UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


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

IIPP is proud to host a commission to solve grand challenges in innovation and industrial strategy with a mission-oriented framework.

MOIIS launched by BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark MP, March 2018 
MOIIS launched by BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark MP, March 2018



The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) is delighted to be hosting this Commission for Mission-Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS), 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.

MOIIS is co-chaired by Professor 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 commission members.

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.

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UK Industrial Strategy's Grand Challenges

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

AI and Data Economy
 AI & Data Economy

We will put the UK at the forefront of the artifical intelligence and data revolution

Clean Growth
 Clean Growth

We will maximise the advantages for the UK industry from the global shift to clean growth

Future of Mobility
 Future of Mobility

We will become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move

Ageing Society
 Ageing Society

We will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society

The purpose of the commission is to consider how to transform these ‘grand challenges’ into concrete ‘missions’.  Indeed, the Commission’s contribution to the UK government’s industrial strategy is clearly cited on the webpage of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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Mission-oriented framework

Missions offer a way of framing challenges, such as those addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 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.

Mazzucato Report
MOIIS is driven by the thinking proposed in the first IIPP working paper Mission-Oriented Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities as well as the European Commission report written by Professor Mazzucato on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the EU: a problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth. In the report Professor 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 MOIIS commission have been mapping 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, working directly with government on how missions should be framed to satify these criteria, and how missions can deliver public value.

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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: 

PM Theresa May Industrial Strategy speech
 "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 MOIIS commission were highly influential in developing the second mission to be announced in the Clean Growth grand challenge to "establish the world's first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040". The commission continues to work closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on how the government can deliver policies to solve the grand challenges of clean growth, healthy ageing, the future of mobility and AI & data.

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Publications and outputs

A Mission-Oriented Vision for Innovation-Led Economy
The MOIIS commission submitted a response to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s 2018 budget process which focused on the ability of purpose-driven innovation to generate economic growth and inclusive prosperity. The commission will publish an interim policy report summarising their work on the framing of the government’s missions and the development of mission roadmaps in January 2019. The final report will be launched in May 2019 and will focus on the cross-cutting issues that run through the industrial strategy and how a government can truly implement a mission-oriented strategy.


Key working papers related to the concept of missions, industrial strategy, and investment led growth, are: 

IIPP WP 2018-07: Movements with missions make markets cover
Movements with missions make markets

AuthorCharles Leadbeater

Economics of Change working paper
The economics of change: Policy and appraisal for missions, market shaping and public purpose

Authors: Rainer Kattel, Mariana Mazzucato, Josh Ryan-Collins, Simon Sharpe

Cover of the working paper, Mission-oriented innovation policy and dynamic capabilities in the public sector
Mission-oriented innovation policy and dynamic capabilities in the public sector

AuthorsRainer Kattel and Mariana Mazzucato

IIPP_WP_2017-05 Patient Strategic Finance_cover
Patient strategic finance: opportunities for state investment banks in the UK

Authors: Mariana Mazzucato and Laurie Macfarlane

Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy: Challenges and Opportunities
Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

AuthorMariana Mazzucato


IIPP has also hosted the following relevant workshops and events alongside the MOIIS commission:

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For more information on MOIIS, please contact:

Head of Industrial Strategy & Policy Engagement

George Dibb
Email: g.dibb@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3108 6578 (Internal: 56578)

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