UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Patient Finance and Public Banking

IIPP's research focusses on new forms of public finance to promote long-term investment in the real economy and to finance mission-oriented policy.


Tackling today's societal challenges, from climate change to improving public health and adjusting to demographic changes, requires steering investments and innovation towards achieving concrete goals. This requires not just any type of finance but patient, long-term, committed finance. This can take many forms, but throughout history the state has often supplied the patient finance that the private sector was unwilling to provide, often through institutions such as public investment banks, public venture capital funds, R&D funds and innovation agencies. 

IIPP’s work on patient finance looks at how different types of finance are distributed between different types of public institutions, in different sectors and in different countries; how different public financial institutions are helping to overcome different social, technological and environmental challenges around the world; how different design features of public financial institutions affect their ability to operate successfully; and where the opportunities lie for new forms of public finance around the world. This research area also aims to offer a new way of understanding the macroeconomic implications of market-shaping policies in terms of long-term investment and economic growth.

Policy implications

IIPP is working closely with state investment banks, innovation agencies and sovereign wealth funds from around the world to transform their activities based on new theoretical insights and practical international experience. In Scotland, the work has been instrumental in shaping the design and implementation of the Scottish Government's new Scottish National Investment Bank, which is due to become operational in 2020 supported by £2 billion of government funding. 



Working papers

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