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[Publication] Research Policy – The evolution of mission-oriented policies: Exploring changing market creating policies in the US and European space sector. Douglas K. R. Robinson and Mariana Mazzucato

As part of his research activity on challenge-driven research and innovation policy and market creation, Douglas Robinson, in collaboration with Prof. Mariana Mazzucato of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (UCL, UK), has published his work on policies for new mission-orientations in the space economy. Whilst the focus is on the space economy, broader lessons are drawn for other sectors around the shift from Type1 missions (command and control) towards Type 2 missions (government as one element in an innovation ecosystem).

The paper can be found at the following link:


Market creation is moving to the centre of mission-oriented innovation policy. This is particularly visible in the space sector. Agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are developing market-creating innovation policies in response to (a) the increasing emphasis on societal grand challenges, (b) the rise of a new wave of space companies (often referred to as “New Space”) and (c) the global trend towards interconnecting and interlinking of industries (a trend referred to as Industry 4.0). In this paper we explore the changing nature of mission-oriented innovation policies for market creation for two agencies, NASA and ESA. For these agencies, earlier mission-oriented policies focused on clear challenges with identifiable concrete problems and directed by a strong centralized agency. Contrast this with today, with broadly defined grand challenges, decentralized innovation systems with mixed top-down and bottom-up problem definition. We describe the current drivers and pressures that are creating a window for policy change, and we present examples of how NASA and ESA are responding to these pressures and use this exploration to dig deeper into the evolving frames of market-creating innovation policy in the space sector to identify the challenges for such policies and to further articulate a research agenda.