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 17: The Future of the European Research Area

Paraskevas Caracostas, Ugur Muldur and Kristian Orsini


Paraskevas Caracostas, Ugur Muldur and Kristian Orsini The European Union (EU) is confronted with a number of major challenges and choices. The decisions taken in the coming years will crucially affect the future everyday life of its 500 million citizens and determine its position on the world’s chessboard as a global power or as a peripheral region. One of the most important decisions concerns the governance of research. Through research, human beings advance their knowledge and understanding of the environment in which they live. Through research, private companies are able to grow in competitive markets, assuring employment and material welfare. Through research, society enhances the quality of life for its members responding to their demand for a better tomorrow. The way in which research will be prioritized and organized within the EU plays a crucial role in determining its future evolution. This chapter aims at mapping the forces acting on the European research landscape1 and reflects on possible evolutions of European research. It benefits from previous scenario-building work (Kuhlmann, 2001; Observatoire des Sciences et des Techniques, 2001; European Commission, 2004) as well as from recent academic and policy debates on the European research landscape (Edler et al., 2003; European Commission, 2007a).2 The visions elaborated hereafter are the product of speculative work based on several – but well specified – hypotheses. Clearly, in a 20-years’ horizon many disruptive factors (or ‘wild cards’) may lead to completely unexpected developments. The geopolitical instability following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the more recent financial instability...

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