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Research and innovation policies

The JRC supports the development of the Innovation Union, as part of ensuring "smart growth" in the EU. Innovation Union policies must be based on robust analyses of up-to-date, reliable information, taking into consideration the interrelation between research, innovation and higher education policies: the 'knowledge triangle'.

For a number of years, JRC has been engaged in the development and operation of a group of complementary resource intensive knowledge platforms, including ERAWATCH and NETWATCH. These combine key information on research systems and policies and on transnational and international, with policy relevant analytical perspectives. This work is carried out in close cooperation with DG RTD in the context of a long-term strategic partnership.

Monitoring and Analysis of Research Policies and Systems

ERAWATCH is the European Commission's information platform on European, national and regional research and innovation systems and policies. Its main objectives are to support policy-making in the research and innovation fields in Europe and to both monitor and contribute to the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). Achievement of these objectives centres on the monitoring and analysis of national and regional research and innovation systems, policies, and programmes in the EU and beyond. 

The main elements of ERAWATCH, accessible via its web-based platform, are: an annual series of analytical country report, which assess key dimensions of the performance of national research systems and related policies in a structured and comparable manner; an inventory of information on research policies and systems covering the EU-28, countries associated to the framework programme and several third countries; and a series of analytical reports focused on horizontal policy issues.

Transnational research & innovation collaboration

Joint Programming and transnational collaboration play an increasingly important role in making better use of Europe's public R&D funds through enhanced cooperation between Member States and their respective national research programmes. NETWATCH is the European Commission's information platform on transnational R&D programme collaboration. Taking as its starting point, the analysis of the rationale, development paths and successes of the ERA-NET scheme, NETWATCH undertakes monitoring and analysis of transnational RTD programme cooperation in Europe. Its scope has progressively expanded to include the ERA-NET Plus scheme, Article 185s and, progressively, Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) into the platform.

NETWATCH provides research policy makers and administrations with relevant information and analysis to assess the efficiency and impact of trans-national RTD programme cooperation, particularly in the context of the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). It also contributes to the development and on-going implementation of Joint Programming in the EU. NETWATCH provides a comprehensive picture of the R&D collaboration landscape in Europe, through regular mapping exercises, highlighting the main characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the collaboration activity.  This is complemented by work assessing the impact of the transnational R&D programme activities on the national programmes and the research landscape. 


Science and Technology Studies

As the EU relies on science, technology and innovation to secure its present and develop its future, reflecting on and anticipating societal impacts arising from current narratives embodied in EU policy is essential to ensure trust among citizens. President Juncker’s inaugural guidelines call for deepening of dialogue between society and European institutions, stating that “The social market economy can only work if there is social dialogue” and vowing to be “a President of social dialogue”.

The JRC would like to put these words into practice in the ongoing science-policy interface debate. There is an area of scholarship, known as Science and Technology Studies, which provides the tools and methodologies to reflexively look into the promises science and technology can offer, and the narratives that sustain them; these tools are by design inclusive and collaborative,  enabling a deeper involvement of society in science’s and technology’s affairs.


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