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Defining strategic financial governance of innovation: institutional context(s) and strategic capabilities of State-Investment Banks in the EU.

Project description

An in-depth comparative analysis of state investment banks in the EU

Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) or State Investment Banks (SIBs) are tasked with policy mandates to facilitate investments into strategic economic sectors and sustainable economic growth. SIBs are an active element of financial governance of innovation and development. They can provide scarce long-term funding to large scale or risky projects. The EU-funded DeFInE project will provide a comparative analysis of SIBs and develop a conceptual framework for SIBs in Europe. Specifically, the project will analyse the strategic capacities that are directly linked to their policy roles. By combining an evolutionary economics perspective, economics of innovation and a public governance perspective the project will analyse institutional setups and internal competences of SIBs. The findings will shed light on what makes some SIBs play the role of strategic investors in achieving innovation-led growth.


Development Finance Institutions in Europe (DeFInE) is a multidisciplinary research project that aims at developing an institutional conceptual framework for development finance institutions or state-investment banks (SIBs) in the European Union and analyzing their strategic competences that are directly linked to their policy roles. SIBs are increasingly recognized as strategic agents of change in providing scarce long-term resources to risky projects that commercial financial sector is either unable or unwilling to finance. Following an emerging discussion over ‘Entrepreneurial State’ and the need to make financing an integral part of innovation policies, SIBs should be considered as an active element of financial governance of innovation and development. Despite a large number of currently existing SIBs, their analysis has been mostly focused on policy objectives, financial instruments and corporate governance. However, not all SIBs have been successful in playing strategic policy roles. Reasons are complex: lack of strategic industrial policies, or changes in policy objectives, political interference, changes in sources of funds and corporate strategies, but also, and more importantly, lack or change of internal strategic competences. The project combines evolutionary economics perspective (dynamic capabilities), economics of innovation (financing of innovation) and public governance perspective (policy capacity, bureaucracy) in order to analyse institutional contexts and internal capacities of SIBs. In doing so, the aim of the project is to better understand what makes some SIBs strategic state-backed investors in financing innovation-led growth while others – less so. The context of multinational governance of the EU adds another unique dimension to the study. European Commission has already expressed the vision to more actively engage National Promotional Finance Institutions in Member States in the next budgetary period 2021-2027.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76