Research and innovation lie at the heart of Europe’s economic strategy and make a critical contribution to the development of its society and cultures. They are a key source of new jobs, growth and competitiveness and underpin a wide range of policy priorities including digital Europe, energy efficiency and sustainability. The aim of this brief is to synthesise and summarise the overall evidence for investment in research in Europe and to indicate ways in which the return on this investment can be increased. The brief addresses the value of all forms of R&D including academic, government and business R&D but will focus on the role of public support. Our focus is on research as an investment and hence the economic dimension but we also address returns which materialise as social benefit in health, environment and other grand challenge areas. It is also important to acknowledge the value of research as consumption through its intrinsic value as a cultural good and symbol of human achievement.In reviewing the evidence on the value of science a committee established by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences concluded that conceptualisations of the value of research in general and econometric models in particular neglected the positive long effects of research and publicly funded R&D by analysing only short term budgetary effects. While it is undoubtedly true that some of the economically transformative effects of research take a considerable time to achieve their full economic weight (common examples cited are lasers and transistors), there are many pathways by which research knowledge drives value on much shorter timescales (Alexy and Slater, 2014; Haskel et al, 2014). In this brief we review those pathways and what is known about the value of research and draw conclusions on the implications for EU policy.
Author(s):Luke Georghiou - RISE
Year of publication:2015