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 4: Actor constellations in the European Funding Area

Dietmar Braun


While the making of the European Research Area has caused a lot of debates in recent years, there is still less attention paid to the construction of the European Funding Area. This area is still subject to constant changes in the composition and functional division. Examples are the recent foundation of the European Research Council and the imminent dissolution of the European Science Foundation. For a long time the European Funding Area (EFA) has emerged in an incremental way by widening its scope and adding new actors and interests. It is the question whether the existing order with a multitude of actors (supranational, transnational, national; funding agencies, policy-makers, stakeholders), a complex competence distribution and multiple coordination modes is equipped to contribute in an optimal way to the promotion of optimal conditions for research. Our interest in this chapter is to sketch the coordination mode that has been developed in the EFA. In order to assess the implications for European funding it is nevertheless crucial to analyse the “dynamics” of the EFA. Dynamics indicate the interaction patterns and actor games that develop within the order and help to identify tensions, stable and unstable arrangements, and possible changes the order is subject to. This allows speculating about the future of the EFA. “Structure” and “agency” together define the capacity of the existing coordination order in the EFA to contribute to the long-term aims of the European Union like raising the attractiveness of the research place in Europe, contribute to a highly qualified scientific workforce and improve the innovativeness in the European Research Area.

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