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Open method of coordination
Member States have much to learn from sharing their experience of national policies in areas of common interest. This can help them to improve the design and implementation of their own policies, to develop coordinated or joint initiatives on issues of transnational interest, and to identify areas where Community initiatives could reinforce national actions.
The “Open Method of Coordination” (OMC) was introduced by the European Council of Lisbon in March 2000. It was a method designed to help Member States progress jointly in the reforms they needed to undertake in order to reach the Lisbon goals. The method included the following elements:
Initially the OMC was only applied to Employment and Economic policy. When the European Council set the 3% of GDP objective for R&D investment, the Commission suggested that OMC should be applied for this objective as well. The Spring European Council of March 2003 thus agreed to apply the OMC for policies related to investment in research (and to human resources and mobility of researchers as well).
Since October 2005, CREST decided to meet once or twice a year at the level of Directors General to review and facilitate the progress of policy coordination.
The process is expected to produce the following outcomes:
First OMC cycle (2003-2004)
CREST created five Expert Groups to address actions in the Commission’s 3% Action Plan where OMC was particularly relevant:
Issues related to the mobility and careers of researchers were dealt by the Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility.
Each Expert Group was asked to identify good practices and suggest policy recommendations to Member States. Each Expert Group presented to CREST a report with its findings.
1. Public research base and its links to industry [ - 134Kb]
On the basis of the group reports, CREST issued an overall report [ - 397 Kb], which contains 30 policy recommendations and orientations for the second cycle OMC. The report showed that OMC helped Member States to develop a common understanding of national policies that need to be mobilized to improve investment in research and to identify issues of transnational interest.
Second OMC cycle (2005-2006)
Following the positive results of the first OMC cycle, CREST launched a second cycle in December 2004, built on the following principles: identification of a limited number of priority topics, leadership by countries, work modules (designed for each topic) and the use of peer review when appropriate.
CREST decided to concentrate on more focused topics in each of the areas of the first cycle. It established an Expert Group for each of these topics and each expert group prepared a report.
In September 2006, CREST published its second overall report [ - 1216 Kb] on the Application of the Open Method of Coordination. It contains a summary of the work and the outcomes of each of the five Expert Groups.
The Commission supported the OMC process by providing expertise and relevant analytical materials.
Study "Examining the design of national research programmes" [ - 792 Kb]
The Commission organised a conference on “Improving research policies in Europe through the Open Method of Coordination” under the auspices and in collaboration with the Austrian Presidency. The conference took place in Brussels on 18 May 2006. (Programme OMC) [ - 591 Kb]
You can find more information on http://cordis.europa.eu/austria/events_18052006_en.html.
Third OMC cycle (2006-2007)
For the OMC 3% third cycle four Expert Groups were established
CREST adopted the Guidelines [ - 448 Kb] on "Coordinating the Framework Programme and the Structural Funds to support R&D" at its meeting in Essen in May 2007.
For more information on the discussion with stakeholders please see http://ec.europa.eu/invest-in-research/events_en.htm.
The final report [ - 1.18 Mb] on internationalisation of R&D was adopted by CREST at the 2007 December meeting in Brussels. One of the objectives was to take stock of the strategies and activities of EU Member and Associated States with regards to the internationalisation of R&D. Based on the report CREST adopted conclusions [ - 1248 Kb] on how to face the challenge of globalisation and how to approach to a proactive international policy in this regard.
CREST report on the Internationalisation of R&D [ - 2.49 Mb]
In the third cycle, the main objective of the Policy Mix Group was to conduct a peer review process capable of acting as an instrument of mutual learning. The process aimed at helping Member States to better understand the policy mixes needed to raise R&D intensity. To the previous three countries (ES, SE, RO), six (BE, EE, FR, LT, NL, UK) were reviewed in this cycle.
Fourth OMC cycle (2007-2008)
The fourth cycle of the OMC, launched in December 2007, focused on:
Since 2003, the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) has been used as one of the principal tools to achieve progress towards the objective of increasing investment in research to approach 3% of GDP. In 2008, the "Expert Group for the follow-up of the research aspects of the revised Lisbon strategy (LEG)", created in 2006 by the European Commission (DG RTD), carried out an assessment of the impact generated by the OMC in the field of reserach policy at the national level. The results can be found here [ - 851 Kb]
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