The COVID-19 crisis may bring lasting socioeconomic changes, also affecting science, technology and innovation (STI). This paper discusses the effects that the COVID-19 crisis could have on the future of STI and its policies, building on lessons learned from past crises, an analysis of diverse sources of early data and insights from expert discussions in international policy fora. Factors shaping the future of STI include the unequal effects of the crisis on R&D spending across sectors, the accelerated adoption of digital tools and techniques, and changes in the openness and inclusiveness of research and innovation ecosystems. The paper also explores how STI policy could experience fundamental changes as resilience, environmental sustainability and inclusiveness become more prominent objectives on policy agendas. This includes experimentation with new data and digital tools for policy purposes and unconventional policy approaches, which could spur the adoption of new and more effective STI policies.
Table of contents
Determinants of the future impacts of COVID-19 on STI
Possible long-term implications of the COVID-19 crisis for STI
1. Factors determining lasting impacts of COVID-19 on STI
1.1. The uncertain evolution of the pandemic
1.2. Impacts on STI of changing societal preferences and policy directions
2. Lasting impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on science, technology and innovation
2.1. The challenges ahead for STI spending: What lessons from past shocks?
2.2. Will digitalisation accelerate with the COVID-19 pandemic? What would be the implications for STI?
2.3. Will STI ecosystems be more open and agile?
2.4. Will global collaborations in STI increase?
2.5. Will STI be more or less inclusive at social, industrial and territorial levels?
3. Will the goals of STI policy change?
3.1. Towards a more directional role for STI policy
3.2. How can STI policy support the transition towards environmentally sustainable futures?
3.3. How can STI policy support future inclusiveness?
3.4. How can STI policy help build greater resilience?
3.5. Open questions on the new policy goals
4. New ways of conducting STI policy
4.1. New data and better data analytics tools for STI policy
4.2. Alternative policy approaches: Strategic foresight, systems transformation, and tracking applications
4.3. New governance models and the importance of civil society engagement
4.4. Implementation challenges for new policy tools
5. Conclusion: What speed and directions for innovation in the future?