Towards European Science

Towards European Science

Dynamics and Policy of an Evolving European Research Space

Edited by Linda Wedlin and Maria Nedeva

Since the concept of the European Research Area was launched at the beginning of this century, significant effort has been made to realise the vision of a coherent space for science and research in Europe. But what is such a space, and how is it developing? This timely book analyses the dynamics of change in policy and governance of science and research within Europe over the past decade. It widens the scope of traditional policy analysis by focusing attention on the interaction between policy rationales, new governance mechanisms, and the organisational dynamics of the scientific field. The contributors build a novel analytical framework to understand the European research space as one shifting from a fragmented space of ‘science in Europe’ to one that is labelled ‘European Science’, and the chapters explore dynamics of this shift through the lenses of political science, organisation theory, science policy and related analytical traditions.

Chapter 10: Quo vadis European science?

Linda Wedlin and Maria Nedeva

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, politics and public policy, european politics and policy


There is little doubt that the policy, governance, structures and organization of science at the European level has been changing dramatically and rapidly over the last couple of decades. Notions regarding the role of European-level funding and support for research and the interactions between the European and national funding have been re-framed. Policy and governance rationales have been extended to signal the broad integrative ambition of research funding while placing emphasis firmly on the excellence of research. Last but not least, the existence of long-established organisational forms have been brought into question (for example, the ESF) and novel organisations with audacious goals, and budgets to match, have emerged (the ERC). In parallel, national research spaces have been undergoing profound transformation as well. As higher education and research systems have become both larger and politically more visible in many countries, governance efforts have increased and new and revised systems for evaluating, funding and managing research and science have emerged. These include, but are not restricted to, an increase in performance-based funding principles and mechanisms, development of quality assurance systems, and a global spread of university ranking systems. Such systems represent an increasing influence also of globalised models and ideals for university and science governance, and an adherence to a market rationale charaterised by ideals of (largely global) competition and excellence.

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