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Mutual Learning - PSF

Mutual learning exercises focus on specific R&I challenge of interest to several Member States and Associated Countries and draw on a hands-on project-based exchange of good practice.
Its aim is to identify good practices, lessons learned and success factors based on robust evidence. Mutual learning exercises have addressed topics such as the Administration and monitoring of R&D tax incentives, Evaluation of business R&D grant schemes and the Evaluation of complex public private partnerships, among others.

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Research and innovation are increasingly interlinked internationally, aided by rapidly developing information and communication technologies. Global challenges require global effort and dialogue with international partners. In this context, the aim of the MLE is to foster a policy exchange on the various national approaches towards international cooperation in research and innovation. The exercise allows for comparisons in terms of policy-making and help identify inspiring novel practices, while covering topics such as design and development of national strategies for international cooperation in research and innovation, implementing toolbox and framework conditions.

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Research integrity is a foundation of excellent science and the cornerstone of societal trust in researchers and research institutions. Advancing research integrity across Europe is of the utmost importance to ensure the high quality of science, including reproducibility of research results, and to ensure a fruitful relationship between science and society.

The MLE focused on the exchange of national practices regarding four priority areas for advancing in the research integrity field, namely, promoting positive incentives, spreading research integrity culture among stakeholders through communications and dialogue, enhancing training in all stages of the research careers and stimulating processes and structures that support research integrity. These four priority areas were analysed from three different perspectives: institutional, national and cross-border levels.

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The MLE will focus on exchanges of national practice at the operational level in relation to how best to support national participation in EU framework programmes, as well as how best to use ESIF and exploit synergies at the national level to build up a knowledge economy.

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In recent decades, some EU Member States, particularly the Nordic countries, have invested in high-quality data infrastructures to capture the outcomes attributable to research and innovation (R&I) grants to businesses. While quantitative methods have become more and more sophisticated, a simultaneous interest in studying more qualitative, behavioural aspects can be observed. This kind of holistic systems analysis was explored and discussed during the first MLE on Ex-Post Evaluation of Business R&I Grant Schemes, which ran throughout 2016. The present MLE follows a challenge-driven approach and will include themes such as the use of Big Data in R&D grant evaluations, as well as methods for capturing behavioural change.

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Reflecting the priority subjects mentioned by the Member States at the call for interest of July 2016, this first MLE on Open Science will address the national policies and practices relating to the following two issues: (1) Altmetrics, understood as alternative (i.e. non-traditional) metrics that cover not just citation of articles but also various forms of social media shares, web-downloads or any other measure of the qualities and impact of research outcomes; and (2) Incentives and rewards for researchers to engage in Open Science activities.

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The purpose of the MLE on innovation-enhancing procurement is to set up an EU knowledge-sharing service on innovation-enhancing procurement, encouraging mutual-learning, identifying good practices and providing advice in the field. The MLE aims to support Member States in designing, implementing and/or evaluating different policy instruments in relation to innovation-enhancing procurement.

The participating countries will get together to explore the best ways to tackle the identified policy challenges: (1) developing a strategic framework for innovation procurement, (2) capacity building, (3) financial resources/incentives, and (4) measurement, evaluation and monitoring, acknowledging a need for change in the design and/or implementation of policy instruments and wishing to learn from experiences in other countries.

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Differences exist across EU Member States with regard to the administration and control of the R&D tax incentives systems, notably in relation to the use of R&D definitions (stemming from e.g. Frascati manual or EU block exemption regulation), the interpretation/implementation of those definitions, the eligibility of costs, etc. This MLE was an opportunity to investigate those various topics which so far had not been discussed at this level of details in any other forum and to learn from each other on possible approaches to tackle those issues.

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Performance-based Research Funding Systems (PRFS) are one of the mechanisms through which countries try to increase the performance of their public sector research systems. The nature of these systems – based on peer reviews, metrics or a combination of both – varies considerably among countries. The MLE will provide a learning opportunity for countries willing to better understand the advantages and drawbacks of various options, improve ongoing PRFS and deepen the assessments of the impact of different systems.

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This pilot MLE focused on identifying specific challenges for policy-makers regarding the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of four policy instruments: Research and Innovation fiscal incentives, e.g. tax credits; financial instruments (loans, guarantees, equity); outputs of business research and innovation support grants, and public-private-partnerships in the form of joint funding of research and innovation activities. During the project the methodological approach for in-depth mutual learning which would maximise the effectiveness of policy learning between Member State policy-makers was developed.

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This MLE addressed the issue of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) which are strategic (often virtual) centres for promoting sector- or challenge-based research involving multiple partners and promoting public-private collaboration in STI. The project allowed for the exchange on the ways in which participating (and outside) countries have addressed the evaluation of such PPPs. Evaluation data that exists on the various types of PPPs provided vitally important piece of information for the exercise.