly being defined by the need to respond to major social, environmental, and economic challenges. These “grand challenges” include climate change, demographic challenges, and promotion of health and well-being. The challenge of generating sustainable and inclusive growth, like other major policy challenges, is complex, systemic, interconnected, and urgent, requiring insights from many perspectives. For example, poverty cannot be tackled without attention to the interconnections between nutrition, health, infrastructure, and education—as well as more traditional approaches such as redistributive tax and transfer policy. “Grand challenge” thinking is being applied across the world, with some of the most interesting experiments around sustainability being driven by the needs of emerging economies.


PUBLIC PURPOSE: Industrial Policy’s Comeback and Government’s Role in Shared Prosperity
Authors: Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor Rainer Kattel and Dr Josh Ryan-Collins
Published by Boston Review (Summer 2021)

Leading the book’s first forum, economist Mariana Mazzucato and colleagues lay out an industrial policy agenda organized around ambitious, cross-sector “missions,” designed around important national goals. But ambitious national policies can leave out lots of people and places.

MISSION-ORIENTED INNOVATION IN THE USA: Shaping markets toward grand challenges: a new industrial policy frontier
Authors: Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Dr Antonio Andreoni and Rowan Conway
Published by UCL IIPP – Policy Note No. 001 – June 2021

Moving from an era of relative certainty with fast solutions to consumer problems, to one that embraces complexity and uncertainty and the broader challenges the world faces, requires scientific progress and technological and social innovations. Put simply: we need new tools to face the future. These are the new frontiers of our time and they will demand mission-oriented collaborations between the state, businesses and civil society, working together to innovate and shape markets, fostering both public value and economic growth.

The Entrepreneurial State and Public Options
Authors: Professor Mariana Mazzucato and Dr Henry Lishi Li
Book: Politics, Policy, and Public Options - Edited by Ganesh Sitaraman, Anne Alstott
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (published online: 11 June 2021)

The concept of a public option – a good or service that is government-provided, quality-assured and universally available at a reasonable and fixed price, which coexists with products from the private sector – is receiving increasing interest as a public policy tool (Sitaraman and Alstott 2019). The idea can be applied to a range of social and public services, such as health care, retirement, higher education, banking, and childcare. It can also be applied to innovation and manufacturing, especially in the pharmaceutical industry and with regard to issues that matter to citizens (access to health, clean energy, and the benefits of big data and AI). Indeed, the use of public options for sectors driven by fast innovation is developing into an exciting new area of policy.

Mazzucato, M., & Li, H. L. (2021). A Market Shaping Approach for the Biopharmaceutical Industry: Governing Innovation Towards the Public Interest.
Authors: Professor Mariana Mazzucato and Dr Henry Lishi Li
Published by the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 49(1), 39–49.

Enhancing research and development and ensuring equitable pricing and access to cutting-edge treatments are both vital to a biopharmaceutical innovation system that works in the public interest. However, despite delivering numerous therapeutic advances, the existing system suffers from major problems: a lack of directionality to meet key needs, inefficient collaboration, high prices that fail to reflect the public contribution, and an overly-financialized business model.

MOIN USA Supporters

WF Hewlett

MOIN USA is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.