Author Archives: Margaret Pesuit

The State of Implementation and Direct Impact of European Innovation Partnerships

– prepared by Marzenna Anna Weresa, WERI-SGH

An analytical overview done as part of the I3U project (Commitment 29) suggests that European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) have been effective in pursuing many of their objectives: their activities were relevant in addressing concrete societal problems in their respective areas and delivered an added value for the EU.

The EIPs have been especially successful in terms of “partnership”. The EC’s continued direct involvement in implementation has contributed to the credibility of their efforts and has boosted the convening power of the partnerships, enabling them to mobilize large communities of engaged stakeholders. The EIPs also designed and put in place effective implementation mechanisms such as the bottom-up “commitment approach” and online marketplaces. These mechanisms ensured shared interest from participating stakeholder groups in the pursuit of common goals and their engagement in the successful completion of the activities that were undertaken. These achievements represent innovative solutions and can be considered good practices worth disseminating in other EU areas and programs.

At the same time, the analysis reveals some weaknesses in Commitment 29’s design and implementation. The EIPs served one of their main objectives poorly, namely, to boost innovation activity and innovative breakthroughs that would enable European companies to lead in the development of new technologies, and to grow and assume global leadership in new growth markets.

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Notes on the Roll Out of Global Research Infrastructures

– prepared by Małgorzata S. Lewandowska, WERI-SGH

Photo: Leo Peng

The purpose of recent studies has been to investigate the state of implementation and assess the direct impact of Commitment 32, regarding the roll out of Global Research Infrastructures (GRIs). Due to their cost and complexity, these GRIs can only be developed on a global scale. Several methods were used in these studies: the research of documents and financial data from FP7 and H2020 INFRA; case studies for 12 GRIs and two surveys created specifically for this purpose. The first addressed the coordinators of European Research Infrastructures (ERIs) (N=150); the second was conducted among participants of FP7 and H2020 INFRA (N=400), being ERI users.

The legal framework (institutional activities and documents related to GRIs) is quite advanced. The participation framework (the level and pace of internal (EU28) and non-EU country participation in GRIs) is moderate but improving. It should be noted, however, that there is a huge discrepancy between EU framework programme (part INFRA) fund allocation and the involvement of Western European and CEE countries. It is recommended that the process of GRI internationalization be conducted at the same time as the internalisation within EU28. Otherwise the gap in innovation ability between EU Member States will increase.

Total financing from H2020 INFRA related to 12 GRIs has already tripled in relation to FP7 INFRA. The number of financed participations is higher and the average financing per participation is higher as well. As for the direct impact assessment of C32, it can be concluded that the financial leverage effect from non-EU participation financed from FP7 and H2020 INFRA is higher than for EU28 entities. Total financing from H2020 for non-EU participants in projects related to 12 GRIs is significantly higher compared to FP7. This reflects the shift towards deeper international cooperation. On the other hand, there is a limited base of non-UE partners, containing the institutional leverage effect.

The results of the survey research conducted on RI coordinators demonstrate that the effects of FP7 and H2020 INFRA funds are reflected in the integration of European researchers, as well as the increased efficiency and productivity of researchers. It also shows that the direct impact of already acquired international partners in European ERIs is reflected in the quality of publications, the number of publications, financial involvement, increases in the field of research and access to international scientific or technological knowledge.

The survey of 400 users of ERIs shows that the FP7 and H2020 INFRA funds result in additional networks and enhanced competences and expertise for the benefiting organisations. The impact of ERIs on the innovation performance of their users is best reflected in how they allow for networking with other scientists, new knowledge acquisition, long-term contacts and knowledge exchange. Incorporating international partners into ERIs has had a positive impact in the following areas: access to international scientific or technological knowledge; access to an international workforce; financial involvement; and the amount of field research done. It should be noted however, that these benefits are highly valued in the case of European partners (EU, EFTA, other European). Partners from other geographical areas are regarded as important, but the added value they can potentially offer is deemed low by respondents.

The performance indicators for 12 GRIs, gathered from case studies, are fragmented and do not allow us to draw conclusions. This calls for financial support for MERIL, the already existing database of European RIs. This platform should get the right to gather data on ERIs and their participants and users, coming from both EU and non-EU countries. A merge of data from MERIL and data from EU contact points is required.

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Notes on Strengthening the Science Base for Policy Making

– prepared by Marzenna Anna Weresa, WERI-SGH

The studies recently conducted on strengthening the science base for policy making through JRC; Forum on FLA (Commitment 8) had the following objectives: (1) To identify the state of implementation of Commitment 8; and, (2) To assess the impact on innovation of this commitment’s implementation.

The state of implementation of Commitment 8 has been analysed using data that describes JRC’s input (budgets and human resources) and output (publications) over the 2010-2016 period as well as documents and data about EFFLA activity. The analysis of the developments of JRC activities shows that only minor success in the implementation of Commitment 8 of the Innovation Union has been observed since the year 2010.

The impact of Commitment 8 on innovation was analysed using the data describing JRC and EFFLA activity and the data collected through a survey conducted in September-October 2016 among policy makers from all European countries.

It can be concluded that the direct impact of science-based polices on innovation is very difficult to trace, however some impact (probably indirect only) was confirmed by survey respondents. A relatively big group of respondents provided evidence that there has been some economic impact of science-based policies on the innovation performance of their countries, a smaller group acknowledged that there is some environmental impact, and the smallest group confirmed that some social impact occurs. The general scientific evidence is more useful than foresight studies in the policy-making process.

The higher the decision-making level (EU / country / region), the more important the scientific evidence is for policy making. According to survey respondents, scientific evidence is highly important for policy making at the EU level and country levels, but only moderately important at the regional level.

Although survey respondents generally consider scientific evidence important in the policy-making process, the publications prepared by JRC and EFFLA are rarely used. The analysis of the quality of evidence for policy making, based on the publications record of JRC at the Web of Science repository and their citations, shows that since 2010 the number of JRC publications has been around 1,000 per year, while citations of the JRC papers have grown rapidly over the 2010-2016 period. Environmental science is a dominant field among JRC publications and is also an important field of JRC-industry collaboration. However, since the start of the implementation of the Innovation Union, there has been no significant change in the impact of JRC activity on industry, as the number of collaborative papers is small (around 30 per year) and relatively stable over time, which may indicate that the impact of JRC activity on innovation in Europe is still limited. However, one should keep in mind that there has been only limited progress in implementing Commitment 8, as the financing of JRC activity as well as employment have been reduced over the last few years.  This may explain its still-limited impact.

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Notes on Constructing the Priority European Research Infrastructures

– prepared by Arkadiusz Kowalski, WERI-SGH

The aim of recent studies was to conduct an empirical analysis of the implementation of Innovation Union Commitment 5, related to the construction of research infrastructures (RIs) and their impact on innovation in Europe. As evidenced in the report, the EU was successful in reaching the direct goal of completion or at least initiation of 60% of priority ESFRI infrastructures. Moreover, the conducted analysis shows that the projects realized by RIs under the EU framework programs (part INFRA) involved huge investments of funds from other sources, indicating a substantial leverage effect, representing all additional funds from third parties, public or private, that are mobilised by EU budget funds. However, the research demonstrated a strong geographical discrepancy in financial allocations under the EU framework programme (part INFRA) allocations between Western Europe (EU15) and CEE (EU13), which may increase the innovation gap between member states.

The results of surveys conducted with 150 coordinators and 400 users of RIs demonstrated that the most common type of access to RIs is excellence-driven access, which allows organizations to get access to the best facilities, resources and services wherever located, and which enables collaborative R&D efforts across geographical and disciplinary boundaries. Moreover, one of the biggest benefits from the development of RIs in Europe is greater networking of researchers and organisations engaged in innovation activity, which shows that investments in RIs were successful in stimulating cooperation and pooling people and resources in order to achieve a technological critical mass.

An important finding from the study conducted is that one of the biggest challenges for measuring the impact of RIs on innovation is the scarcity of statistical data on the performance of RIs. This problem is confirmed by the survey’s results, as most of the RI coordinators, while hypothetically recognising the importance of different indicators (like the number of publications, publication citations or number of PhD degrees) in evaluating RI research performance and productivity, in practice they were unable to deliver related statistical data for their RIs. These findings led to the recommendation that the European Commission put more stress on monitoring the results of investments in RIs, and in particular to demand the delivery of annual statistical data on selected groups of indicators from RIs, which implement projects co-financed from EU funds. It is also important to adopt a long-term perspective in this monitoring model, as the development of RIs is a long-term process, and usually the impact is observed over decades rather than years.

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Notes on the Impact Analysis of the Framework Programmes

– prepared by Tomasz M. Napiórkowski, WERI-SGH

Some recently conducted studies were aimed at conducting an impact analysis of the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013; FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013; CIP) on the level of innovation in the European Union, and to look at the transitions of the programmes into the H2020 initiative. This has been done using various types of analyses: literature studies, policy analysis and assignment, input-output analysis and correlation analysis.

The chief conclusion is that both FP7 and CIP have been implemented successfully on a “macro” level and they have produced outputs that have contributed (i.e., are relevant) to the increase in the level of innovation in the EU. Shifting to efficiency, on a “micro” level (i.e. individually within programmes) it has been found that not everything within programmes is equally efficient in achieving the final goal. Therefore, less efficient elements should be revised and implemented only after the introduction of required modifications.

Even though individual programmes have been changed when transplanted into the new H2020 initiative, it is suggested here that maybe not all of them should have been re-implemented, as not all of the original programmes have been shown to be efficient in increasing the level of innovation in the EU. Changes introduced during the transition to H2020 did not resolve the issues with: (1) the programme’s transparency regarding primary and secondary sources of funding; (2) the amount of allotted funding for specific objectives; and (3) access to funding; all of which are key from the perspective of Commitment 6.

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