Document Type : Original Research Paper


Associate Professor of Policy-making in Science, Technology and Innovation, Research Organization for Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran


Here we present an overview of the theoretical evolution of the field of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) research and its implications on the progressive evolution from a single discipline of Neo-classical economics to an interdisciplinary research field with critical and reflective capacity. Research field can be more empowering to offer relevant policy if the integration among the involved disciplines is higher. This overview will help in determining if different paradigmatic turns this field has gone through, during the last 60 years, has prepared the field to offer more salient policy advice to the policymakers for the complex problems. The research unit is "research program" that each theoretical paradigm developed around the notion of "Failure" which justifies the public intervention in STIP space. Drawing on Klein–Welsh classification, the conceptual model was constructed on Fritsch technological instrumentalism-McCarthy's technological essentialism. The findings of this study are: First, this research field has gone through two significant paradigmatic shifts; from instrumentalism to technological essentialism of evolutionary economics and now to interactionism of multi-level perspective approach. Second, these two turns have increased the complexity of the level of analysis, the integrated disciplines and the level of integration within the field. Based on the conceptual framework, the study concludes that the field of STIP is emerging more integrated at the level of its foundations and by being more reflective and critical. It has increased its power to provide more relevant policy prescriptions for wicked problems.


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