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The Future of Key Actors in the European Research Area

Abstract : This text is the synthesis report based on the work of the High Level Expert Group on the Future of
Research Actors (RA) in the European Research Area (ERA). This group was set up by the Technology Foresight Group, DG Research, European Commision. Many of the conclusions of this synthesis report are fully consistent with the directions of
current research policies. The work of the group highlights the importance of
efforts, already well underway, to reinforce the functioning of the ERA as an integrated base
that overcomes a wide range of geographic, institutional and disciplinary barriers to the both
the competition and sharing of knowledge. Knitting together the different European research
actors into a more transparent and diversified whole would seem to be one of the best ways
to create a stronger platform for knowledge creation and diffusion. A less anticipated
conclusion, and less part of the existing consensus, is that simply pursuing the ambition of
multiplying the number of effective research platforms in Europe may miss a key part of
tomorrow's research agenda. The in-depth expert papers on the eight different research
actors of the ERA, the insights arising from the synthesis developed in this paper, and the
analytical results of a rare scenario pooling exercise, all point very clearly to the risk that
current policies are excessively technology centric and may miss crucial emerging attributes
of research and research actors in the knowledge society. Thus, over and above the value-
added for assessing the direction and implementation of current approaches to improving the
production and use of research in Europe, this report recommends new policies aimed at
accelerating the development of emergent forms and sources of research. The policy
message is that Europe must move beyond industrial-era challenges to embrace those of the
knowledge society.
Further opening, expanding and integrating the European Research Area requires:
1) Policies that put into practice expanded criteria for designing and funding research
programmes for the European Research Area to include user-centred technological,
organisational and social innovation.
2) Policies that initiate experiments that validate (quality/trust/transparency) new forms and
producers (including individual independent researchers) of knowledge.
3) Policies, both budgetary and regulatory, that create and facilitate both new collaborative
environments for research, including user-centred research, and new governance
4) Policies to enhance the capacity of policy makers (including at the regional level) to
recognise and facilitate new forms of research and particularly new approaches to the
governance of research processes.
5) Policies to abolish national borders for researchers and for students both within Europe
and outside Europe.
6) Policies to strengthen the autonomy of universities, including areas so far strictly
controlled by most governments such as a university's strategic profile and selection of
7) Further research is required regarding the relationship between the changing nature of
research and intellectual property rights (IPR).
8) Further research is required regarding the functional division of labour amongst different
research actors in the context of the emerging “open innovation model”.
9) Further research is required in order to describe and analyse the contribution of civil
society to research and innovation.
10) Further research is required on how to establish trust in highly complex and diversified
knowledge societies.
11) Further research is required to define and measure new forms of innovation, particularly
with respect to the innovation related research occurring in the service sector, SMEs and
the community (social innovation) that point towards new models of innovation.
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Contributor : Madeleine Akrich Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 8:55:21 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 10:09:42 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 1:36:36 PM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-00116775, version 2


Madeleine Akrich, Riel Miller. The Future of Key Actors in the European Research Area. 2007. ⟨halshs-00116775v2⟩



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