Innovation Policy Implementation Nexus (INNOPIN)



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 SIG in its collaboration activities, please e-mail a request to *email address protected* and *email address protected*.


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 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 SIG (Special Interest Group) would be to cast new light on the determinants of conceiving and delivering the Innovation Policy Implementation Nexus. It will also work towards understanding 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 Implementation Nexus (INNOPIN) 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 the Innovation Policy Implementation Nexus is set to be significantly reinforced through the Triple Helix
  3. Stimulate a systematic exchange of best practice


INNOPIN Action plan 2019-2020

In order to advance its agenda, it is proposed that members of the INNOPIN SIG put forward a series of short working papers (3-5 pages) to the conveners (Dimitri Corpakis / Emanuela Todeva) linked with the Innovation Policy Implementation Nexus. Papers should address definition and methodological issues, identify determinants of the innovation policy process as well as enablers and barriers in the overall context of public policy. The particular roles of universities and businesses (big and small) should attract particular attention in the process as well as the role of government. Illustrative case-studies are particularly welcome.

The process will be enhanced by the deployment of at least six (6) related webinars along the period of the next 18 months. By the end of the year (2019) a first version of a Green Paper should have been produced in a co-creation process. This Green Paper will be then subject to debate and interactions by the INNOPIN community. At the end of 2020, a White Paper based on this process will be established.

In-between, particular sessions could take place within the context of the different THA Conferences, Summits and workshops. These sessions will provide valuable feedback to the SIG outcomes. In this context we list here a number of short and medium-term activities planned:

  • Webinar related to the challenges for Innovation policy implementation
  • Workshop on the Policy mixes at the intersection on innovation policy and smart Specialisation policy – ‘Innovative Place-Based Triple Helix Approaches for Regional Development through Smart Specialisation Strategies’ –
  • Organise a roundtable discussion for policy makers on ‘Activating the Cross-Over between Smart Specialisation and Innovation Policies – Actors and Challenges’
  • Facilitate the publication of best practice cases of Policy Implementation in a Rapidly Changing Innovation Ecosystems

Sample current contribution by the SIG  co-conveners

  • Dr Dimitri Corpakis contributes to a new activity on “Mainstreaming the concept of Smart Specialisation across other European Union policies”. Two (2) workshops have already taken place in Brussels (December 2018) and Leuven (April 2019) and another is scheduled in Brussels (June 2019). Dimitri Corpakis will present an approved paper on the topic at the ERSA Lyon Conference in late August 2019 where he is the convener of a special session on the topic (Session S13) (
  • Prof. Emanuela Todeva, contributes in particular to the programme of the THA forthcoming conference in Cape Town “The Triple Helix, a Catalyst for Change”(September 2019) in regard to the organisation of a Round Table discussion on  Social Entrepreneurship Stranded in the Pull of Global Science and Local Business Opportunities in the same Cape Town THA Conference (Triple Helix, a Catalyst for Change). The concept of glocalization was introduced to cater for the market realization and adaptation of global brands. Can Social Entrepreneurship serve a similar role – to deliver a local adaptation of global technologies and global science and innovation flows? Can Social Entrepreneurs and communities, empowered by design thinking and multi-stakeholder engagement, create new solutions to local development challenges with or without global actors? How financing social entrepreneurship affects the translation of global science innovation pathway into local solutions? Who are the innovation experts and how they relate to social entrepreneurs?  This Roundtable discussion aims to develop a discussion forum to address issues of multi-level governance in relation to global and key enabling technologies, global science publication patterns and the ‘local’ thematic orientation of social entrepreneurship. Research on ‘Frugal innovation’ has highlighted the multiple governance challenges that exist from design to implementation and scaling up. Similarly, the social entrepreneurship literature does not address sufficiently the role of global connectivity through dominant technologies, global value chains and the local creation of adaptation of existing solutions. The literature on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) barely touches upon business solutions and business opportunities that can generate employment and economic wealth for a region. The question of multi-level governance will be addressed from a multidisciplinary perspective and with a focus on the practice of overlapping governance frameworks that are created by putting the triple helix actors together.

Report on SIG 2018-2019 activities 

  1. Presentation and launch of the at the Special Interest Groups at the II International Triple Helix Summit, Dubai 
  2. Published Call for members
  3. Updated strategic plan
  4. Design and Delivery of the first workshop of the Jean Monnet project HLX4EU