An important and re-occurring research topic of the Innovation group is the evaluation of the additionality of public support programs for R&D. While in the past the focus has been mostly on public R&D and innovation grants awarded by firms, for the upcoming years we envisage to extend our research portfolio by also studying the impact of R&D tax credits and similar initiatives. An example for this research line is the Belgian R&D tax credit system where firms are partially exempt from payroll taxes of R&D employees. The system was introduced in January 2006 for researchers holding a Ph.D. in exact or applied sciences, (veterinarian) medicine, or civil engineering. Since its introduction, the tax credit initiative has undergone several law changes. These enable us to identify several treatment effects, for example whether the reduced employment costs are used by firms to increase their R&D and innovation efforts.

Another related research area is to evaluate such policies with respect to their potential of absorbing high-skilled labor in the business sector. While sometimes scholars have studied R&D employment, it has not been explicitly addressed how such policies might change the skill structure of firms’ personnel in general. This is particularly important in the Flemish case, as both the R&D tax credit as well as the D&I grant schemes could also be interpreted as a wage-subsidy for high-skilled labor.