Department of Organization

PhD fellow

Room: KIL/14.A-4.50b
E-mail: dho.ioa@cbs.dk
David Howoldt

Demands for an active role of the state in making economic development more sustainable are becoming prevalent in academic debates. In this context, innovation policy is a key area of state activity since fostering sustainability requires renewing production and consumption systems. For my PhD, I analyze innovation policy by focusing on policy instruments as techniques governments use to achieve policy goals. I devote particular attention to the instruments fostering sustainability.

My project consists of a mapping of innovation policy instruments; an analysis of the difference between traditional growth-oriented instruments and new sustainability-oriented ones; and a study of factors facilitating the diffusion of these new instruments. It uses a dataset containing information on 10.000+ recent instruments from more than 50 countries. My project contributes to the state of research in three ways: First, it introduces a new approach to the comparative study of instruments drawing on methods for quantitative text analysis and machine learning. These methods allow analyzing higher instrument numbers than before and provide new ways for recognizing patterns in the data. Second, my project’s research results will give new insights into the features of instruments for sustainability by testing assumptions from the existing body of literature, such as that these instruments involve more societal stakeholders than others. Third, my project contributes to the theory of policy diffusion, considering how membership in international organizations, structural equivalence and other factors affect which instruments states adopt.

Primary research areas

Innovation and Research Policy

European Union Politics and Policies

Applied Computational Social Science

20th century Political Theory

Comparative Policy Studies

Theories of Knowledge


Administrative tasks

Link to this homepage


Other teaching activities

Selected publications

The Europeanisation of Research Policy. Effects of the European Research Council in France, Poland and Germany (MA thesis), 2016
(“Europäisierung der Forschungspolitik. Die Auswirkungen des European Research Council in Frankreich, Polen und Deutschland“)

Published online at:



Annual Report 2015–16 of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, in-house publication, 2016


Heinrich Klotz – Rektoratsreden, eds. David Howoldt et al., Ausnahme-Verlag, Karlsruhe, 2010


Co-organization and -teaching of workshop “Drawing boundaries between good scientific practice and misconduct” for the Summer School „Boundaries in Science and Education Research“ at the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER), Kassel University, Germany, October 2017

Academic Interests

Outside activities


No outside activities to report


OECD Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation

Policy analysis

No outside activities to report

No outside activities to report