In this article we take a fresh look at Research and Innovation (R & I hereinafter) policy and define a new notion: Schumpeterian catalytic R & I policy. Such policy style amends and enriches the new missionoriented framework for innovation policy by assigning more weight to the microeconomic dimension of private actors' actions and by being more concerned with the temporary nature of interventions. We relate our argument to recent empirical trends in productivity dynamics and innovative activities. These suggest that an innovation slowdown is taking place and, consequently, that a renewed interest in the (re-)direction-rather than on the intensity of innovative activities-is key to the design of R & I policy capable to tackle current challenges. We use the evidence to build a schematic theoretical framework to inform policy design, and we outlined the defining features of our proposed policy style.