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SITPRO Plus
Study of the Impacts of the Transport RTD Projects in FP5 and FP6


State of the Art - Background

A well-developed transport sector is one of the major preconditions for economic growth as well as being an important sector of the economy in its own right. But the fast growth of transport volumes over recent years also poses a major challenge to the efforts of reducing CO2 emissions and thus combating climate change.

Efficiency gains in the transport sector could lead to a double form of decoupling: transport growth from economic growth and transport volumes from CO2 emissions. This can be achieved in a variety of ways including technical progress (e.g. engines), improvements in logistics, intelligent land-use planning, public transport organisation and better infrastructure.

Transport research in all of those areas is supported by the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, the most important European instrument for conducting and coordinating transport research and bridging the gap between the research community, the stakeholders and decision-makers.

The SITPRO Plus project builds on the earlier work of the SITPRO project that analysed the impacts of European transport research in the Fourth Framework Programme (FP4).

SITPRO Plus is part of a cluster of five projects in the Seventh Framework Programme. The projects are closely related and SITPRO Plus seeks to coordinate its work with the other four projects.

Objectives

The main objectives of SITPRO Plus are to employ the results and findings from FP5 and FP6 projects in the Transport Programme so as to contribute to:

a. the definition of new research policy objectives, and

b. intermediate performance targets for FP7.

As regards the first objective, in the context of European transport research, policy objectives are determined by several factors: the specific objectives of the Common Transport Policy (CTP), the broader objectives of other Community policies and the development of the European Research Area (ERA). Based on these objectives, a research agenda will be drawn up which, in turn, will determine the content of the Transport Research Programme and the specific research projects.

To achieve the second project objective, SITPRO Plus will develop a methodology for assessing and evaluating transport research projects supported in FP5 and FP6 and based on an ?objectives-led? approach. The types of impacts will ultimately be measured against the following objectives:

- strengthening the industrial competitiveness of European industry;

- contributing to sustainable development and addressing societal problems in terms of generating new knowledge relevant to social, environmental and economic issues;

- improving Community and public policies by disseminating the knowledge generated and involving the target users.

Description of Work

The methodology of SITPRO Plus will be partly based on the well-tested methodology of the SITPRO project that carried out an assessment of the impacts of transport projects in FP4. However, this method will be modified to take into account the lessons learned in the earlier projects and the differences in structure and improved data availability between FP4, FP5 andFP6.

Essentially the methodology can be broken down into seven elements:

1. analysis of databases;

2. interviews with Commission officials;

3. Internet questionnaire;

4. project sampling;

5. desk review of project reports;

6. telephone interviews with coordinators;

7. analysis of projects? impact pathways.

SITPRO Plus will attempt to analyse the research results in a way that is directly useful for providing a feedback loop to the definition of new research objectives as well as providing input to the development of the Common Transport Policy and the European Research Area.

Expected Results

The two expected impacts of the SITPRO Plus project are the use of the results and findings from FP5 and FP6 projects in Transport to contribute towards a) the definition of new research policy objectives and b) intermediate performance targets for FP7.

In addition to excellent project work based on a sound methodology, which was tested in FP4 and developed further for FP5 and FP6, the following steps will be required to bring about those two specific impacts:

1. Understanding of user requirements

Continuous and close interaction throughout the project with the responsible Commission services will be required to tailor the project work and outputs as much as possible to the needs of:

- those persons who will be in charge of setting new research policy objectives, and

- those who will be administering FP7, assessing its performance and able to make adjustments during the course of the programme.

2. Policy relevant outputs

Based on the interaction with users and the assessment of their requirements, SITPRO Plus will focus on producing policy relevant outputs directly rather than a broad assessment of the impact of FP5 and FP6 projects.

3. Dissemination/Co-operation with users

The project outputs will not only be tailored directly to the requirements of the specific users at the European Commission but they will also actively be presented to and discussed with those users.

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