UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


UCL Commission for Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS)

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose is proud to host a Commission to solve grand challenges in innovation and industrial strategy with a mission-oriented framework.

The Commission for Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS) is co-chaired by Prof Mariana Mazzucato and Lord David Willetts. The Commission is made up of key UCL academics and world-leading industry experts from cross-disciplinary institutions. For more information on the Commissioners see our page of MOIIS member biographies.

The UK Industrial Strategy sets out four clear and ambitious Grand Challenges to drive innovation and investment:

Artificial Intelligence and data; ageing society; clean growth; future of mobility

The purpose of the Commission is to consider how to transform these ‘grand challenges’ into concrete ‘missions’.

Mission-oriented framework

Missions offer a way of framing challenges, such as those addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals, into solvable problems that have concrete long-term targets and which require cross sectoral collaborations, as well as partnerships between public, private and voluntary sector actors.

Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union

MOIIS is driven by the thinking proposed in the first IIPP working paper Mission-Oriented Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities as well as the EC report written by Prof Mazzucato on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the EU: a problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth.

In the report Prof Mazzucato discusses the criteria for selecting missions:
  • They are bold and address societal value
  • They have concrete targets: you know when you get there!
  • They involve research and innovation
  • They are cross-sectoral, cross-actor, and cross-disciplinary
  • They have multiple competing solutions 

The Commissioners will map out possible missions for each of the grand challenges outlined in the UK Industrial Strategy, asking how the process towards solving the missions be designed to allow bottom up experimentation, what dynamic ‘metrics’ can be used to evaluate them, and how missions can deliver public value.

It will also explore how to embed agility and responsiveness into the framing of missions, the role of risk, and how to build consensus on missions amongst government, business and civil society.

Impact to date

On 21st May 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May cited the Commission's work on bringing a mission-oriented framework to the UK Industrial Strategy, in a speech at Jodrell Bank. She said:

"We have seen throughout our history that setting ambitious and clearly-defined missions motivates human endeavour. There is huge potential in a missions-based approach to drive faster solutions – and it is an approach being pioneered here in the UK, by University College London’s Commission on Mission-Oriented Industrial Strategy." 


The newly-established Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose is delighted to be hosting this Commission, particularly in the context of UCL’s own Grand Challenges approach to promoting cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches to solving aspects of global problems.

The Commission is supported by UCL Public Policy.  UCL Public Policy supports academic policy engagement, providing opportunities for UCL to engage with policy-makers and enhancing the policy impact of UCL research.