Unveiling the Texture of a European Research Area: Emergence of Oligarchic Networks under EU Framework Programmes
The paper provides a contribution to the recent debate about targets and effectivenessof network policies at the EU level, by presenting a detailed analysis of the large R&D network that has emerged over Framework Programmes. Social network analysis and graph theory are employed to describe structural properties and dynamics of the emerging network, which appears to be rather dense and pervasive, branching around a large "oligarchic core", whose centrality and connectivity strengthened over programmes. The paper discusses the degree to which this network structure may respond to EU broad policy objectives of competitiveness and cohesion and its implications for recent programmes aimed at shaping a European Research Area. In particular, attention is placed on the late focus by European institutions on networking centres of excellence. Since future initiatives are to build on the existing fabric of science and technology in Europe, we argue that understanding how networks formed and evolved following previous stimuli is of great relevance for implementing and assessing the impact of the newly defined network approach.
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