Towards European Science
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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.
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Chapter 2: From ‘Science in Europe’ to ‘European Science’

Maria Nedeva and Linda Wedlin


In the wake of the twenty-first century, Europe embarked on an ambitious, large-scale project ideologically framed and politically justified by the concept of the European Research Area. This project has not only brought about a new set of policy and governance mechanisms within the EU, but has significantly altered the understanding and functioning of the role of science and science policy at the European level. To understand these far-reaching transformations, this chapter elaborates a framework for understanding the current shift in European science policy and organization, and the dynamics that this change may create in the field of science and research. We describe the current and past transformations of the European science space as a transition between two relatively stable and persistent stages of science support; from what we term an era of ‘science in Europe’ to the development of a coherent space that we term ‘European science’. This transition involves three significant parts: 1) a change in the rationale for supporting research and building research capacity at the European level, 2) changes in the targets for policy intervention, and 3) a transformation of the organizational architectonics of the European science space. We analyse how the transition from ‘Science in Europe’ to ‘European Science’ unfolds along these three dimensions and marks a development that is characterised by increasing the level of commensurability between the European research space and national research spaces. This has serious implications for the complex relationships and interactions between the European level and national research spaces generally and some of their parts in particular.

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