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22/10/2012
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Learning from each other to improve R&I policies

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 and to identify areas where Community initiatives could reinforce national actions. To this end, the Open Method of Coordination was introduced by the Lisbon European Council in 2000.

The Open Method of Coordination – OMC

The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is a method designed to help Member States progress jointly in the reforms they need to undertake in order to reach the Lisbon and now Europe 2020 goals. The method includes the following elements:

  • Fixing guidelines and timetables for achieving short, medium and long-term goals;
  • Establishing quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks, tailored to the needs of Member States and sectors involved, as a means of comparing best practices;
  • Translating European guidelines into national and regional policies, by setting specific measures and targets; and
  • Periodic monitoring of the progress achieved in order to put in place mutual learning processes between Member States.
OMC to improve R&I policies

Since the European Council in 2003 set the 3% of GDP target for R&D investment, the Commission suggested that the OMC should be applied in the work related to this target. The Spring European Council of March 2003 thus agreed to apply the OMC for policies related to investment in research, as well as to human resources and mobility of researchers. The Competitiveness Council appointed the European Research Area Committee (ERAC) to oversee the implementation on annual basis.

The instruments ERAC and European Commission have in implementing OMC consist ERAC OMC activities and OMC-NET-scheme. More information on the OMC results and FP7 OMC-NET's can be found from this website, whereas the 'Investing in European Research' website has information on the previous four OMC activities and on the 10 first finished FP6 OMC-NET's. The final documents produced by various OMC activities are also saved to the website updated by ERAC secretariat.

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 research policy at the national level