Abstract In this article, the remaining scope for national policy-making in the framework of internationalization, especially in the field of innovation policies, is investigated. Four ideal-typical policy directions are sketched, which in actual policy-making are always combined: (1) adaptation to international requirements, (2) international co-operation, (3) policy competition as creative bookkeeping, and (4) national specialization or differentiation. For each of these possible directions, a 4×3 matrix has been composed in which four government roles (providing the necessary infrastructures, organizing and supporting necessary economic and political processes, providing the intellectual framework, and setting the overarching ambition of the nation) are looked at for science, technology, and innovation policy, respectively. The main thesis is that countries will have to go on combining these policy directions, but with a stronger emphasis on the fourth direction, i.e., national differentiation building on the upgrading and knowledge-intensification of already proven industrial strengths. Also, criteria are given on the basis of which the assessment can be made which policy direction to follow in a certain case.