Tracking Progress

The Tracking Progress workstream of Mission Innovation (MI) is led by the MI Secretariat with the aim of assessing progress towards achieving the goals set out in the MI Action Plan and the Delivering the Action Plan 2018-2020 document. This work consists of a number of different activities.

Tracking the impact of MI

A founding principle of MI was the commitment by all members to seek to double their clean energy RD&D investments by 2020/21 in selected priority areas. Each member — according to its own priorities, policies, processes, and laws — independently determines the best use of its RD&D funding and defines its own RD&D priorities and path to reach the doubling goal.

MI members are delivering on their commitments: reported RD&D investments have increased by USD 1 billion in the first year, by over USD 3 billion in the second year of MI, and by USD 4.6 billion in the third year. The third-year increase corresponds to a 55% increase in investment above the baselines of those MI members that reported. Find out more about our members’ doubling efforts and about MI’s impact to date.

In addition, MI is increasingly functioning as a “global hub” in catalysing new international collaboration activities: more than 59 new international collaborative initiatives have been announced by members since the launch of MI, particularly to support the implementation of the eight Innovation Challenges.

Enhancing existing data collection of member spending on clean energy RD&D

Tracking public clean energy RD&D expenditures enables members to demonstrate their commitment to innovation and the clean energy transition, while detailed national expenditures by sector can help identify national research strengths and potential synergies for international cooperation. In addition, a clear picture of global clean energy RD&D portfolios supports determining whether investments correlate with the expected contributions of different sectors and technologies to carbon emission reductions, and to rebalance portfolios if needed.

MI is supporting members’ efforts to improve their data collection, such as by expanding the sectoral granularity of reported data from all MI members as well as its quality. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is collaborating with the Tracking Progress team on this work strand, as set out in the Letter of Intent for collaboration between the IEA and MI signed at the 3rd MI Ministerial in May 2018.

Tracking private-sector investments

Tracking private-sector investment in clean energy RD&D is of paramount importance to assess whether innovation policies are mobilising increased efforts from private companies and to ensure that innovations can advance to scale-up and deployment.

In recent years, a range of analyses and methodologies (e.g. surveys, patent-based estimates, mixed approaches) have been used to estimate private RD&D investments in clean energy at a global level and their ratio to public expenditures. While there is no formal commitment by MI members to report private RD&D data, MI will compare private-sector data collection and estimation methodologies and put forward a proposal for an opt-in approach, common to all MI members, to strengthen the assessment of private RD&D investments. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre is collaborating with the Tracking Progress team on this work strand.

Tracking overall progress to accelerate clean energy innovation

MI aims to accelerate cost reductions and technical improvement of existing technologies as well as help commercialise new, transformational technologies. However, establishing a statistically solid causal relationship between increased RD&D investments and cost reductions is methodologically challenging

Several organizations working in the field of clean energy innovation already regularly collect and report cost and technical data for certain clean energy technologies (e.g. IRENA’s Renewable Energy Cost database, IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress). To complement these efforts, the Tracking Progress team is investigating alternative approaches to measure the impact of increased investments on innovation performance.