An expert panel led by Dr Erkki Ormala, Vice President
of Technology Policy at Nokia, has concluded that the European Union’s
Research and Development Programmes have made a major contribution
to the development of Europe’s knowledge base and have a positive
effect on Europe’s potential for innovation. However the panel
found that if this positive effect is to be continued, more resources
will be needed in the future. The panel also recommended more industry
participation, especially SMEs; streamlined and simplified administration;
and more emphasis on radical innovation and risk-taking.
On being handed the panel’s final report, Janez
Potocnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research said: “It
is encouraging to receive the panel’s assessment that the
Framework Programmes have contributed to the creation of a knowledge
society in Europe, and this report will provide considerable inspiration
for the design of the next programme. I especially share the view
that Europe needs to gain world leadership in certain key technologies”.
The report identifies 4 major challenges for EU research:
- Attracting and rewarding the best talent;
- Creating a high-potential environment for business and industrial
- Mobilising resources for innovation and sustainable growth;
- Building trust in science and technology.
The panel found that the EU’s Research Framework
Programmes had played an important part in developing a European
knowledge base, correcting some of the deficiencies of European
R&D and bridging the gap between research and innovation. Indeed
they found that funding at European level gave significant added
value over and above national research investment.
The experts supported the Commission’s proposal
to double European R&D spending in the budget for the 2007-2013
spending period, but added that to be effective, this increase needed
to be met by increased spending on R&D at national level.
There was also a view that the Framework Programme
needed to work within an environment that was supportive of business
and industrial R&D. For example, there must be strong links
with intellectual property rights and the Community patent, state
aid rules, and public procurement policy.
There were also a number of recommendations for the future Framework
Programme, to be proposed by the Commission later in 2005:
- A clearer vision of priorities and objectives of the programme,
with emphasis on the promotion of European leadership in science
and technology at global level;
- More industry involvement, especially for high-tech small- and
- Address the issue of trust and legitimacy of science and technology,
forging greater understanding of and support to science among
the European public;
- A simple and robust definition of European added value;
- Streamlined and simplified administration of the application
procedure, management and financial control;
- Extend human resource and mobility programmes, with emphasis
on mobility between the private and public sectors;
- Support for establishment of a European Research Council to
- Support for technology platforms, public/private partnerships
to develop European leadership in key sectors.
The panel was composed of 13 leading European figures
from research management and evaluation, universities, research
organisations and industry.
The report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/reports/2004/fya_en.html
Press and Information Officer,
DG Research, European Commission