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Technology and infrastructures policy in the knowledge-based economy


This proposal is constructed on the assumption that the move towards an increasing codification and formalization of the knowledge stock of society will critically affect the competitiveness, the growth and the cohesion of the EU. The modifications in the production, the acquisition and the distribution of knowledge will influence directly the process of innovation. In particular, it will have a strong impact on employment.

The proposed study will be carried out, at both theoretical and empirical levels, along the three following subprojects:

- Empirical studies on the general codification trends in Europe:
A clear objective of this project is to go as far as possible in mapping the various qualitative features of the knowledge-based economy with available indicators. A general problem in this field is that many of the objects of analysis which we are interested in - knowledge creation and distribution, innovation activity or capability, knowledge systems, etc... - are intangible activities that are difficult to define. They are certainly not measurable in terms of what we normally think of as statistical variables and creative use of existing indicators will be required

- Studies on the institutional responses to the opportunities and challenges to codification in the EU:

In order to move from such an analysis to an assessment of policy options it is necessary to grasp how the tendency toward codification affects the innovation process as a whole. It is now generally recognized that the innovation process is interactive and cumulative, involving a complex interplay between the creation and use of scientific knowledge, technology and skills learned in a process of doing, using and interacting. The efficiency of this complex process relies to a large extent on the design of the institutional framework.
What is the impact of the codification of certain elements of the knowledge-base on the innovation system as a whole?
How is it possible to increase the efficiency of the institutions and policies aiming at supporting the system?

- Consequences in terms of cohesion and employement in the EU:
We seek to update and deepen society's understanding of the impact of new technologies and institutional changes on the cumulative expansion of the codified knowledge base. In particular, the use of information technology and a range of tacit skills and knowledge for creating and accessing codes involve a large potential for social exclusion.
Who gains and looses from the spread of codification practices ? Are there means of reducing the losses for those that are excluded or developing means to compensate after the loss has occurred?
The distinction between "information haves and have nots" may be too sharply drawn along lines of educational and professional backgrounds. Systems of codification can be designed that directly reinforce those advantages. Which policies and methods will favour social inclusion ?

The significance of the rapid expansion in the practice of knowledge codification for economic growth and competitiveness is profound. At the beginning of the 21st century, Europe will face an even more highly competitive world economy. Within this economy, a competitive advantage will be obtained by those nations that master the use of the new information technologies and transform their organisations to take the fullest advantage of changes in knowledge generation, distribution and use.

The aim of our work is to provide guideposts and policy advice in order to achieve the move toward the knowledge base economy under the best possible conditions . We will thus strive to arrive at a better understanding of the questions of innovation, the cumulative expansion of the codified knowledge-base, the signiGcance of increased accessibility to knowledge by those who become trained in the new modes for its utilization, and the socio-economic consequences for the EU (market structures, inter-firms relationships, distributional impacts) of the changing patterns of knowledge creation and use.

In particular, we want to stress the importance of the valorization of European diversity. The emergence and diffusion of new information processing technologies are of significant relevance for European cohesion and the global effectiveness of the EU. The Eiuropean capabilities could be enhanced by the exploitation of European diversity through a better mastering and circulation of knowledge: one of the main aims of the project is to find the relevant policy to reach such a global target for the EU.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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Participants (4)

Breslauer Strasse 48
76139 Karlsruhe
Place De Maréchal De Lattré De Tassigny, Universit
75775 Paris
United Kingdom
Mantell Building
BN1 9RF Falmer - Brighton
Via Sarfatti 25
20136 Milano