Micro-based Evidence Research

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  • This programme of the UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) relies mostly on micro data to analyse the determinants and effects of innovation and technological change in both industrial and developing countries. Model-based analysis, measurement, monitoring, and policy considerations are the key drivers of the programme. The research effort is organized around five topics: (i) a deeper understanding of the drivers and dynamics of innovation and international comparisons of innovation performance and its effect on growth, employment, and inequality; (ii) the collection of data and development of indicators to measure science, technology, and innovation; (iii) new insights into the issue of intellectual property rights and proposals for reform; (iv) detailed studies on particular industries, technologies, and regions of the world; and (v) assessment of human capital capacities in developing countries. The outputs of these studies are expected to contribute to the work of institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank, and a variety of economic think tanks around the world.


    The programme also fits closely with the twinning initiative with the Statistical Institute/International College of Renmin University in China. A number of conferences, seminars and exchanges of visitors have been and continue to be organized. The research programme also aims at developing on the basis of external contract funds and joint research projects with Renmin, such as, for example the COREACH project. During last year’s visit to Suzhou, further discussions were held concerning the steps of twinning with the College and with Renmin University. UNU-MERIT organized a summer school at the College and eleven students from China attended. Scholars from UNU-MERIT included Can Huang, Pierre Mohnen, Jacques Mairesse, visiting scholar Mingqian Zhang and former visitor Yilin Wu.

    Focal Point

    Professor Dr. Pierre Mohnen is the focal point of this programme.


    The purpose of this programme is to provide a better empirical understanding of the micro-economic determinants of innovation, technological change and evidence-based insights in the effectiveness of innovation and other policies.


    The programme will employ primarily a statistical and econometric approach using micro-based data.


    No gender issues are currently studied within this programme, primarily because of the lack of available data.

    Target Audience

    Policymakers in national and international organizations and academics are the audience for the outputs of this programme.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Influencing policymaking at the national level
    Target: National policy makers
    How: Reports, conferences, training initiatives

    Impact: Supporting academic communities
    Target: Academic research community
    How: Academic publications

    Research Findings

    To hear about the research findings of this programme, please listen to an interview with Pierre Mohnen.

    Policy Bridging

    A veritable explosion of interest in statistical indicators to improve the quality of governance in the developing world is today driving a significant increase in the use of indicators by policymakers in national and international organisations, international investors, bilateral and multilateral development cooperation agencies, academic researchers and the media. To illustrate, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) decisions are often based on assessments of the “quality” of indicators on the governance of countries and international institutions, such as the World Bank, and many bilateral donors make their decisions on the allocation of (development aid) funds depending on the score of countries on “Good Governance Indicators”. Over the last decade, statistical indicators ranging from science and technology performance and innovation to the degree of good governance have therefore been developed into a more sophisticated exercise. New sophisticated indicators have been established in many countries as part of improvements in public management. Model-based analysis, measurement, monitoring and policy considerations are the key drivers for this research group in their attempt to reach policymakers. The study outputs are expected to contribute to the work of national and international institutions and a variety of economic think tanks around the world.

    Value Added

    The programme provides direct support to national statisticians, researchers and policymakers. Data gathering is an essential input into research.


    Project outcomes are primarily published in journals, research memoranda and policy briefs. Furthermore, the website and the annual report contain a list of all publications and other relevant output.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    The programme has been running since the beginning of 2006 and will continue throughout the biennium (2012-2013).


    External evaluation is regularly carried out. Assessment of progress is based on success in publications.


    The biennium will be strongly influenced by success in attracting new funds. Furthermore the group is now at its height with respect to academic reputation, which will need to be maintained over the coming years.

    Expected Duration

    The programme is expected to run for a duration of 120 months, from 1 January 2006 through 31 December 2015.

  • United Nations University
    Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology
    Keizer Karelplein 19, 6211 TC Maastricht
    The Netherlands

    T: +31 43 388-4400
    F: + 31 43 388-4499