Where can EU countries turn when they want advice on improving their national research and innovation systems? The Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF) would be a good starting point - it provides tailor-made policy recommendations both to EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020.
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Since 2015 the PSF has issued recommendations to a number of countries, supporting the reform of national research and innovation systems so as to address specific policy challenges.
The PSF provides three services:
- country peer reviews of national research and innovation (R&I) systems
- support for specific policy reforms
- mutual learning exercises focusing on specific R&I challenges of interest to several countries
To date, the PSF has worked in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Malta, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Moldova. It has supported mutual learning on such topics as the evaluation of R&D business grants and public-private partnerships (PPPs), the alignment and interoperability of national research programmes, and innovation procurement or open science. Increased demand from Member States and Associated Countries led to a rich programme of activities.
The reforms proposed by the PSF support better public investments in research and innovation that will have a greater impact, and the creation of a more attractive environment for innovation at national level. Its recommendations, tailor-made to national circumstances, are developed by panels that bring together international high-level experts with policy practitioners who have worked on or are very familiar with successful policy reforms.
PSF support can help countries to overcome policy bottlenecks such as complex or ineffective funding procedures for scientific research, weak innovation eco-systems, or links between the science produced and industry.
Achievements to date include providing key input for Bulgaria’s recent national strategy ‘A Science Agenda for Bulgaria’, and for the renewed Research Code in Moldova. One recent PSF mutual learning exercise allowed several countries to investigate different practices for the administration and monitoring of R&D tax incentives, a topic which so far had not been discussed at such operational level in any other forum.
The PSF Knowledge Centre provides structured information on R&I performance and policies for policymakers and researchers.