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The Mission-oriented Innovation Policy Observatory (MIPO) is an initiative by the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University. Our objective is to enhance the understanding, monitoring and effective use of challenge-based innovation missions aimed at solving complex societal problems (related to e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals). To do so, the MIPO unites policy practitioners and scholars from innovation, transition and governance studies.

Scope and activities

Missions can be understood as a coordination mechanism for engaging stakeholders around a particular goal. The figure below highlights that missions emerge as a negotiated outcome between different interests, concerns and imperatives. Their impacts can yield changes in both the realm of innovation, as well as in (socioeconomic) systems of production and consumption in a societal domain. More details about the observatory’s view on the promises and challenges of missions can be found in our Position Paper (external link).

MIPO framework, highlighting the core themes and dynamics of mission-oriented innovation policies (see Position Paper).

The MIPO provides a basis for characterizing, comparing and reviewing the governance and policy instrumentation of ambitious missions designed to solve selected complex societal problems, possibly combined with driving innovation-led growth. The observatory has a broad scope in terms of country, government-level and policy domain missions can pertain to, as long as they are currently active. MIPO researchers engage in in-depth and comparative analysis of cases suggested by practitioners dealing with governance or policy questions.