Daniel Kupka

Economics of Science and Innovation '10

Originally from
Currently living in France


Daniel Kupka (Economics of Science and Innovation '10) is an economist and policy analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (Science and Technology Policy Division).

You started at the OECD in a trainee program for BSE graduates. When were you promoted to your current position?

I moved to Paris and started working in August 2010, directly after completing the master program, and began my current position in January 2011.

What is a typical day like?

As a policy analyst, my main task is to provide support to the Working Party on Innovation and Technology and the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), in particular in issues that are of interest to OECD member countries. Recently, these include the role of demand-side innovation policies, commercialization of knowledge and the transition to a green growth path.

My working day usually starts with updating my supervisor about the latest project progress and we then agree on the next steps need to be taken. Depending on the project phase, I work either independently or in a team of 2-3 people. A project lasts normally 9 months and undergoes multiple reviews until it will be submitted to member countries. Basically, it involves getting in contact with stakeholders in industry, ministries and academia, drafting reports, attending thematic workshops and presenting the results in meetings.

In addition, we also deal with cross-directorate and intra-directorate activities. For example, we drafted a section on the review of the US Procurement System (represents roughly 9% of GDP) in terms of its likely effects to drive innovation. I am amazed by the continuous learning environment. This is key as it keeps you motivated for your subject even under high time pressure. A high responsibility and a certain degree of freedom in pursuing the projects add up to a perfect mix.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects.

I was in charge of presenting the research outcomes of a workshop on green technologies to delegates who lead on this policy area in their respective countries (photo). Getting such an opportunity, at a time when green technologies are receiving substantial attention from policy makers, made this as a very fulfilling professional experience.

You practiced this type of policy presentations during the master program. What else from your coursework has been useful for you at the OECD?

The multidisciplinary nature of the Economics of Science and Innovation Program is a strong plus, since it allows you to define your area of interest. In my case, I focused on topics with an innovation and technology policy dimension. Therefore, the insights acquired from leading experts in courses such as “Economics of Innovation”, “International R&D Cooperation”, “Biotechnology” and others definitely find their way into recent OECD contributions.

All in all, it sounds like this have really come together for you in Paris.

Life in Paris is a double edged sword as everywhere else. On weekends there are loads of things to do and to explore. A privilege is the ride with the Parisian metro every morning. Don’t miss it!
The OECD is an exceptional place to work. Of course, exceptional workplaces sometimes require exceptionally long working hours. But in return, the international working environment and the reward structure are very appealing, and the “work-life balance” policy is not just a catchy and empty phrase.

Maybe a weekend in Barcelona could fit in somewhere...

I try to visit Barcelona as often as possible. This year's Champion's League football final could be a good time for a next visit.