There is a growing recognition among policy makers, industry and analysts that the development and diffusion of technological innovations need to be governed in order to contribute to societal goals related to sustainability, such as climate change mitigation and resource efficiency.

However, what such policy and governance should look like is still uncertain and a matter of intense debate. Existing analysis of technological change and innovation now and then touches upon policy and governance but there is relatively little systematic work on what types of governance arrangements positively affect innovation, and in what ways they work.

To understand better how to “do” policy and governance for sustainable innovation, SEI is together with Linköping University, Stockholm School of Economics , and Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology (IMIT) implementing a research project on the topic of governance for technological innovation systems.

The project uses an interdisciplinary framework, developed from innovation systems research, political sciences and regime-transitions analysis. The overarching question is: how do different types of governance arrangement affect the functionality of technological innovation systems? This question is addressed in empirical case studies in biofuels, hybrid-electric technology, and hydrogen/fuel cell technology.

Accompanying book project:
The team has initiated a book project on “Governance for innovation in sustainable transport technology”, the preparation process which will be launched in early 2010 and entails two international workshops.

In addition, discussions with like minded research organizations in leading transport innovation countries including Japan, China, USA, Germany and Korea may inspire case studies among these leaders to enable international comparison and exchange of experiences.

Project framework and methodology:
The framework and methodology is discussed in Hillman et al (2009) presented at the European Conference on Sustainability Transitions, June 2010 in Amsterdam and submitted for journal publication. The grant application can be accessed here.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS, and runs from 2008 to 2011.