Vinnova and its forerunners have made a difference, chiefly in two ways:
- We have played a role in identifying and defining new needs-driven fields of research, in dialogue with stakeholders. This is a role which neither peer review nor industry-led consortia can fulfil on their own.
- In the later stages we have also been able to expand promising areas through active collaboration programmes between companies and universities. Calls for proposals in open competition have been an important profile factor, with Triple Helix involvement in the planning and implementation.
Combining both roles requires a mix of “bottom-up” projects, to identify potential new areas of interest and programme efforts, to scale up promising areas.
Our impact studies show that we consistently underestimate how long it takes for new knowledge to provide tangible economic impact. Lead times of 10-20 years are not unusual before effects can be traced at the socioeconomic level. The key results of our efforts have been competence development and organisational learning in new knowledge areas. The impact of these efforts has been to develop the capability of the innovation system – rather than individual innovations.
For Swedish version see "När staten spelat roll" (Vinnova Rapport/Analys VA 2011:10).