Governments take pride in selecting the very best research proposals. However, make no mistake on the efforts that go into this undertaking. In 2014, over 35.000 proposals were submitted towards the European Horizon 2020 funding programme for innovation[1]. Europe’s governments are estimated to receive ten times this amount for their national innovation funding programmes. This means that Europe processes almost a thousand proposals for innovation grants every day!

Governments invest in their national innovation to amongst others stimulate economic growth. It is known that a country has an optimum economic growth when spending about 3% of its’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or total income earned) towards innovation. Unfortunately, the policy “3%” provides governments with absolutely no clue as which project to spend their money on.

Luckily, researchers and innovators are quite supportive when it comes to discussing such important matters as funding for their research. They may even be happy to pass by the government office in person, just to discuss the issue. On an average day, a physicist may offer well meant advice to invest in exploring the magnetic spin of a quark, a chemist may suggest developing a new catalyst for lignin conversion, and an engineer may suggest enhancing a robotic hand. Basically, all innovators ‘agree’ that their innovation projects are most vital to Europe. All other innovative projects are of course important, just slightly less so. For a government it is near impossible to make fact-based choices between these projects.

Now imagine just one innovator passing by with a different approach. He innovates for economic growth. With one simple figure, he illustrates the economic effects created by his previous projects. Next, with one second simple figure, he communicates an understanding on how his innovative actions lead to economic effects, and convincingly outlines his plan to increase these economic effects. He offers a fact-based plan on how to meet public needs. I believe a government may be offering this innovator funding before he can ask for it.

I believe this one innovator has the advantage over all other innovators when it comes to addressing public budgets. That is why I offer economic impact studies.

[1] European Union (2016). Horizon 2020 Monitoring Report 2014. Retrieved from