European Research Area (ERA) from the Innovation Perspective: Knowledge Spillovers, Cost of Inventing and Voluntary Cooperation
The paper analyses the European Research Area policy (ERA) from the innovation perspective. The Lisbon Treaty gives the Union the objective of free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology. The five ERA initiatives implement the ERA policy on the basis of voluntary cooperation. The ERA and innovation are linked through the business sector R&D investment. The economic value of the ERA comes from accelerated cross-European knowledge spillovers reducing the cost of inventing. In general, important obstacles hinder the knowledge spillovers making them largely intra-national. These obstacles arise due to the incentives in providing and sharing knowledge and to costs of capturing knowledge spillovers. Funding of knowledge from national budgets and uncertain benefits from knowledge circulation across the heterogenous member states complicates situation further. The analysis of Joint Programming and Better Careers and Mobility initiatives reveals multiple sources of obstacles to cross-European knowledge spillovers. Weak incentives in the member states and limited possibilities at the EU level block the implementation of ERA. In this constellation, the ERA initiatives need to support openness and competition in publicly funded research and universities as well as better models of scientific management to guarantee highest scientific quality. Accelerated (ERA) knowledge spillovers require extended and dynamic markets.
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