Do innovation Vouchers Help SMEs to Cross the Bridge Towards Science?

The Dutch innovation voucher aims to stimulate the interaction between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and public research institutes. This document provides an estimate of the effectiveness of the innovation voucher instrument, employing the fact that the vouchers were assigned randomly by means of a lottery. The main conclusion is that the innovation voucher instrument does stimulate SMEs to engage in many new assignments with public research institutes. Out of every ten vouchers, eight are used for a project that would not have been assigned without such a voucher, one is used for a project that would have been assigned anyhow, and one voucher is not used. An overall assessment of the innovation voucher also needs to take into account the value added of the additional assignments, however. No insights have yet been obtained here.

Policy implications 
Distributing innovation vouchers can be an effective way of encouraging SMEs to engage in projects with public research institutes.
Reference 
Cornet, M., Vroomen, B., & van der Steeg, M., 2006. 'Do Innovation Vouchers Help SMEs to Cross the Bridge Towards Science?'. CPB Discussion Paper, no. 58.