Innovation can provide answers to many of the world’s challenges, and its impact is becoming increasingly sought across business, academia, and industry. But how can policy and government play its part in facilitating innovative ecosystems that look to the future, and remain agile? These are among the questions being addressed across the European Commission just now as it plans the 9th Research and Innovation Framework Programme (FP9). This will provide the focus and mechanisms for Innovation and research funding from 2021 to 2027 when Horizon 2020 comes to an end. The plans are going through the legislative process just now, and will reach the European Parliament this May, so we are rapidly closing in on decision time. But how should the new framework be shaped? And how can it improve the impact innovation has in tackling the challenges facing the continent?