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Towards a European Innovation Ecosystem: Research and Innovation Strategies adapted to national and regional contexts

Final Report Summary - EIS 2011 (Towards a European innovation ecosystem: research and innovation strategies adapted to national and regional contexts)

Executive summary:

Europe's problem is not so much the lack of investment in research and development. What is much more important is the fact that, as opposed to the United States (US), China or India, Europe has to cope with a very fragmented research and innovation system. As a consequence, we are faced with duplication of initiatives with mediocre results, instead of complementarity and focus on selected areas of excellence. Various ambitious initiatives have been launched at European Union (EU)-level in order to increase Europe's research and innovation performance. The majority of these initiatives has a strong, if not a primary focus on achieving greater coherence within the European research and innovation system. Despite all these initiatives, achieving a coherent European research and innovation system and agreeing on joint strategies is a difficult task. It is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all design, but that successful strategies must be adapted to national and regional contexts. The key task is therefore to define and develop European research and innovation strategies which, on the one hand, bring Member State efforts in line with each other and, on the other hand, leave sufficient scope for national (and regional) flexibility and competition. The objective of the conference 'Towards a European innovation ecosystem: research and innovation strategies adapted to national and regional contexts' is to make an important contribution to achieving goal of greater coherence of the European research and innovation system while allowing the necessary freedom for the Member States and regions. The organisers of the conference want to bring together all concerned stakeholders, including policy makers and politicians from EU, national and regional levels, representatives of the academic sector, delegates from both small and multinational companies and, last but not least, civil society. The main topics shall be precisely those areas where the cooperation of member states and regions is crucial.

Project context and objectives:

The objective of the conference 'Towards a European innovation ecosystem: research and innovation strategies adapted to national and regional contexts' was to make an important contribution to achieving goal of greater coherence of the European research and innovation system while allowing the necessary freedom for the Member States and regions. The challenge to mediate between coherence and flexibility becomes the guiding principle of the conference. The organisers of the conference want to bring together all concerned stakeholders, including policymakers and politicians from EU, national and regional levels, representatives of the academic sector, delegates from both small and multinational companies and, last but not least, civil society.

The main topics was precisely those areas where the cooperation of member states and regions is crucial, including:

- strategies tailored to national and regional context principles, areas and partners;
-strategies tailored to national and regional levels smart specialisation, priorities, partnership;
- European governance instruments for research and innovation: necessary synergies;
policy mix for research and innovation.

For all these topics, the current challenges, lessons learned and best practices was discussed with the aim of drawing a set of concrete policy recommendations from it. Research and innovation policy has become more complex and diversified: there is a growing number of stakeholders, institutions, programmes, instruments, policy levels and interactions. Also the cause and effect relationships between all variables are becoming more complicated. Supra-national and regional policy levels are more active and visible than ever; actors other than the state (international organisations, the market and non-profits, citizens) exert an extensive influence on national research and innovation policy. There is also growing internationalisation of policies and countries are increasingly aligning their national Research and development (R&D) strategies with those of the EU (Europe 2020, EU Framework Programme, structural funds). At the national level intervention schemes have become more difficult to design, and the policy cycle harder to carry out.

Managing complex issues necessarily involves a certain degree of justified incoherence, but this situation calls for new measures for policy coherence and coordination.

In this respect three concepts and relevant practices are in common use: coherence (vertical between the levels of government and horizontal across sectors; negative, positive, and strategic coordination), a policy mix (interactions and trade-offs between policies and policy instruments - across time, policy levels and policy actors) and strategic governance (ability to design and implement a coherent set of tasks, rationales and instruments in a long-term perspective).

The concepts of coherence, a policy mix and strategic governance require taking into account the European level and the interplay between national and European levels. They also require taking into account national and regional contexts, as very often achieving a similar objective requires the use of different tools. Especially recent European Commission (EC) communications ('Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, 2010 and regional policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020', 2010) stress the importance of the national context for the design of innovation strategies. Innovation and innovation systems are primarily nation, region and sector specific. As it is stressed in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) innovation strategy, 2010, factors such as a country's or region's stage of socioeconomic development, economic structure, its firm demography (e.g. number of SMEs), its geography and resource endowment, its infrastructure, general framework conditions and institutional environment (e.g. the education and research systems) all play a role in shaping innovation. It is stressed that innovation at the frontier mostly depends on advances in (interconnected) science and technology, while innovation in catching-up countries depends more on the diffusion of already existing knowledge, such as embodied in machinery or in managerial and organisational practices. Policies should be therefore customised to the prevailing (and emerging) forms of innovation.

Finally, as no prescriptions could be set in stone for ever, concepts of coherence, a policy mix and strategic governance also require taking into account learning approach in the form which is named 'adaptive policies', 'reflexive governance', or 'flexible policy mix'. The conference will created a forum for discussion on the actions leading to greater coherence of the European research and innovation system that provides the flexibility for Member States and regions to develop strategies contingent to their local characteristics. For that purpose , the participants will discuss the most important policy dimension - areas, rationales, tasks and targets, designing tools (policy analysis and consultations), actors, interventions (policies, programs and instruments). The linkages within and between all these dimensions is a difficult task at national level, especially in a multilevel governance context. We expect that the conference will create synergies between particular sessions that will lead to policy recommendations that acknowledge codetermination of mutually influencing policy dimensions.

Governments of the EU countries need to design in the context of EU '2020 strategy' a coherent, interdisciplinary set of policies for innovation EU governance (Instruments for research and innovation, such as European coherence policy, European Research Area (ERA), Framework Programme (FP)s, and European innovation partnerships, should become important tools to ensure required flexible coherence of the European system of innovation. These issues will be tackled during the sessions Research, development and innovation (RDI) strategies tailored to national and regional contexts - principles, areas and partners and RDI strategies tailored to national and regional levels - smart specialisation, priorities, participation.

In the recent years the concept of smart specialisation has become more and more widely used in policy documents and research. Against this background, one session will discuss whether 'smart specialisation' is a new political fashion or a well-known phenomenon? How to find the right balance between specialisation and diversification? What is the relationship between different specialisations in ERA? What are the recent key specialisation trends as compared to the past trends? What governance is needed to strengthen the specialisation of countries / regions?

By adopting the '2020 Vision' for ERA, the Member States and the Commission agreed to develop ERA in ways that contribute to the sustainable development and competitiveness of Europe. Work is going on to translate the 'Vision 2020' into a series of strategic objectives. In this context, the innovation union communication (2010) called for the creation of a common framework of targets and objectives to avoid the fragmentation of research and innovation systems. These issues will be tackled during the session priorities for ERA. Designing strategies adapted to national and regional contexts requires involving stakeholders (including citizens) in the decision making process on research and innovation. The session building participations: consultations and negotiations will raise the question of what and how new participatory initiatives, such as scenario workshops and deliberative surveys, and especially Internet tools, such as Interactive policy making (IPM), might be used for increasing the chances for success of national and regional strategies.

It is of crucial importance to speak today of a European governance that brings together the right mix of policies and instruments for research and innovation in a coherent and comprehensive manner. When we pose the question of how we can manage to develop a common European vision and integrated governance mechanisms to effectively coordinate the regional, national and European efforts in reaching strategic objectives in research and innovation, more questions arise that will be discussed during the session European governance - policies and instruments for research and innovation: necessary synergies: How should governance mechanisms and practices at a European level be designed in order to ensure an effective restructuring of research and innovation activities? How will these mechanisms ensure representativeness, transparency and accountability? How will the future governance mechanisms ensure that concrete added value is provided to Europe as an entity and not only to the structures represented? Do we need different mechanisms for research and innovation?

The task of research and innovation policy makers is to develop an optimal mix of instruments for stimulating innovation performance that takes into account possible synergies and undesirable effects of instruments. The right policy mix (term adopted in the recent years by international organisations, such as the OECD should consider European, national and regional circumstances. Answers to these questions are not obvious and implementation not easy to execute. How to resolve the tradeoffs associated with the pursuit of multiple goals? How to sequence policy goals and instruments to best effect? How to adapt international good practice to local conditions? How to ensure positive interactions between and among instruments? How to implement a policy mix that is appropriate, efficient and effective and meets the innovation challenges of the EU Member States in the perspective of 'EU Strategy 2020'? How to coordinate different levels of research and innovation policy mix - European, national and subnational1?

The session policy mix for research and innovation will address the basic question of the main dimensions of policy mix, such as tasks and targets, measurement and diagnosis and instruments, and will discuss if it is possible to adapt for European governance new emerging OECD tools - Information technology (IT) platform for Innovation policy and innovation policy indicators.

Towards a European innovation ecosystem: research and innovation strategies adapted to national and regional contexts
Guidelines for the conference:

Each session - if possible representatives from:
- small and / or big enterprises, policy, academy and / or informed citizenship;
- national, regional and EU levels;
- practical and/or conceptual approach.

Important role of the rapporteur.

Different forms of the introduction to discussions (e.g. in the form of advocates of different opinions).

Session A
RDI strategies tailored to national and regional contexts - principles, areas and partners

Objectives: Introduction to the conference as a forum for discussion on the actions leading to greater coherence of the European research and innovation system that provides the flexibility for Member States and regions to develop strategies contingent to their local characteristics. Possible presentation of good practices, e.g. Baltic strategy, Danube strategy, RIS in Finland.

Parallel sessions B
RDI strategies tailored to national and regional levels - smart specialisation, priorities, participation

Session B
Smart specialisation

Objectives: To discuss: is this concept really useful? What does it mean for practitioners? If concept is useful, which of its meanings should be developed? How to achieve the right balance between specialisation and diversification? What is the relationship between different specialisations in ERA? What are the recent key specialisation trends as compared to the past trends? What governance is needed to strengthen the specialisation of countries / regions?

Session B'
Priorities for ERA

Objectives: Discussed:

- how the EU and the OECD priority settings affects national and regional priority settings (and vice versa);
- common framework of targets and objectives to avoid the fragmentation of research and innovation systems in the view of ERA.

What should and what should not be funded if the amount of money is limited? What should be the role of individual actors in setting priorities for ERA? How strategists choose priorities?

Session B''
Building participation: consultations and negotiations

Objectives: To discuss what and how new participatory approaches, such as open government, and techniques, such as scenario workshops or deliberative surveys, and especially Internet applications stimulating cooperation and engagement like IPM, might be used for involving stakeholders (from academia, industry, and social life) in policy making in order to increase the chances for success of national and regional strategies.

Parallel sessions C
European governance - policies and instruments for research and innovation: necessary synergies

How should governance mechanisms and practices at a European level be designed in order to ensure an effective restructuring of research and innovation activities? How will these mechanisms ensure representativeness, transparency and accountability? How will the future governance mechanisms ensure that concrete added value is provided to Europe as an entity and not only to the structures represented? Do we need different mechanisms for research and innovation?

Session C
Coherence of policies

Objectives: To discuss issues of coherence in multi-level governance, such as coordinating entity (e.g. Science and Innovation Council), super-ministry, horizontal scanning, national visions and strategic planning, policy cycle management, alignment of common shared concepts, supra-ministerial and / or inter-governmental or supranational planning and programming in relation to broad challenges, good practices of policy mix - at policy levels.

Session C'
Coherence of instruments and programmes

Objectives: To discuss issues of coherence in multi-level governance at instruments and programme levels

Parallel sessions D
Policy mix for research and innovation

How to resolve the tradeoffs associated with the pursuit of multiple goals? How to sequence policy goals and instruments to best effect? How to adapt international good practice to local conditions? How to ensure positive interactions between and among instruments? How to implement a policy mix that is appropriate, efficient and effective and meets the innovation challenges of the EU Member States in the perspective of 'EU Strategy 2020'? How to coordinate different levels of research and innovation policy mix - European, national and sub-national?

Session D
Tasks and targets

Objectives: To discuss how tasks and targets (the broad direction of policy intent derived, at least in theory, from the rationales for policy intervention) may be constructed in the view of timing (some tasks should be addressed before others or in parallel), capabilities (i.e. the knowledge and skills of both policy managers and the groups they seek to target through intervention) and resources.

Session D'
Measurement and diagnosis

Objectives: To discuss policy intelligence tools alongside its basic functions:

- conceptual (defining, classifying, building network of concepts);
- discursive (awareness building, tool for communication between policy actors); and
- operational - provision of data, information and knowledge about functions, such as knowledge development and diffusion; learning and entrepreneurship; networks building and
i) drivers (such as global challenges, public sector challenges - health, education, infrastructure, administration; co-creating value with users, collaborative networks); and
ii) components of the European innovation ecosystem.

To discuss the role of policy intelligence tools at:

- the different phases of policy cycle, such as setting agenda, establishing priorities, evaluation;
- the different levels of policy programming (policy level, meso level of intermediary agencies, programme management, programme administration and delivery, project management);
- in relation to different types of policy instruments (e.g. supply and demand-side measures).

To discuss how: policy intelligence tools, such as science and innovation statistics, horizon scanning, foresight and evaluation, policy intelligence services, such as innovation union scoreboard, innobarometer, OECD science, technology and industry scoreboard are used to:

- improve the reliability of policies;
- identify gaps in understanding problems and challenges;
- identify possible inter-linkages between policy issues, domains, tasks and instruments;
- deliver information on transformation policy area (actors, ideas, structures, institutions, interactions);
- alert policy makers to emerging risks, threats and opportunities and how they might be improved.

Session D'
Instruments

Objectives: To discuss how policy instruments (the means for achieving the goals of strategic tasks) may be complementary or be in conflict (a) in one policy package, (b) in sequences (c) at the different policy levels, (d) in a different policy domains.

Summary session
Lessons learned and policy recommendations
Rapporteur`s summary of the conference (Richard Gragner)

Objectives:

1. to draw conclusions (consisting of recommendations, conceptual clarifications, questions to be resolved and concepts to be clarified) to be used:
- as an input in December 2011 innovation convention (also in the form of pre-workshop);
- as a message conveyed to EU Parliament and EC;

2. to achieve synergies between the different sessions;
3. to work out agreed position on key actions.

Potential impact:

Session A
RDI strategies tailored to national and regional contexts - principles, areas and partners

Outcome: Foundations and orientation of the conference

Presentation of outcome of the conference and ways to achieve it:

- more awareness of the challenges and objectives of discussed RDI strategies tailored to national and regional contexts;
- deeper understanding of the way to assess available resources at the regional, national and EU level;
- better insight in the value of new approaches, such as smart specialisation, with its policy dilemmas and issues;
- improved comprehension of policy making analytical and executive tools for strategies;
- a better grasp of learning aspects of strategies (strategy as an incentive, source and effect of interactive policy learning between all stakeholders from business, academia and government).

Session B
Smart specialisation

Outcome:
- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- conference participation / point of view in the smart specialisation discussion.

Preliminary guidelines for smart specialisation, and especially for the smart specialisation platform launched with the purpose of assisting regions and Member States to develop, implement and review regional smart specialisation strategies.

Session B'
Priorities for ERA

Outcome:
- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- proposals for ERA priorities.

Session B''
Building participation: consultations and negotiations

Outcome:

- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- exchange of the best practices;
- assessment of the current situation;
- input in optimal model of consultation.

Session C
Coherence of policies

Outcome:
- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- coherence policy principles.

Session C
Coherence of instruments and programmes

Outcome:
- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- characteristics of instruments and programmes.

Session D
Tasks and targets
Outcome: Deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges.

Session D'
Measurement and diagnosis.

Outcome: Deeper understanding of the policy intelligence tools:

- their functions;
- their role at the different phases of policy cycle;
- their role at the different levels of policy programming;
- their role in relation to different types of policy instruments.

Session D'
Instruments

- deeper understanding of the experiences, issues and challenges;
- facilitation of sharing of experiences by stakeholders.

Summary session
Lessons learned and policy recommendations

- Key message 1 - Regional differentiation is attractive - but be careful to get it right.
- Key message 2 - Governance systems have to become smarter.
- Key message 3 - Policy must focus on innovation - not just on research.
- Key Message 4 - Smart policy has to be based on smart evidence.
- Key message 5 - An innovative Europe needs innovative leadership.
- Key message 6 - Communication and facilitation are crucial.
- Key message 7 - Everything depends on winning the war for talent.

The innovation convention fringe session jointly organised by the Polish EU Presidency and Knowledge4Innovation provided an outstanding opportunity to present and discuss the 7 key messages from the Warsaw event. Participants and speakers including Anneli Pauli from the EC and Lambert van Nistelrooij, Member of the European Parliament, unanimously agreed that all messages were highly relevant and should be considered in future policy making.

List of websites:

- http://pl2011.eu/content/trzeci-europejski-szczyt-innowacyjnosci-w-kierunku-europejskiego-ekosystemu-innowacji
- http://pl2011.science.gov.pl/events/3-rd-European-Innovation-Summit-Towards-a-European-Innovation-Ecosystem_-Research-and-Inno.html
- http://www.knowledge4innovation.eu/EIS/SitePages/eis2011_home.aspx