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 15: The Levelling Off of the Integration of European Technology

Dominique Guellec and Hélène Dernis


Dominique Guellec and Hélène Dernis 1 BACKGROUND The ‘integration of European research’ has been an EU objective for a long time but has gained in importance after 2000, when the European Research Area (ERA) policy was officially promoted by the European Commission. Various types of gains are expected from integration. More cooperation would allow for a higher quality of research by giving each participating team access to broader sources of knowledge but also allowing each team to focus on missions where it has a comparative advantage. A broader knowledge base (of European instead of national scope) enriches the sources of knowledge, then the quality of inventions. A larger research community, if it is well structured, can involve more cooperation and competition between teams, notwithstanding national barriers. More competition can generate a deeper division of labour between research teams located in various countries as the worst performing ones are excluded from the market while the best performing ones expand their share. Specialization can allow more teams to reach ‘critical mass’ in their particular field of research and so on. The notion of integration refers to closer coordination between inventors of various countries. It refers more specifically to two types of interactions between inventors: cooperation and competition. Cooperation is planned ex ante and guided by agreed decisions while competition works ex post and does not imply agreement. The two types of interactions result in some adjustment of the decisions taken by the parties involved. The alternative to such coordination is...

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