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 5: Executive governance of European science – technocratic, segmented, and path dependent?

Åse Gornitzka


This chapter unpacks the executive governance of the EU’s involvement in science. It revisits three claims about how policy is shaped and implemented: executive governance of European science as particularly technocratic (policy making takes place insulated from political steer); as segmented (policy making conducted within ‘sector-silos’); and as path dependent (institutionalisation of one type of supranational policy approach impedes change and further coordination of EU member states’ policies). Analysis of EU research policy since the turn of the millennium shows that these characteristics are in part still prevalent and can be explained with reference to the organizational structures and sector-specific cultures in EU research policy as well as characteristics of research as a policy area. Yet, in the 2000s political attention has increased, executive path dependency has implied both stability and enabled policy change, and segmentation has been challenged by strong calls for coordination within and between sectors.

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