Jiménez-Sáez, F.; Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, J.M.; Zofío, J.L.
This paper evaluates to what extent policy-makers have been able to promote the creation and consolidation of comprehensive research groups that contribute to the implementation of a successful innovation system. Malmquist productivity indices are applied in the case of the Spanish Food Technology Program, finding that a large size and a comprehensive multi-dimensional research output are the key features of the leading groups exhibiting high efficiency and productivity levels. While identifying these groups as benchmarks, we conclude that the financial grants allocated by the program, typically aimed at small-sized and partially oriented research groups, have not succeeded in reorienting them in time so as to overcome their limitations. We suggest that this methodology offers relevant conclusions to policy evaluation methods, helping policy-makers to readapt and reorient policies and their associated means, most notably resource allocation (financial schemes), to better respond to the actual needs of research groups in their search for excellence (micro-level perspective), and to adapt future policy design to the achievement of medium-long term policy objectives (meso and macro-level). © 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.