European Science and Technology Policy
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European Science and Technology Policy

Towards Integration or Fragmentation?

Edited by Henri Delanghe, Ugur Muldur and Luc Soete

This innovative book focuses on the most important concept underpinning current European Union research policy. It describes the history and concept of the European Research Area (ERA), analyses some of the underlying assumptions, assesses some of its achievements, and takes a brief look at its future.
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Chapter 2: Intergovernmental Cooperation in the Making of European Research

Pierre Papon


Pierre Papon Until the mid-20th century, scientific research in Europe was a national undertaking, although cooperation between scientists had been an old tradition, even during war periods (Rossi, 1999; Blay and Nicolaïdis, 2001). At the end of the 1940s, scientific cooperation on a large scale was considered a means for establishing durable peace and Europe-wide cooperation took shape in the 1950s. It was intended to tackle efficiently the reconstruction of Europe’s scientific potential and to face new and major scientific challenges like those represented by nuclear physics. This reconstruction effort thus opened a new era for European science. 1 THE CHALLENGES OF ‘MEGASCIENCE’ AND OF MODERNIZATION: THE CERN AND ECSC MODELS The emergence of atomic physics in the 1930s began to transform the organization of scientific research since for the first time since the building of astronomical observatories, large facilities such as particle accelerators became necessary for the advancement of science. During the war, the building of the atomic bomb presaged the advent of a new era of ‘megascience’ dominated by large machines conceived and operated by hundreds of scientists and technicians. Nuclear physics, an area in which European researchers had achieved great breakthroughs, was considered a starting point for European cooperation and in December 1949, the Conférence Européenne de la Culture meeting in Lausanne proposed multinational cooperation in this domain. It was followed in June 1950 by a meeting of physicists organized by Pierre Auger and sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization...

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