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 6: From the Lisbon Agenda to the Lisbon Treaty: National Research Systems in the Context of European Integration and Globalization

Robert Boyer


Robert Boyer The origin of the European Research Area (ERA) has to be traced back to the end of the 1990s. On the one hand, science and technology experts and economists became convinced that a new productive paradigm was emerging: the surge of information and communication technologies (ICT) was the premise of a ‘knowledge-based economy’. On the other hand, Europe as a whole was suffering from an increasing gap with respect to the US and Japan as far as the implementation of this new engine of growth was concerned. The EU and the Member States had to redesign their scientific, technological, economic and social policies in order to cope successfully with this new ‘American challenge’. The ERA proposal from the European Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (European Commission, 2000) was one of the first steps in the design of the so-called ‘Lisbon Strategy’ under the Portuguese EU Presidency. Reading again this text, one gets the impression that it was written today. Europe still suffers from the juxtaposition of national research systems with few interactions between them. Academic research continues to be in a good position at world level but is not converted into a dynamic flow of successful innovations, contrary to what is observed in the US, especially in science-based sectors (Soete, 2006). Very few start-ups become large corporations in the high-tech sector and on average Europe’s specialization is still in low-medium-tech sectors. Consequently, growth has been...

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