This paper provides an analysis of the innovation and public policy context in France, and its influence on the construction sector. French policy instruments for promoting innovation in construction reflect the general R&D and public policy context. The organisation of R&D activity in France has the following peculiarities:
• The innovation system is strongly regulated by public actors, with and important public research sector which also offers numerous incentives for promoting public-private co-operative R&D. The share of public funding is the highest in comparison to other OECD’s countries
• the role of the State is shifting from direct funding towards a more incentive mode
• R&D activity is concentrated in research centres, which are rather independent of universities and other educational organisms. This situation has been changing during the last ten years with the development of tighter partnerships between research centres and universities
• a general trend is the development of networking between public and private actors, both at a national and at an international level
• private R&D is a combination of centralised structures linked to the main industries (for instance construction materials) and of a great number of small structures close to SMEs.