FET-Traces is a research project for the European Commission which analyses and measures the impacts of the “Future and Emerging Technologies” research funding scheme, focusing on both FET Open and FET Proactive.
The project has produced a final report. This report concludes that FET is a unique funding instrument for new scientific and technological insights, which has relevant and substantial impacts. Some of their concrete findings are:
- FET has a great impact on novel knowledge creation beyond mainstream throrugh a high number of publications in high impact journals like Science or Nature.
- FET projects have relevant impacts on the researchers involved; the clear majority of FET researchers said that FET proejcts had promoted their carrers and made them venture into unkown areas and disciplines, learning from these interdisciplinarity.
- FET projects have relevant impacts on the economy. 83% have contacts with industry; 40% had at least one partner in the industry; industry participated in one third of research papers; one quarter of FET projects produced at least 1 patent; 12 per cent produced at least 1 spin-off company.
- FET researchers see themselves mostly as being part of a technology development community rather than a community solving societal challenges; still a relatively high share (17 percent) of researchers reported societal impacts of their FET projects;
- Looking ahead, the results of this study suggest that FET should not only complement the European research funding landscape, but that it should be increased in size and budget to become a major pillar of European research funding.