Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ERAWATCH2 Report Summary

Project ID: 239560
Funded under: FP7-COH
Country: Belgium

Periodic Report Summary 3 - ERAWATCH2 (ERAWATCH monitoring and analysis)

Project context and objectives:

In 2000 the Lisbon Strategy set the objective to make of Europe the most dynamic and knowledge based economy in the world by 2010. Shortly after, the Barcelona European Council agreed on the objective of boosting the level of research funding to 3 % of Gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010, two thirds of which should come from the private sector. Research has since then taken on a prominent political role.

In the 2002 Communication on 'The European Research Area: providing a new momentum' the European Commission (EC) identified the need for the definition of an electronic information system on research programmes and national and regional support instruments in this field, which over time could contribute to their further harmonisation.

This is the fundamental concept behind the development of the ERAWATCH public service supporting evidence-based policy making in Europe. It was conceived as a joint undertaking of the Joint research centre (JRC) and directorate-general (DG) Research and technological development (RTD) of EC.

ERAWATCH is a public web-based platform that presents information and analysis on European, national and regional research policies, actors, organisations and support measures. The service currently covers the 27 Member States of the European Union, countries associated to the European Community's Research Framework Programme and, for comparative purposes, several non-European Union countries. ERAWATCH also produces analytical reports to investigate further research policy issues across Europe.

ERAWATCH is primarily intended for a policy audience, in particular policy makers and analysts in the area of R&D, at EU, national and regional level. It seeks to contribute to sound policy-making at all levels of governance by offering evidence and insights into the European Research and development (R&D) landscape.

Following a trajectory of ongoing enhancement of the services it provides, ERAWATCH has continued to provide support for evidence-based policymaking for research policies at national and European level. It has continued to collect data and produce analytical products of recognised quality and relevance, in an appropriate and consistent format, and according to a timetable for suitable policy use.

Furthermore, ERAWATCH has continued to strengthen its focus on European Research Area (ERA), mainly along the axes of the ERA Green Paper. While it has retained and enhanced its focus on national policy contexts, it has developed and maintained broader capabilities to anticipate and address emerging policy questions on the dynamics of the emerging European Research and innovation (R&I) system.

Project results:

The work in ERAWATCH2 is divided in five Work package (WP)s:

- WP1 - Monitoring and analysis of national research policies: This first WP centres on description and analysis of the policy mix for research in the Member States, countries associated with the Framework Programme and selected other countries. This work highlights those areas that are most relevant to the Lisbon and ERA strategy.

WP2 - Monitoring and analysis of progress towards ERA: The second WP centres on examination of the contribution of Member and Associated States and of the EC to the ERA strategy. It is structured around the axes of the ERA Green Paper.

WP3: Monitoring and analysis of the reforms of research universities in the ERA: This WP focuses on monitoring and analysis of the reforms of research universities in the Member States and associated states.

WP4 - Information management and dissemination: This WP centres on the development of information management system of ERAWATCH, aiming at closer and more effective integration of the collection of information and the final website presentation and dissemination of information and the analytical products based on it.

WP5 - Management and coordination: Overall coordination of the other four WPs is essential to develop and maintain strong overall coherence and consistency between them. In addition to monitoring and reporting on progress and issues arising in the work, this WP implements an overall approach to quality assurance.

Description of work performed

The work performed since the beginning of the project, and the main results, are the following:

A specific contract has been launched with the ERAWATCH network for updating and maintenance of the inventory, combined with the preparation of the analytical country reports (see below). JRC - Institute for prospective technological studies (IPTS) prepared updated templates for the Country Fiches to be included in the ERAWATCH knowledge inventory.

Regarding the ERAWATCH analytical country reports, JRC-IPTS and DG RTD finalised the structure and focus for the 2010 and 2011 reports, to be produced under the specific contract mentioned above. JRC-IPTS prepared the technical specifications, followed through with negotiations with the ERAWATCH network, prepared guidelines for the analytical country reports, and revised draft versions of country reports. In addition, two pilot country reports (Denmark and Ireland) were produced within the reporting period.

Regarding so-called horizontal analyses, two policy briefs were produced during the reporting period. The first was 'Connecting the dots: How to strengthen the EU knowledge economy' (Fulvio Mulatero and Fernando Hervás Soriano), which focused on the governance of the knowledge triangle in Europe. The second was 'Effective research and innovation agendas to tackle societal challenges: The case of the Strategic energy technology plan' (SET-Plan), by the same authors. It discussed the strategic use of R&I to green the EU energy sector while ensuring the security of supply and increasing EU competitiveness as a blueprint to tackle other societal challenges. Work for the analysis of progress towards the ERA has the aim of being as policy-relevant as possible. To this end, JRC-IPTS has taken advantage of the opportunity to contribute to Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn's new R&I action plan. Fernando Hervás and Ken Guy have been involved in the Inter-Service Group that prepared the Innovation Union Communication. The Commission staff working document accompanying this Communication (entitled 'A rationale for action') drew largely from a document drafted as part of the ERAWATCH2 contract - D2.1.1 'Progress in ERA implementation report'.

In addition, the report 'Conceptualising and measuring the European R&I system' (ERIS) was produced and submitted in June 2010.

The ERAWATCH2 AA also envisaged the provision of additional support to the work of DG RTD on monitoring the ERA, in particular supporting the Innovation Union competitiveness key figures report 2010. Staffs worked in close collaboration with colleagues in DG RTD who were authoring particular chapters. In total, JRC-IPTS contributed to the areas of science and society, specialisation, universities, joint programming, and human resources.

As part of its activities in support of ERAC, IPTS participated in the Peer learning activity (PLA), 'New funding models - costing of research activities' that took place in Murcia, Spain on 6-8 September 2010. On 16 June 2010 IPTS, in conjunction with DG RTD, made a presentation to ERAC entitles 'ERA information system in support of policy making'.

Regarding the 'European University Observatory' project, data for 200 research universities and 60 funding agencies was collected. However, confidentiality has emerged as a delicate issue requiring careful attention. A number of universities have objected to providing some types of information (on private sources of funding, for example). Others are concerned that the information collected will be utilised to construct a university ranking in which they would be unfavourable characterised. Given that the University Observatory is a precursor to the larger scale EUMIDA project (an EU-wide census of universities) for which university collaboration is essential, DG RTD expressed concern about antagonising universities. A public presentation (on the ERAWATCH website, for example) of data at university level, therefore, was considered not advisable. In order to circumvent this problem, JRC-IPTS prepared two reports where the data was presented at aggregate level: Towards a European Observatory of research active universities: Summary of information from 200 selected universities and national funding agencies in Europe: A horizontal analysis of selected funding schemes.

The University Observatory is a rich source of original data, and JRC-IPTS is committed to making the most out of the investment made for this data collection process (300K). Therefore, it will seek to utilise as much data from it as possible in order to complement and enrich other deliverables on the dynamics of reforms in universities and analyses of selected topics regarding European universities.

Regarding the Integrated information management system (IIMS), a contract was awarded to 'Everis Spain' in December 2009. The contract was amended on 30 April 2010 to include changes in the contractor's team and to fine-tune the methodology and the table of deliverables after the inception phase.

Due to a combination of staffing and technical problems, the development and implementation of the new EW IIMS has experienced delays. Efforts have been continuing to rectify these issues. In the meantime, the current system, developed and hosted by OPOCE, has been kept running thanks to an extension of the contractual agreement between JRC-IPTS and OPOCE.

Potential impact:

Expected final results and their potential impact

The work being produced by ERAWATCH is ongoing and results are being produced constantly, as evidenced in the summary above. Therefore, there are no 'final results' as such. Rather, the reports that are being produced, including the constantly-updated ERAWATCH research inventory, are final results in their own right. They are substantial, stand-alone and policy relevant.

For example, the contribution of the ERAWATCH research inventory to research policy making is mentioned in Commission staff working document 'A rationale for action' (SEC(2010) 1161 final) (p. 74 text, also cited pp. 24, 36). Its contribution to joint programming is cited in the documentation of outcomes of the 29 November 2010 meeting of the European Council (p. 61) and also cited in Commission staff working document 'Research joint programming initiative on agriculture, food security and climate change: motivations and state of play of research at European level', accompanying document to the Commission recommendation on the research joint programming initiative 'Agriculture, food security and climate change' (SEC(2010) 481 final (p5)). It was also cited in the draft report of the high level group on joint programming to the Council 'Joint programming in research 2008-2010 and beyond' (p. 65)

ERAWATCH is also cited in the Communication from the Commission 'Annual report on research and technological development activities of the European Union in 2009' (COM (2010) 632), p.12, and the Commission staff working document accompanying the Communication from the Commission 'Conclusions of the fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: the future of cohesion policy' (SEC(2010) 1348 final) p. 170.

Another example: As part of activities envisaged in ERAWATCH2, JRC-IPTS participated to the Innovation Union task force that formulated and prepared the Communication on the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative 'Innovation Union' (COM(2010) 546 final). In particular, JRC-IPTS contributed with ERAWATCH2 deliverable D2.1.1 'Progress in ERA implementation report'.

This report was substantially reproduced in the Commission staff working document 'A Rationale for action' (SEC(2010) 1161 final) that provided the evidence base and rationale for the actions proposed in the Innovation Union Communication (acknowledged in footnote 3, page 6 of the Communication). ERA analysis conceived the conceptual framework, collected the evidence, undertook the analysis, and drafted the working document.

Research, science and innovation Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn invited ERA analysis to 'Thank you drink' on 20 October in appreciation of the contribution. The work was also presented to the ERA board (responsible for assisting the EC in developing, promoting and evaluating policy initiatives and actions to meet the goals of the ERA) on 22 October.

Given that the Innovation Union is one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, drafting the above-noted staff working document constitutes a substantial and direct contribution to EU policy making at the highest possible level. Moreover, by deriving a large amount of its evidence from work undertaken as part of ERAWATCH, the document has also managed to raise the visibility of ERAWTACH as a whole and increase the policy impact of its products.

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