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Understanding Knowledge Spillovers from R&D and Innovation – Concepts and Evidence

November 24, 2023

IRC Report 001



Dr Serdal Ozusaglam

Professor Stephen Roper

Dr Halima Jibril


This report provides an overview of the mechanisms and evidence relating spillovers from publicly funded R&D and innovation activity. We distinguish between spillovers which influence innovation activity in the wider economy and those which influence productivity. We also consider separately micro-economic studies which focus on the mechanisms through which spillovers occur and macro-economic approaches which focus on economy-wide estimates of spillover effects.

A review of recent international evidence provides little clarity on the scale of spillovers from publicly funded R&D and innovation. Spillover strength appears strongly contextual, varying between sector, technologies and countries. The literature does, however, highlight a range of factors which may strengthen or limit the extent of any spillovers. These lead to a checklist of factors which should be taken into account in any ex ante evaluation of anticipated spillover effects.

A full report is available via the download section of this page.

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