Research and the driving role of public institutions. Policies, arrangements, and instruments for innovation RIPM – Vol.4 – n.1

Special Focus 

Research and the driving role of public institutions. Policies, arrangements, and instruments for innovation

RIPM – Vol.4 – n.1 | 2021

Deadline for submissions 15 june 2021


Special Focus Overview

“Special Focus” is the traditional, in-depth feature in Rivista Italiana di Public Management
(RIPM) that occupies a fundamental place in the journal. It seeks to determine the sphere of
privileged attention to a current issue that can promote reflection and create debate between
scholars, public and private management, and the world inside and outside public institutions.

The RIPM Special Focus section aims to confirm one of the journal’s founding principles: to
create an arena of reflection in order to guide – with regard to a specific area chosen from time
to time – the most innovative activity of research and paradigmatic representation, using a multidisciplinary approach. One of the specific features of RIPM is to reveal a predictive view aimed at intercepting current and paradigmatic veins of research to be analyzed with a plural gaze,through the convergence of a broad variety of scientific approaches of research and analysis –
approaches that, among other spheres, involve economics, law, politics, philosophy, sociology,
and anthropology.

Special Focus: objectives

The Special Focus Research and the driving role of public institutions. Policies, arrangements, and instruments
for innovation confirms RIPM’s vision – and that of its editorial team – in tenaciously committing
itself to the journal’s fundamental objective: to deal with current themes for public institutions
with a multidisciplinary approach and with a critical, recommendatory gaze.
The Special Focus selected for the first issue of 2021 is more current and consistent than ever.
This choice is certainly reinforced by the multiple, heterogeneous nature of ways to feed debates
and make decisions, dramatically highlighted by the epidemiological crisis which has struck the
entire world.

The objective of the proposed Special Focus is to analyse – from a number of perspectives, and
by emphasizing theoretical approaches that are both technical and operational in nature – what
the role of research in the twentieth century is to be. It is a bold theme, and awareness of this
cannot be shied away. But it is a crucial theme for the development of generations to come. It was
therefore decided that RIPM must play a role of its own by taking part – while offering keys for
interpretation and challenging, rigorous perspectives – in the public and scientific debate over
the role of research, which Covid-19 has certainly accelerated.

In fact, we are dealing today with an exceptional front line of debate, one that cuts across sectors,
with positions that quite often go against science and competence. For many years, there has
been little room for scientific and technological research; but we are now also seeing a reversal
of trend, and a revitalization of growth, of competitiveness and, more generally, of the role of
science in human progress. From this point of view, the Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to restore research at the centre of human development: it has an essential role in being
able to grapple with some of the greatest challenges of our time, while rethinking the traditional
models of dealing with public decisions.

We are living in an era of great changes, in which megatrends, understood also as a multitude
of social, technological, demographic, and environmental variables, are contributing towards
changing our world and are redefining the economic, financial, and geopolitical landscape.

Investing in science and research helps improve the decision-making processes within which
current reality is dealt with. It is a fundamental choice for the well-being of all society, because it
feeds the innate need for new knowledge. The future of every country is founded upon its ability
to produce knowledge. A national or supranational strategy is needed, one that incentivizes scientific and technological research while conveying resources – economic and of human capital
– towards values shared in all sectors. In a similar way, the governance of the infrastructures
that deal with research must be outlined by accepting – as opportunities – the pressing needs so
dramatically redefined by the pandemic. The role of public institutions is therefore the strategic
lever for defining – or redefining – the consequent driving function.

The impulse provided by public institutions – in an innovative way – to placing research back “at
the centre” is a critical element of assessment on a global level. Increasing commitment and uniting strengths while creating a shared model for funding research that places merit, excellence,
and fairness at the centre while overcoming geographical boundaries, is an inescapable imperative for the survival of humanity.

What are the most innovative institutional arrangements in public institutions, for promoting,
accelerating, and capitalizing on scientific and technological research?

Is it possible to define different kinds of funding in order to incentivize differently the various
phases of basic and applied research? What are currently the mechanisms for assessing research
that are most consistent with the models of sustainable development?

Is it possible to create tools for the development of a model capable of determining mechanisms
for funding scientific research, that will take all the stakeholders into account while guaranteeing
the best result achievable for society as a whole?

What are the models, the players, and the mechanisms required for a virtuous determination of
circular pathways for funding research? Is it possible to determine paradigms for implementing
an innovative model of scientific research and for having an assessment methodology suitable for
permitting merit-based rewards? Which are the privileged players for collecting and allocating
the resources to be devoted to research? What are the management tools for handling and organizing the research analysis and assessment processes? Are there robust Technology Transfer (TT)
models today? Is it possible to develop TT models that can feed virtuous forms of collaboration
between academia, the market, and non-profits? How can the human capital of researchers, and
their role in institutions, be promoted? What are the innovative models of support and development of scientific and technological research by public and private institutions?

These are some of the questions with which we intend to solicit contributions for the Special
Focus, with the purpose of guiding scholars, managers, and technicians in exploring a terrain of
analysis that makes it possible to generate, first and foremost, a variety of perspectives that are
innovative both from the standpoint of the development of theories, and in terms of examination
of the phenomena.

The prospective authors are asked for their contribution towards expressing an innovative framework of research and study, attentive to raising a multitude of conceptual positions, for example
by experimenting with contributions by several authors in different scientific disciplines when the
paper expresses a collaborative and incisive synergy in bringing up ideas, models, and keys for
interpretation on the issues it deals with.


How to submit a paper

Authors wishing to contribute to the Special Focus Call must submit their papers, citing the code (RIPM – Vol.4 – N.1 | Special Focus) and in accordance with editorial standards, to the e-mail address:

The submission deadline is 15 June 2021.

The paper’s format must be 10,000 words – including tables and figures and excluding bibliography – using the attached template. For editorial standards and the template, consult the section:

Editorial Guidelines