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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Dynamics of Research Partnerships for NEST Performance

Final Report Summary - DYREP (Dynamics of Research Partnerships for NEST Performance)

In work package (WP) 1 we found it difficult to uncover the dominant implicit or explicit philosophies underlying the mode of partnership and the structuring of relations in the ERA. Some assumptions highlighted during the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) period, in particular through the emergence of new instruments (networks of excellence and integrated projects) are still active but others, sometimes totally different, cohabit in sub-programmes or through other instruments. This is the case of the NEST programme which is not supposed to emphasise the issue of building relations but rather to focus on the nature of the concepts at the origin of projects and on scientific excellence. We moreover wish to emphasise the variety in the morphologies of the projects that we have studied.

We therefore decided, at the articulation of WP1 and WP2, to read and assess the human dynamics in relation to: (i) the projects' overall performance (which obliged us to emphasise the dimension of performance that had received little attention in our initial proposal), and (ii) syndromes of functioning during the project and post-project.

Point (i) constitutes most of the DYREP added values. We have made a few cautious comments on the probable post-project dynamics. As regards functioning during the project, at this stage we can say that we have not observed any particular syndromes (crises, partners leaving, partners being isolated, head-on clashes, etc.). The vast majority of actors interviewed are highly satisfied with the human dynamics in general and with the coordinators in particular.

We have designed and proposed to the SSH FP7 programme a methodology declined form DYREP, which allows capturing the emerging and transversal scientific and societal challenges.

The use of this method, named RADEN is discussed with national and regional scientific institutions.

RADEN aims to establish a highly innovative process of detection of future SSH challenges identifying the signs given by the SSH research teams in a recent past, through the projects financed by the FP6. The process of spotting these signs should also help us to detect the stakeholders (policy-makers, in particular) and to mobilise them. Our project combines our original 'research based approach for detecting emerging needs' and more global and classical prospective analysis approaches. It is based on an observation, made during the studies we undertook for a SSA NEST project 'Dynamics of research partnerships' in which we analysed the dynamics of six NEST projects in FP6. We noticed that consortia generate a considerable amount of scientific information which is really useful for understanding future scientific challenges, emergent impediments, and the focus of international scientific competition. This huge information mass is currently under-exploited by the Commission. We therefore propose to harness the content of that information and to propose to the Commission a plan for adopting this approach in a regular way.

The consortium will have at the end of the project a new collective representation of the flagship, impediments, and possible strategies in a space generally called sociology of innovation 'project+'. Together these constitute spillovers of the consortium. Spillovers of really different natures, obtained by each partner according to its own objectives and research schedule likely to fuel the 'projects+' of the team or to generate new ones. That is what we will call spillovers by team.

We will concentrate on spotting the future challenges in these two classes of spillovers which will be identified in the synthesis reports and especially during new interviews with the researchers of the consortia. We have noticed that project reports focus on successes and failures in relation to objectives and mention spillovers only very partially.