Innovation Policy Thematic Research Group (INNOPOL)



Dr Dimitri Corpakis, is an independent expert, working on innovation, growth and technological change. An engineer and planner by training, he has more than 30 years’ experience on the European integration process. Dimitri (who recently retired from the services of the European Commission following a career of over 26 years in Brussels) has worked in many policy areas including Education and Training, Information and Communication Technologies, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Regional Innovation Ecosystems with an emphasis on interactions and synergies between the Union’s Research and Innovation and Cohesion Policies (European Structural and Investment Funds).
In recent years, Dimitri led the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation’s Unit on the Regional Dimension of Innovation managing the legacy 7th Framework Programme actions on “Regions of Knowledge” and “Research Potential”, building links with the Union’s Cohesion Policy, with a strong focus on developing Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). In October 2018, Dimitri was granted a Courtesy Graduate Faculty Member status at the Florida A&M University (FSH Science Research Center). He was also appointed as Senior Research Fellow of the South-East European Research Centre (SEERC) of the University of Sheffield (International Faculty).


Prof. Emanuela Todeva, St. Mary’s University, UK

She is a leading academic at St. Mary’s University, UK, and directing the BCNED research centre on Business Clusters, Networks and Economic Development. She is also a Senior Consultant to the European Commission on evaluation of National Innovation Systems, Smart Specialisation policies and Mapping of Global Value Chains. Her expertise includes: TH governance and intermediation; TH policy implementation through stakeholder practice; Business models for open innovation and industry/ market development; TH engagement, co-alignment and co-creation; Orchestration and eco-systems design.


If you would like to join this Thematic Research Group in its collaboration activities, please e-mail a request to and


Agenda and vision

Understanding the mechanisms for conceiving and implementing innovation policy presents major challenges. This is particularly relevant for the public sector that carries the mission for ensuring innovation policy is deployed and delivered successfully on the ground, for the benefit of society and the economy, bringing thereby wellbeing, growth and jobs. Experience shows that innovation policy design and delivery are greatly improved in a context of Triple Helix (interactive cooperation between academia, industry and government); however the ways this is happening are not yet fully understood. Furthermore, the very origins of policy design remain still largely in a grey zone, as it is not yet easy to identify the determinants of the particular architecture of innovation policy. What we rather often witness, is the presence of a sophisticated policy mix consisting of several components that pertain to a coordinated approach towards innovation policy. This ‘policy mix’ is a major vehicle for every successful so far innovation policy and deserves more attention.

The issue of the innovation Policy Mix has been addressed in length by the OECD in its ‘Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2010’ and in a growing body of academic literature. Getting down to the grassroots of the concept, several studies have identified the components and steps of the Innovation Policy as a process. There is also a growing analytical framework that sets out the different policy measures that could be considered by policy makers.

This approach builds extensively on the concept of the Triple Helix (and even the Quadruple helix if we seriously consider the efforts and the rising interest of the Civil Society to be part of the game). Triple Helix structures are consistently present in major Innovation Policy Schemes that have already delivered impressive results.

The mission of this new TRG (Thematic Research Group) would be to cast new light on the determinants of conceiving and delivering Innovation Policy and understand better the reasons of success or failure of otherwise intelligent policy measures. It will look in particular into the different phases of ideation, policy construction and policy delivery taking into account the broader issue of interactions among academia, business and government. Feedback loops from participatory societal processes have also to be examined in the light of a more responsible and ethically accountable innovation policy.


The Innovation Policy thematic research group aims to

  1. Provide a critical appraisal of the process under which innovation policy is designed and delivered, in particular in public policy settings, where Triple Helix interactions are thought to play a major role
  2. Carry out specific analyses on thematic areas, where Innovation Policy is set to be significantly reinforced through the Triple Helix
  3. Stimulate a systematic exchange of best practice