EU-SPRI Webinars – Oishee Kundu and Matti Pihlajamaa -Thursday 17 June 2021

EU-SPRI Webinars – Oishee Kundu and Matti Pihlajamaa

Thu, 17 June 2021 | 15:30 (CET)

About this event

The event is composed by two presentations:

Examining institutional differences in public procurement with topic modelling


There is growing interest regarding the applicability of institutional theory for understanding potential sources of frictions or conflict among stakeholders involved in large and complex public procurement projects. However, much of this research uses conventional research methods, without sufficiently exploiting the conceptual and methodological possibilities associated with institutional theory. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the use of topic modelling to examine institutional differences in the project landscape.

Topic modelling is an unsupervised machine learning technique that finds co-occurring words (or ‘topics’) in texts and can be used to find vocabularies, an important indicator of institutional logics. The method is demonstrated by examining institutional differences among stakeholders in UK government projects in the field of defence and public transport. Analysing the transcripts of parliamentary committee hearings makes it possible to find significant differences in vocabularies among project stakeholders, confirming the prevalent ideas about institutional differences in project (especially megaproject) landscapes. We suggest that institutional heterogeneity may provide the pre-conditions for conflict among different stakeholders and increase the probability of conflict during project development and delivery.

Author’s bio:

Oishee Kundu is a PhD researcher at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, funded by the Alliance Manchester Business School studentship (2017-2020). She submitted her thesis, titled “Public Procurement and Innovation: is defence different?” in December 2020 and completed her oral examination in March 2021. Her first paper from the thesis, titled “Public procurement and innovation: a systematic literature review”, has been published in Science and Public Policy.


Challenge-driven innovation policy and public procurement of innovation: implementing functional and outcome-based procurement


New forms of innovation policy emphasise directing innovation processes towards solving societal challenges, such as climate change, ageing, and poverty. Public procurement of innovation (PPI) has been considered to play a significant role in translating societal challenges into concrete market needs and incentivising companies to develop solutions for fulfilling them. However, there is scarce knowledge of how this is implemented in practice. This study addresses two relevant forms of public procurement – functional procurement and outcome-based procurement – and explores the practical implementation and boundary conditions for using them for challenge-driven innovation policy.

We conduct a multiple case study of eleven procurement cases in Finland. We find that procurement techniques that address societal challenges are typically used in combination with more traditional procurement methods. We argue that a critical task in challenge-driven PPI is creating a knowledge base for establishing causal relationships between the procured solutions and societal challenges. We find that the nature of this task varies with the chosen challenge and different procurement types have distinct such knowledge requirements. We also discuss the process of challenge-driven procurement and evaluate the realized and expected results of the cases.

Author’s bio:

Matti Pihlajamaa, D.Sc. (Tech.) is a Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland within the research team of Ethics and Responsibility in Innovation. He is experienced in innovation management and innovation policy, focusing on sustainable and responsible innovation, open innovation, and public procurement of innovation. He has a doctoral degree in innovation management from Aalto University, Finland (2018).

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Call for Papers for Early Career Research Conference (ECC) 21 – 23 October 2021 Paris France

European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (Eu-SPRI) 2021

Early Career Research Conference (ECC)

21 – 23 October, 2021; Paris, France

Transformative Innovation Policy: Concepts, Methods and Policy Practices

Call for papers for (Post-)Doctoral and Early Career Researchers

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 Eu-SPRI Early Career Conference (ECC) will take place in Paris, France, on 21-23 of October. We invite PhD candidates, post-doctoral and early career researchers to share and discuss their scientific contributions (papers) to Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies for forward-looking transformations. The expected and encouraged fields of study are sociology, economics, political science, geography, public policy and innovation studies; other fields are also considered.

The conference will consist of keynote talks, paper presentations, policy-practitioner panels, and a workshop on ‘science-to-policy’. This ECC event is organized by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Center for Innovation Systems & Policy; the Université Gustave Eiffel (UGE), Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences, Innovations, Sociétés (LISIS), in collaboration with University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research and the Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA).

Submissions shall be uploaded on the EasyChair System no later than 01 July 2021.

Thematic background & relevance

In recent years, we have seen various governments starting to make a conscious effort to address societal challenges in their Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies. There is a growing realization of the necessity of immediate and profound systemic change, in order to tackle the manifold global crises of our times. However, business-as-usual and one-size-fits-all approaches will not be successful in providing the most effective and suitable multi-level and place-based actions, policies and governance approaches that will substantially boost transformations in this respect. We also see this emerging in STS literature through the notion of ‘transformative STI policies’ (e.g. Diercks et al., 2019; Kuhlmann & Rip, 2018; Schot & Steinmueller, 2018; Weber & Rohracher, 2012). There is an ongoing reflection that the design and implementation of transformative governance and forward-looking policies for systemic change need to address the complex and multi-dimensional nature of societal challenges in relevant areas, for example, mobility and accessibility, food and agriculture, energy systems, new urban governance and participation/co-creation, as well as environmental issues. Not only this requires a change in innovation objectives or new technological solutions, but calls for changes in the knowledge and innovation systems. That is, it consists of setting new priorities and radical changes in the socio-technical system, including a reconfiguration of the actors involved. And it will be necessary to combine different conceptual and empirical elements (with all the methodological and theoretical challenges ahead) to foster transformations. Henceforth, this ECC proposes the opportunity to discuss ‘STI policies for forward-looking transformations’ from different angles.

In particular, we welcome submissions that address (but not necessarily limited to) the following areas:

  • Pathways of STI policies
  • Types of innovations addressed by transformative STI policies
  • Scales – embedding of STI policies in geographical context
  • Science, society and policy interface
  • Evaluation, assessment and impacts of STI policies

 Further information on these 5 topics can be found here.

Conference structure and formats:

The conference will offer a varied programme, including paper presentation sessions, keynote talks, policy-and-practitioners panel, a conference award, and conference dinner.

Early career researchers can choose one of the two following options to present their work: 1) full paper presentation (15-minute presentation followed by a discussion) or 2) speed talk (5-minute pitches, followed by discussion in break out groups). The audience is expected (and encouraged) to act as discussants. More details on the conference formats can be found at the Conference website (click here).

In addition, a ‘science-to-policy’ training will be offered. It is aimed at developing early career researchers’ capacities to influence policy with their research. It will consist of 1) an online training session prior to the conference and 2) a pitching session at the conference itself. Further information and registration procedures are detailed in the Conference website (click here).

Registration, Fees and Accomodation:

  • Registration: free for EU-SPRI members; 250€ for non-EU-SPRI members
  • Accommodation (2 nights), lunch and dinner included
  • Travel expenses will not be covered (a limited number of grants for widening countries’ participants will be provided upon request)

Paper submission (instructions & deadlines):

Early career researchers interested in participating in this ECC must submit an extended abstract (app. 1000 to max. 1500 words, including key references) as well as a short motivation letter (1-2 paragraphs, max 1 page) via the EasyChair system no later than 01 July 2021. The decision will be communicated to the authors by 30th July 2021. If accepted, full papers must be submitted 2 weeks prior to the conference (speed talk submissions only need to submit their presentation as pdf).

Evaluation and selection criteria of submissions is based on academic quality, thematic relevance and motivation.


In case of any question, please contact the local organizing team:  and/or visit  the Conference website:

Please do draw the advert to the attention of any colleagues who may be interested.

Looking forward to your submissions,

The ECC Organizing Team


Diercks, G., Larsen, H., & Steward, F. (2019): Transformative innovation policy: Addressing variety in an emerging policy paradigm. Research Policy, 48(4), 880-894.

Kuhlmann, S., & Rip, A. (2018): Next-generation innovation policy and grand challenges. Science and public policy, 45(4), 448-454.

Schot, J., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2018): Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change. Research Policy, 47(9), 1554-1567.

Weber, K. M., & Rohracher, H. (2012): Legitimizing research, technology and innovation policies for transformative change: Combining insights from innovation systems and multi-level perspective in a comprehensive ‘failures’ framework. Research Policy, 41(6), 1037-1047.

Eu-SPRI Call for Proposals for Early Career Research Conferences (ECC)

The Eu-SPRI member organisations are invited to submit proposals for Early Career Research Conferences (ECC) in 2022

The Eu-SPRI Forum aims to support the intellectual and career development of early career SPRI researchers (doctoral candidates; Postdocs), most notably through doctoral programmes, conferences, summer schools and mobility between the partner groups.

ECC gather outstanding early career researchers with established academics for a series of exchanges about on-going and new research in research and innovation policy. Within the SPRI field ECC normally have no narrow themes, rather they are thematically open. Early career researchers can network with one another, across institutions and countries, and with established researchers, and gain critical feedback on their work, as well as experience in critiquing the work of peers.

The Eu-SPRI Forum supports one or two conferences per year. An ECC will normally have 25-30 participants. The maximum support for a conference amounts to 20,000 euros (for organisation and all actual incurred costs for participants once present, not their travel costs).  We actively encourage Member organisations to run conferences on-line.

This call asks for applications for ECC to be organised by 31st December 2022 at the latest.

Submission deadline: 31 March 2022

Proposals should be submitted by e-mail to Eu-SPRI Forum secretariat: Debbie Cox The Eu-SPRI Forum Executive Committee will decide the selection of conferences by 30 April 2022.    Please apply to Debbie for the application form.



Call for Participation: Eu-SPRI PhD Summer School: Advancing Mission-oriented Innovation Policy, 25-27 August 2021 Utrecht University (online)



Eu-SPRI Early Career Research Training School, Utrecht University, 25-27 August 2021 (online) 


Against the background of societal challenges (climate change, biodiversity loss, ageing, cyber-insecurity), innovation policy has changed markedly during the last decade. Governments are shifting the emphasis in innovation policy from generic R&D and triple-helix support to new programs and instruments to target specific problems following the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Europe’s Green Deal and Digital Agenda, or more specific challenges rooted in national or regional contexts.

Most of the new policies can be headed under ‘Mission-oriented Innovation Policy’ where policies are directed towards a societal challenge and articulated in specific targets and timelines. Missions should guide the policies and actions by the stakeholders involved and can be used as a yardstick for continuous evaluation.

While this type of policy is gaining ground in policy circles around the world, many open questions remain regarding its rationales, design, implementation and evaluation. What is more, as various mission-types of innovation policies are now embraced at regional, national and European levels, questions arise about subsidiarity and multi-level coordination. Finally, to further our understanding, we are in need of more empirical research on the experiences and effectiveness of various forms of mission-oriented innovation policy in tackling societal problems.

This course aims to provide PhD-students and early-career scholars insights into the state-of-the-art research and practice in mission-types of innovation policies. We will cover the following topics:

  • The rise of challenges, missions and SDGs in innovation policy
  • System perspectives on Mission-oriented Innovation Policy
  • Regional innovation policy in times of grand societal challenges
  • Quantitative mapping of knowledge and innovation for grand societal challenges
  • Governance of Mission-oriented Innovation Policy
  • Mission-oriented Innovation Policy in practice. Experiences across Europe (policy roundtable)

Next to lectures and a policy roundtable, we organize parallel paper sessions for young scholars to discuss and receive feedback on their research. Participants should send in a full draft in advance (see details below). We also offer a social event on Wednesday evening.


Target audience for this course are PhD-students and early career researchers in innovation policy, and is part of the series of training activities sponsored by Eu-SPRI. The course is also open to participants not affiliated to any Eu-SPRI member organization and outside Europe. We expect participants to have basic knowledge of innovation policy upon entering the course.


Send an email to with (1) your CV, (2) abstract of your paper (max. 1,000 words) and (3) motivation letter (max. 500 words). Deadline for submission: June 1, 2021.


The maximum number of participants for the course is 36. Participants will be selected on the basis of their interests and CV. Notification of acceptance and request of confirmation will be sent at June 10, 2021.

Participation is conditional upon sending your paper (5,000-10,000 words) to before August 10, 2021.


No fees.


The course will take place online from 25-27 August 2021 (afternoon sessions only).

  1. VENUE

Online (Zoom).


Anna Bergek (Chalmers University)

Frank Biermann (Utrecht University)

Gaston Heimeriks (Utrecht University)

Matthijs Janssen (Utrecht University)

Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University)

Ismael Rafols (Leiden University)

Karoline Rogge (SPRU & Fraunhofer ISI)

Iris Wanzenböck (Utrecht University)

Mattias Weber (Austrian Institute of Technology)

Joeri Wesseling (Utrecht University)


Koen Frenken (Utrecht University) (chair)

Gaston Heimeriks (Utrecht University)

Matthijs Janssen (Utrecht University)

Iris Wanzenböck (Utrecht University)

Joeri Wesseling (Utrecht University)


This training initiative is part of Eu-SPRI Early Career Research Training Schools and is locally supported by theMission-oriented Innovation Policy Observatory (MIPO) at Utrecht University.

Eu-SPRI Early Career Researcher (ECR) Webinar Series

One of the EU-SPRI key missions is to support the next generation of researchers in the fields of economics, political science, sociology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), business administration, geography and history. This is particularly important under the current COVID-19 pandemic where mobility and the international research experience have been substantially restricted. Early career researchers have been particularly hit by these restrictions, which could potentially impact their career progression in the short and medium term. Attendance at international conferences, gaining external critical feedback on their work, research stays abroad and enlarging their own networks are, among others, key skills to become independent researchers, find appropriate job opportunities and progress in their scientific careers. EU-SPRI wants to support the intellectual and career development of early career SPRI researchers by setting up a monthly webinar series

For you as an interested early-career researcher (PhD students and post-docs), the EU-SPRI webinar series will be an excellent opportunity to present on-going and/or new research in the area of innovation and policy to an international audience. The Webinar series is thematically open within the boundaries of the affiliated EU-SPRI institutions’ topics. Our aim is for seminars to reflect the diversity of research topics and interests in our community.

In order to be considered as a presenter, please submit an extended abstract (1000 words approx.), plus a short bio (and expected date of thesis defense in the case of PhD candidates) to the below mentioned contacts.  Researchers who are accepted are asked to send a full paper two weeks prior to the webinar. Webinars will run on every third Thursday of the month from 3.30 to 5pm (CET) using Zoom and will accommodate two presentations. The expected length of the talk would be around 15-20 minutes to fit the online format, followed by the discussion from a junior and senior colleagues (max. 15mins.) and Q&As from the audience. Total length of the webinar will be 1.30 hours, 45 minutes per participant. 

We now welcome your self-nomination as speakers in this year’s series. We are looking for a diverse pool of young researchers from all EU-SPRI institutions. We believe our PhD Students and postdocs are working at the forefront of their fields of research, resulting in an updated understanding of topical themes. Our interest is in the relevance of the work, how advanced the research is and topics they can showcase.

The Webinars Organising Committee

Mabel Sanchez Barrioluengo,  MIoIR/The University of Manchester,

Gaston Heimeriks, Utrecht University,

Rhiannon Pugh, CIRCLE/Lund University,

Torben Schubert, CIRCLE/Lund University & Fraunhofer ISI,

Henning Kroll, Fraunhofer ISI,

Eu-SPRI Annual Conference Oslo June 9-11 2021

Science and innovation – an uneasy relationship?

Rethinking the roles and relations of STI policies

A couple of decades ago, the concepts of science and innovation became steady partners, especially in policy. Countries, regions and the EU developed policies and support instruments for science and innovation – indicating that there is a close relationship between these two activities and therefore also policy areas. Although this is certainly sometimes the case, the Eu-SPRI 2021 conference invites participants to a more critical and reflexive discussion of this link. What are the problems of seeing science and innovation as two sides of the same coin? Is the merger of the two policy areas in some cases a barrier to solving societal challenges as much as it represents a solution? When is it helpful to look at science and innovation, and when do we need to keep them apart? Such questions are not just important for society, but also for developing the community interested in science and innovation policy studies.

The coronavirus crisis illustrates the topic well. In research, a large number of new projects have been started, sometimes with expedient application and review processes, and organizations like the European Research Council have allowed Principal investigators to change their projects to deal with the crisis. Funding agencies like the Research Council of Norway has supported scores of projects to deal with medical and societal aspects of Covid-19 and its policies. Globally many early studies have been controversial; observers have argued that premature results often have little value, and there seems to be no widespread consensus on the implications of the research carried out on the epidemic. Researchers have argued that the main importance of these activities is to prepare societies for the subsequent epidemics. Innovation, on the other hand, has emerged from the needs and necessities of the new situation. New digital working practices, social innovations and services and apps for communication, sharing and problem-solving have come out of organizations’ and individuals’ experimentation and needs, not out of science. Only in the attempts at making a vaccine against the coronavirus do we see a clear blending of science and innovation, although the race to find a vaccine might not correspond to contemporary ideals of open science and innovation.

The Eu-SPRI 2021 conference aims to discuss the boundries and linkages between these two sets of practices and how it can be usefully conceptualized to inform future and address current and future societal challanges. This will also allow the interdisciplinary community that studies science and innovation policies to join the conference to reflect upon their own history, trajectory and frameworks.  Visit the conference website for details