UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


The role of mission-oriented research & innovation policy towards climate neutrality at COP25 talks

16 December 2019

IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato attended this year's COP25 - the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - to put missions at the heart of the climate talks.


This year’s COP25 climate talks in Madrid were the focal point for global leaders in the public and private sector to come together to talk about creating a green future. 

The theme for this year’s talks was the urgency of the climate conversation, with signs around the COP venue saying #TimeforAction.

As part of this huge global event, IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato helped to push the climate talks in a vital direction, with a focus on missions. 

Professor Mazzucato sat down with Pedro Duque -Spain’s Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, and José Domínguez Abascalthe Secretary of State for Energy, for a panel moderated by Kirsten Dunlop, CEO EIT Climate-KICEIT Climate-KIC is a European knowledge and innovation community that identifies and supports innovation that helps society mitigate and adapt to climate change. The panel, held in the Spanish Pavilion at COP25, focused on how immediate action and bold innovation policies are needed to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. 

Introducing IIPP’s work in the areaProfessor Mazzucato explained the need for climate talks to be seen as part of a wider mission across global institutions. She explained that for climate change to be successful, it can’t be siloed on its own, it needs to be weaved through every industry, so that green objectives become part of the daily business activities of every industry, rather than an afterthought or an add-on. The green mission work should be a challenge that makes researchers uncomfortable, pushing them to find innovation solutions.

Professor Mazzucato also shared the current work that IIPP is doing on the ground with our partners EIT Climate-KIC on the research and policy engagement level to create climate change and the work IIPP is doing with labour unions working in Mondragon, the Basque region of Spain, as well as in Northern Italy’s industrial regions and in South Africa to shape green industrial strategies and missions for sustainable development at local and regional levels.
As part of the COP25 summit in Madrid, the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the launch of the EU Green Deal. Commenting on the Green Deal, Professor Mazzucato wrote a piece in the Financial Times that celebrated the announcement, while also reminding policy makers of the need for a missions-orientated approach to this green transition. 

“Critically, a green direction will mean redesigning all EU instruments, including those used by the European Central Bank and financial regulators, the European Investment Bank, structural funds, investment funds and funds for small and medium-sized enterprises. The “mission-oriented” approach — which my institute helped create and is guiding EU innovation funds — can help create coherence between such policies and put the public good at the centre of economic growth” she said.

For more information on IIPP’s work on green economy and sustainable growth please contact Martha McPherson.