Isomorphism and Contextuality: national policies for science, competitiveness and innovation (Isomorphic differences)


National science and innovation policies can appear strikingly similar: in terms of the justifications given for research investment and new initiatives, the models and tools put forward, and the accompanying language of selectivity, accountability and research–industry alignment. At the same time, national policies inevitably reflect more particular histories and traditions: including specific institutional forms, socio-economic contexts and research traditions. This project investigates the changing balance between duplication (or isomorphism) and difference within national science and innovation policies. More specifically, it will conduct a comparative analysis of science and innovation policy-making in three settings:China, Denmark and USA. The project will shed light both on the development of research and innovation policy internationally and on the possibilities for national strategy-making. Is it better to ‘follow the crowd’ or to ‘set a distinctive direction’?


Public (National)


Danmarks frie forskningsfond

Collaborative partners:

University of Edinburgh



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