Science policy in recent years in Catalonia has been based on the Catalan Agreement on Research and Innovation (PNRI). In particular it is shaped by the research and innovation plans and strategies set out by the Government of Catalonia, national plans implemented by the Spanish Government and European Union programmes.

Through the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Union promotes smart specialisation strategies in regions and states as a mechanism for improving competitiveness and boosting economic development. In this context, the Government of Catalonia approved the Catalan Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3CAT) in 2014.

The Ministry of Business and Knowledge, through the Secretariat for Universities and Research, is responsible for planning, running and executing university and research policies, while the Secretariat for Business and Competitiveness promotes business innovation and internationalisation policies. Other ministries also contribute to research and innovation policy in their areas of authority.