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The Future of Key Actors in the European Research Area


  • Madeleine Akrich

    () (CSI i3 - Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Riel Miller

    () (DTI - Danish Technology Institute - Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation)


This text is the synthesis report based on the work of the High Level Expert Group on the Future of Research Actors (RA) in the European Research Area (ERA). This group was set up by the Technology Foresight Group, DG Research, European Commision. Many of the conclusions of this synthesis report are fully consistent with the directions of current research policies. The work of the group highlights the importance of efforts, already well underway, to reinforce the functioning of the ERA as an integrated base that overcomes a wide range of geographic, institutional and disciplinary barriers to the both the competition and sharing of knowledge. Knitting together the different European research actors into a more transparent and diversified whole would seem to be one of the best ways to create a stronger platform for knowledge creation and diffusion. A less anticipated conclusion, and less part of the existing consensus, is that simply pursuing the ambition of multiplying the number of effective research platforms in Europe may miss a key part of tomorrow's research agenda. The in-depth expert papers on the eight different research actors of the ERA, the insights arising from the synthesis developed in this paper, and the analytical results of a rare scenario pooling exercise, all point very clearly to the risk that current policies are excessively technology centric and may miss crucial emerging attributes of research and research actors in the knowledge society. Thus, over and above the value- added for assessing the direction and implementation of current approaches to improving the production and use of research in Europe, this report recommends new policies aimed at accelerating the development of emergent forms and sources of research. The policy message is that Europe must move beyond industrial-era challenges to embrace those of the knowledge society. Further opening, expanding and integrating the European Research Area requires: 1) Policies that put into practice expanded criteria for designing and funding research programmes for the European Research Area to include user-centred technological, organisational and social innovation. 2) Policies that initiate experiments that validate (quality/trust/transparency) new forms and producers (including individual independent researchers) of knowledge. 3) Policies, both budgetary and regulatory, that create and facilitate both new collaborative environments for research, including user-centred research, and new governance processes.4) Policies to enhance the capacity of policy makers (including at the regional level) to recognise and facilitate new forms of research and particularly new approaches to the governance of research processes. 5) Policies to abolish national borders for researchers and for students both within Europe and outside Europe. 6) Policies to strengthen the autonomy of universities, including areas so far strictly controlled by most governments such as a university's strategic profile and selection of specialisations. 7) Further research is required regarding the relationship between the changing nature of research and intellectual property rights (IPR). 8) Further research is required regarding the functional division of labour amongst different research actors in the context of the emerging “open innovation model”. 9) Further research is required in order to describe and analyse the contribution of civil society to research and innovation. 10) Further research is required on how to establish trust in highly complex and diversified knowledge societies. 11) Further research is required to define and measure new forms of innovation, particularly with respect to the innovation related research occurring in the service sector, SMEs and the community (social innovation) that point towards new models of innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Madeleine Akrich & Riel Miller, 2007. "The Future of Key Actors in the European Research Area," Post-Print halshs-00116775, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00116775
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    Cited by:

    1. Havas, Attila, 2007. "Devising futures for universities in a multi-level structure: A methodological experiment," MPRA Paper 66341, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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