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Methodology for framework programmes’ impact assessment in transport

Final Report Summary - MEFISTO (Methodology for framework programmes impact assessment in transport)

The MEFISTO project had three main objectives: to develop a process for conducting impact assessments of Framework Programmes, to demonstrate this process in the aeronautical sector, and to propose how it could be used more widely across the transport sector.
As an impact assessment MEFISTO was intended to provide a tool for influencing future policy at the mid point of FP7 and before the preparation of FP8. The policy objectives for FP 5 and FP6 derived from a number of specific and general policy decisions within the European Union, with the Lisbon Agenda leading the way. For aeronautics these policy objectives included technology objectives to increase competitiveness, serving social needs including the protection of the environment, and contributing to the vision of a sustainable, competitive, safe, secure and user friendly air transport system. It was also a policy aim to establish a European Research Area that encouraged co-operation and integration of research across Europe and by these means to work towards the Lisbon objectives for Europe to become a leading knowledge based world economy.
The methodology used by MEFISTO is taking the views of more than 300 people experienced at various levels across many branches of aerospace work in the research field. It provided both a data set of responses to 94 key questions that together allow the impact of policies to be assessed. 50 interviews of selected executives in aviation and representatives of governments and the European Commission allowed personal experience to be explored and provided in relation to the benefits of the Framework Programmes in different circumstances. More than 800 separate comments were collected from these interviews and analysed against 20 key issues for the output impacts and input conditions.
In the aeronautical sector Framework Programmes 5 & 6 were highly successful and profoundly significant successors to previous Framework initiatives. During a period of increasing challenge to the aviation sector they brought about fundamental changes to the way the sector worked, increased competitiveness at all levels, encouraged leading edge work on environmental problems to be carried out, allowed innovative work on aircraft structures and in other areas, and initiated a substantial research integration of the sector. At the same time they assisted the enlargement of the European Union providing mechanisms for the engagement of enterprises from the New Member States. Across the Union they provided actions that supported smaller enterprises in their attempts to take a wider and more ambitious view. Co-operative working between enterprises increased further and was functional with larger companies and on larger projects as well as with SMEs. In these key areas the Framework Programmes were a signal success. But the impact of the Framework Programmes was felt in many other ways; by the growing success and importance of a coherent sector research strategy that had been created following a pioneering initiative by European Commissioner Busquin, by the progressive introduction of a common understanding of how research in the sector was, and could increasingly be, integrated with complementary actions by the member States and enterprises. The third element of the MEFISTO task was to consider how the impact assessment process could be transferred to and applied in other transport sectors.
The main deliverable is a final report presenting the methodology, the findings, and subsequent recommendations.