UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Shaping innovation

Steering scientific and technological advances to tackle societal challenges.

Innovation has a direction as well as a rate. Not all forms of innovation create public value. For example, developments in ICT have led to the emergence of ‘platform capitalist’ companies with enormous market power that have created new and improved services but in doing so also threaten the quality and quantity of work and privacy.

This research pillar examines how innovations and advances in technology and science can be steered towards tackling the grand societal challenges facing the world, such as how to ensure healthy ageing, decent jobs for all, an effective welfare state and a just transition to a low carbon economy.

IIPP is working closely on this agenda with all levels of government, including the UK government, the European Commission [link] and the European Space Agency [link]. We are also researching the macroeconomic implications of innovation-led growth and what it means for fiscal policy in particular.

Current research projects

Tackling global challenges.
Collaboration with the RSA on pilot project for green cities

IIPP is working with the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on a pilot project focussed on applying mission-oriented innovation policy to a challenge at city level.

Green innovation solar panels
Innovation-fuelled, Sustainable, Inclusive Growth

IIPP is a partner in the Innovation-fuelled, Sustainable, Inclusive Growth (ISIGrowth) project, led by the University of Pisa, and funded through the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme.

Innovation-led growth in Latin America
Innovation-led growth in Latin America

A new collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank will look at how strengthening innovation systems in Latin America is key to future growth opportunities.

Rethinking health innovation Tai Chi
Rethinking health innovation

IIPP is researching alternatives to shareholder-dominated models of medical innovation that could achieve better outcomes both for innovation as well as its affordability and access for patients.

Research streams

The macroeconomic implications of innovation policies

A new way of understanding the macroeconomic implications of market-shaping policies in terms of long-term investment and economic growth. Read more

Mission-oriented innovation policy

Mission-oriented policy lay behind some of the biggest innovative leaps forward of the last century and can offer the transformative approach needed today. Read more

Space partnerships for mutualistic innovation eco-systems

As public activities in space are undergoing significant change, IIPP research aims to inform policy focused on directing space innovation activities towards maximum socio-economic benefit. Read more

The State's role in technological revolutions

This research stream analyses the role of the state in driving innovation to generate innovation-led inclusive economic growth. Read more

Working papers

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

Charles Leadbeater

Putting Austerity to Bed: Technical progress, aggregate demand and the supermultiplier
IIPP WP 2018-02: Putting Austerity to Bed: Technical progress, aggregate demand and the supermultiplier

Matteo DeleidiMariana Mazzucato

Working Paper 2017-1: Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy: Challenges and Opportunities
IIPP WP 2017-01: Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

Mariana Mazzucato


The Entrepreneurial State
The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

Mariana Mazzucato (Penguin, 22 March 2018)