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Performance review: FP7 transport

An EU project assessed the outcomes and effectiveness of Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) transportation projects. Few yielded economic benefit, because the field remains at an early stage; otherwise, the studies have performed well – especially regarding policy ideas.
Performance review: FP7 transport
FP7 is Europe's largest and most important research funding body. Thus, it is appropriate to occasionally evaluate its performance, particularly with respect to Horizon 2020's six grand challenges.

The EU-funded project TRI-VALUE (Ex-post evaluation of transport research and innovation in the FP7 'cooperation' programme) aimed to conduct such a review. The study focused on FP7's support of transportation research, and included judgement of the results plus economic impact. Furthermore, the team compared European transportation research and innovation (TRI) with relevant work abroad. The ultimate product was to be recommendations for improving Europe's TRI. The six-member undertaking ran for one year to May 2014.

The group assessed FP7 using a research impact pathway methodology. The study found that while FP7 projects generally yield substantial relevant outputs, little of that translates to new products or new standards. The explanation may be that FP7 still mainly focuses on basic research rather than market applications.

Also, while FP7 transportation projects generally have wider social impacts, in most cases the impacts will emerge in the long term. Hence, the project was not able to quantify the projects' value, and a new method is required. Although room for improvement exists, there was also reason to believe that considerable benefit had been achieved, particularly regarding policy formulation.

TRI-VALUE concluded that FP7's transportation programme contributes heavily to achievement of FP7 objectives, while offering value for Europe. The projects themselves show a high level of success and are generally well managed, yet cross-cutting objectives still lack an appropriate framework. Transportation research made an important contribution to community policy, and engaged the public via effective dissemination strategies. Small business engagement generally exceeded the expected threshold. The study also concluded that FP7 transportation research responds to societal challenges and positively affects innovation.

The team presented six recommendations for improvement, concerning market uptake of research outcomes and increased engagement of civil organisations, among other areas.

TRI-VALUE examined the effectiveness and impact of FP7 transportation research support in terms of Europe's mid-term agenda. The conclusions were positive, though some areas for improvement have been highlighted.

Related information

Subjects

Transport

Keywords

FP7, transport, ex-post evaluation, transport research, research impact
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