Public participation in mission-oriented innovation projects

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Mission-oriented innovation policy is currently gaining renewed interest as an approach for addressing societal challenges. One of the promises is that missions can mobilise and align diverse stakeholders around a shared goal. Recent literature underlines the importance of public participation (e.g. municipalities and civil society organisations) in the socioeconomic transformations required for attaining missions. We ask how public participation differs among (non-)mission-oriented innovation projects. Drawing on a database containing Dutch government-funded innovation projects, we investigate whether mission-oriented projects are associated with earlier, more open, and more influential forms of public participation than conventional projects. Although the results suggest that mission-oriented projects indeed correspond with earlier participation of more public actors, we find little evidence that they also coincide with increased diversity and financial influence of public participants. We conclude by discussing how policymakers and intermediaries may engage in strategies to make missions more inclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122538
Number of pages16
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number122538
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2023


This work was supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme Co-Change [grant number 873112] and Pro-Ethics [grant number 872441]. The


  • mission-oriented policy
  • challenge-led policy
  • Innovation policy
  • wicked problems
  • public participation
  • responsible innovation
  • societal challenges


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