Author Archives: Margaret Pesuit

EU Research and Innovation Programmes

– prepared by Tomasz Napiórkowski SGH-WERI

Commitment 6 is devoted to increasing the level of innovation in Europe by increasing investments in research and innovation activities and in human capital development. Specifically, this means focusing on funding and/or increasing efficiency through better allocation of existing resources. The first part of the study (i.e., the literature review) was aimed at answering the following key questions: 1) What is Commitment 6, what problems does it address and what are its objectives and proposed solutions? 2) What is the economic theory underpinning the programme tools under C6? 3) Are the programme tools under C6 backed by empirical studies? The aim of the second part of the study (i.e., empirics) is to test the following hypothesis: “H1: There is a positive impact of FP7 and CIP programmes on innovation in the EU via (H1a) increase in human capital growth and (H1b) increase in research and development activity stimulation and therefore on economic growth; hence, competitiveness.”

The results of the literature review (in addition to serving as a base for the following empirical studies) suggest that, as much as there is a positive relationship with human capital stimulation, there may be some additional work required in order to ensure that the stimulation of R&D activities has a positive impact on the actual innovation output, as the coefficient of this relationship might not turn out to be positive.

The most interesting findings of the literature review were as follows:

  • Programmes under Commitment 6 positively stimulate innovation via proper resource allocation / dedication to growth in human capital and R&D investment / activities.
  • The positive aspects of human capital development and interaction between various agents in the innovation eco-system appear to be unquestioned.
  • The empirical support for public R&D investments or R&D subsidies appears to be mixed.
  • Public support for R&D activity should focus on small firms and look for projects that (if successful) would bring the biggest social benefit, as opposed to allocating funds to big firms (some of whom do not need it) and minimizing the investment risk.

Constructing the priority European Research Infrastructures

– prepared by Arkadiusz Michał Kowalski, SGH-WERI

In order to investigate the rationale, activities and theoretical background for analysing the main areas of impact of Commitment 5, related to priority European Research Infrastructures, we must first start with an identification of the major challenges, mainly: the fragmentation of European investments in research infrastructures (materially or financially), and the lack of cooperation and interaction between research teams within and between different disciplines of science (intangible or interpersonal aspects). Two corresponding factors (pooling resources and enhancing partnerships) have been recognized as crucial for achieving the critical mass needed to operate research infrastructures, taking into account their high complexity (technical, scale and costs) and increasing capital-intensity of modern research. The impact of Commitment 5 on solving the problems with fragmentation and insufficient cooperation between research infrastructures in Europe has been analysed in the perspective of three theoretical concepts: (1) the concept of social capital, (2) the concept of the innovation system, and (3) the concept of economic networks. They provide explanations for the need to pool resources and stimulate partnerships to construct priority European Research Infrastructures. Hence, Commitment 5 has an impact on increased cooperation and raising resources needed for key research infrastructures, leading to higher knowledge creation and technological advancement of the economy, consequently resulting in greater productivity and contributing to faster economic growth (real GDP growth).

The most interesting findings of the literature review demonstrate the following:

  • The increasing complexity and capital-intensity of modern science make large research infrastructures an important pillar of the research system, whereas European investments in this area are very fragmented, preventing infrastructures from reaching a certain critical mass.
  • The Innovation Union’s Commitment 5 leads to pooling the resources across Europe to build and operate major research infrastructures, which are given political priority and for which new funding mechanisms are being developed.
  • An important motivation for international cooperation in constructing the priority European Research Infrastructures is the need for partnership and collaborative work, which produces synergies and helps to make sense of complexity and diversity.
  • The problems connected with the so-called Grand Challenges constitute another rationale for construction of the priority European Research Infrastructures, which enable interdisciplinarity, frontier research and innovation.
  • The understanding of research infrastructures should not be limited to their material nature and physical components, as another important element is the intangible sphere, given that these are basically relational concepts that constitute part of a dynamic process of change, collaboration, and engagement.
  • As there is no more detailed statistical data for research infrastructures publicly available and they may be collected only through direct research with regard to individual infrastructures, the implication is that the evaluation of Commitment 5’s impact may be based on case studies for selected research infrastructures, with the application of some qualitative techniques, especially in-depth interviews with representatives of analysed research infrastructures.

Dissemination efforts

Publications – Michele Cincera and Anabela Santos of ULB/Solvay

Our partners have been doing a lot to spread the word about the project. Michele Cincera and Anabela Santos of ULB/Solvay i-Cite are looking at publishing an i-Cite Working Paper (http://www.solvay.edu/icite/working-paper-series) over the next month discussing the literature review they did for I3U on Innovation and Access to Finance. In addition, they are currently drafting I3U-related articles on a) The impact of ‘access to finance pressing problems’ on innovative productivity and economic performance: a micro and macro-analysis; b) The impact of Venture Capital investment on innovative productivity and economic performance: a macro-analysis at EU level; c) Access to debt finance and credit risk level: comparison between innovative and non-innovative firms; and d) The impact of Risk-Sharing Finance Facility investment in country risk.

Presentations – Andrea Mervar of EIZ

On November 12, 2015, the I3U project was presented at the Horizon 2020 Infoday Societal Challenge 6: “Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” at the University of Zagreb. The event was organized by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes.  As I3U was one of the first projects within the Horizon 2020 framework in which an institution from Croatia that specialises in the social sciences is participating, Andrea Mervar of EIZ was asked by the Agency to present the I3U project as an example of a successfully obtained Horizon 2020 project and to talk about initial experiences with regard to its implementation.

The presentation reviewed key facts about the I3U project – the action it belongs to, its duration, its budget and the partners involved. Emphasis was put on specific requirements introduced with the Horizon 2020 projects as compared to the projects from previous framework programs, such as mandatory open access to all research results. As the presentation was given to an audience of researchers from the social sciences and humanities, after explaining the Innovation Union initiative and its 34 commitments, the main and specific objectives of the project were described. The presentation also discussed the expected impacts of the project and the target groups for whom the results of this project would be most relevant. In addition, it described how the project is managed and how it is interconnected across different work packages. The questions from the audience specifically tackled the prior experiences of the EIZ (Institute of Economics, Zagreb) team in the field of innovation, which led to the institute being invited to the consortium, as well as their experiences during the initial stages of the project, as these may be helpful for potential applicants to future Horizon 2020 calls.

Andrea also presented the project to members of the EIZ Club at their regular annual meeting on December 2, 2015. The EIZ Club was established a few years ago by the Institute of Economics, Zagreb. The club includes a number of large companies in Croatia that are interested in research of strategic importance for the country, and who are willing to participate in the funding of such research through membership fees. For EIZ it is also a way to build better networks with the business community that constitute its stakeholders.

Upcoming conferences and events

I3U at the University of Évora, Portugal

Michele Cincera and Anabela Santos of ULB/Solvay i-Cite will be spreading the word about the project at the first Master and Doctoral Consortium for Research on Public Policy, University of Évora, Portugal on June 23-24, 2016 (also listed below). The consortium will focus on public policy as a topic of study and on how to sustain debate and reflection on processes of conceiving, applying, monitoring and assessing public policies. Anabela Santos will present one or two papers and Michele Cincera will be a keynote speaker.

Other conferences and events

In addition, there are a number of upcoming conferences and events where partners are encouraged to present the work of I3U and the results achieved so far.

Project and Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) Meeting – Brussels, February 9-10, 2016

I3U Brussels Meeting February 2016At the recent project meeting held in February, the three members of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) were introduced to the other partners. The three SAC members are: Jonathan Haskel, Jacques Mairesse and Slavo Radosevic. Jonathan Haskel is a professor of Economics at Imperial College in London, and his research interests are productivity, innovation, intangible investment and growth. Jacques Mairesse is a professor of Applied Econometrics of Research, Innovation and Productivity at Maastricht University and a research associate at the Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (CREST-ENSARE, Paris). His research focuses on the macroeconomic aspects of innovation. Slavo Radosevic is a professor of Industry and Innovation Studies at University College London. He studies the economics of technological change and innovation studies. After introducing the committee, Andrea Ricci explained what their role is to be in the project: to check and monitor the project outcomes and provide input and comments to the project tasks and deliverables.

Other highlights of the project meeting included a discussion of changes in project evaluation rules, with an external agency now in charge of all tasks related to monitoring and evaluation. Afterwards, the partners updated each other on the status of all of their work packages. The main findings of the various literature reviews were presented. Other issues that were discussed included the effects of EU policy actions to promote cooperation in innovation, progress made in Member State self-assessment and identification of key challenges/critical reforms, and the adaptation/development of models.

Additional information

I3U Jacques Mairesse comments

I3U Slavo Radosevic comments

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