Innovation Vouchers

One way of stimulating R&D is to provide support for R&D collaborations. Recently, there has been a rise in governmental backed programmes known as innovation vouchers that provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with financial incentives to engage the services of external experts. However, the causal empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these programmes is still scarce.

This study analyses the effect of an innovation voucher scheme in the UK that grants SMEs from all sectors financial support of up to 5,000 GBP for engaging the services of experts when pursuing an innovation related project within the firm. A randomised controlled trial for three application rounds in 2015 allows us to analyse the causal effect of the programme. Two surveys – the first survey one year and the second survey two years after the vouchers award – shed light on short- and medium-term effects of the voucher scheme.