This paper investigates the role of innovation in (inclusive) development – subsequently referred to as innovation for inclusive development (IID) and the links to public policy in BRICS (Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa) countries. To achieve this aim, the authors examine the roles played by Triple Helix actors (THA), namely university, industry and government in IID activities across BRICS countries, drawing on the national systems of innovation (NSI) framework. The findings indicate that: (1) significant gaps exist in literature useful in advancing our knowledge of innovation as a mechanism for inclusive development; (2) BRICS countries focus, mostly, on innovation in the broad sense, with less attention paid to IID, the essence of this paper. One reason for this gap may lie in the inability to conceptualize and theorize innovation as a mechanism for including the wider society in socio-economic and development activities, or the lack of appreciation of the potential roles that innovation can play in development; (3) there is absence of specific public policies and policy support for IID in BRICS; and, (4) paucity of empirical evidence needed to critically analyse and explain the roles that THA in BRICS play in innovation ecosystems.