Dynamics and Policy of an Evolving European Research Space
Edited by Linda Wedlin and Maria Nedeva
Chapter 4: Actor constellations in the European Funding Area
While the making of the European Research Area has caused a lot of debates in recent years, there is still less attention paid to the construction of the European Funding Area. This area is still subject to constant changes in the composition and functional division. Examples are the recent foundation of the European Research Council and the imminent dissolution of the European Science Foundation. For a long time the European Funding Area (EFA) has emerged in an incremental way by widening its scope and adding new actors and interests. It is the question whether the existing order with a multitude of actors (supranational, transnational, national; funding agencies, policy-makers, stakeholders), a complex competence distribution and multiple coordination modes is equipped to contribute in an optimal way to the promotion of optimal conditions for research. Our interest in this chapter is to sketch the coordination mode that has been developed in the EFA. In order to assess the implications for European funding it is nevertheless crucial to analyse the “dynamics” of the EFA. Dynamics indicate the interaction patterns and actor games that develop within the order and help to identify tensions, stable and unstable arrangements, and possible changes the order is subject to. This allows speculating about the future of the EFA. “Structure” and “agency” together define the capacity of the existing coordination order in the EFA to contribute to the long-term aims of the European Union like raising the attractiveness of the research place in Europe, contribute to a highly qualified scientific workforce and improve the innovativeness in the European Research Area.
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