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Focus Areas

Innovation Economics

Optimizing the impact of investments in science, technology, and innovation

Countries around the world are embracing innovation-led economic growth. However, implementing innovation strategies is complex and highly situation dependent. To be successful, it is necessary to understand the country or region’s innovation ecosystem—the diverse array of stakeholders, the formal and informal interactions within it, and the environment in which they act. 

The RTI Center for Applied Economics and Strategy has policy, economics, and business experts who apply rigorous methods in econometrics, evaluation science, and strategic analysis to characterize how science and technology affect the economy; the environment; and the health, equity, and welfare of a society. We partner with government agencies, organizations, foundations, and the private sector to identify and optimize the impact of investments in research, technology development, and innovation. 

We work closely with our clients to define and identify priorities and use cutting-edge research and analytics to determine strategies and solutions. Our team develops state-of-the-art approaches to collect data and analyze impacts relevant for technology and innovation programs, policy design and implementation, research and development ecosystems, specific industries, and/or overall economic growth and productivity. We identify multiple data sources and use statistical analysis to link those multiple datasets to observed changes in the economy and society. Our work spans many areas—including basic and applied research, the environment, global public health, energy, equity, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and technology and research infrastructure. 

We specialize in evaluations and strategy development to guide a range of efforts in science, technology, and innovation—including the following: 

  • Innovation accelerator programs 

  • Research and innovation funding programs  

  • Portfolio and program valuation for scientific research, technology development, and early-stage start-ups 

  • Economic impact studies of science, technology, and innovation infrastructure 

  • Industry support programs 

  • Evaluation, social, and economic impact studies  

  • Strategy to guide development of specific innovations 

As your implementation partner and advisor, we will assess and diagnose your environment and build programs designed to accelerate the impact of science and technology innovation toward sustainable economic growth. Our work empowers leaders with the strategic insights and results they need to build an effective policy environment and programs that will lead to real economic impact. 

Equitable Economic Development 

The economic development practice is at an inflection point. Extreme income and wealth inequality has reached crisis levels and the field is under disruption to better respond to these trends. It will take a community of practice testing a range of innovative ideas to best localize solutions for more equitable outcomes. Our virtual platform offers in-depth articles and interviews from a variety of sources concerned with improving the field. 

Visit the Idea Lab to learn more about equitable economic development.