• The transition to a low carbon economy clearly requires accelerating energy innovation and technology adoption. Governments have an important role in this context. They can help by establishing the enabling environment in which innovation can thrive, and within which effective and efficient policies can be identified, with the specific goal of advancing research, development, demonstration and, ultimately, deployment (RDD&D) of clean energy technologies. • At the front end of the innovation process, significant increases in, and restructuring of, global RD&D efforts will be required, combined with well-targeted government RD&D policies. The development of a clear policy framework for energy technology RD&D, based on good practices, should include six elements: • Coherent energy RD&D strategy and priorities • Adequate government RD&D funding and policy support • Co-ordinated energy RD&D governance • Strong collaborative approach, engaging industry through public private partnerships (PPPs) • Effective RD&D monitoring and evaluation • Strategic international collaboration • While countries have been favouring certain technologies over others, based on decisions on which areas are to receive funding, clear priorities are not always determined through structured analysis and documented processes. A review of stated energy RD&D priorities, based on announced technology programmes and strategies, and recent spending trends reveals some important deviations from stated priorities and actual RD&D funding.