The closed event “Tour d’ Europe” about “Europe’s research and Innovation Policy”, co-organised by RISE  (Research, Innovation, Science Experts group) & ELIAMEP was held in Athens on February 12th 2018.
It was hosted by the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Professor Achilleas Mitsos on its behalf. The participants from the Greek side included Patricia Kyprianidou, secretary general of R&D, as well as representatives from the private sector, universities, public research organisations, foundations and policy advisers to the government. The RISE delegation was headed by Mary Ritter, with Teresa Riera Madurell, Luke Georghiou, the RISE book authors Andrea Bonaccorsi, Lena Tsipouri, Andres Rodriguez-Pose, and the EU expert Ester Martinez-Ros.
Main messages from the event:
- Openness can help in this transformation. Open to society, open to newcomers, an open flow of knowledge and people between universities and firms, in trans-European networks. But openness needs a frame, to create circular, non-linear flows. Researchers should have incentives to return, and the value created from open data should be shared between the researcher and the entrepreneur.
- Use under-utilised resources. Build a system allowing the optimal utilisation of resources in Europe. Foster meetings between excellent research and the capacity to innovate. This should not be two separate worlds. The knowledge-innovation nexus is broken, in particular in many Southern and Eastern European countries.
- Shift from a rule-based to a people-focused policy. Create incentives for research and a culture of “knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship”. The regulatory framework must be simplified and recognize that R&I require risk taking and trust.
- FP and Structural Funds are two separate policies but the implementation needs synergies. They are two different policies with different objectives. However, synergies could be strengthened in the implementation. Smart specialisation strategies have been positive to create long-term visions and gather actors in new platforms. But they are limited by existing firm structures, by a lack of critical mass and limited networking across regions. Synergies are also hampered by a heavy bureaucracy, double audit requirements and contradicting rules for the exploitation of R&I outcomes. For Greece, these legal constraints are worsened by specific austerity measures.
- The next Framework Programme should combine continuity with renewal. Investing in innovative firms with the EIC is needed through long-term finance, independent from the crisis-stricken banks. Mission-oriented R&I is also a very useful idea to connect to citizens, work across policies in a systemic way, and scale-up national missions. The missions should be selected carefully, so they respond to the needs of all European countries. Finally, Open Science and Open Data should be promoted to increase the use of the outcomes of the FP projects. However, openness should always be sensitive to the question: “For whom is it open?”
About the “Tour d’Europe”: In autumn 2017 and winter 2018, the RISE group (Research, Innovation, Science Experts group) will meet with independent Think Tanks in European capitals. The reflections will focus on where EU R&I policy should be heading and their role in the future of Europe. The Tour d’Europe is conceived in the context of the President Juncker’ initiative to have a wide and open reflection in Europe on the future direction of the European project. The Tour d’Europe will focus on the field of research and innovation and its role in the wider European policy. It is a dialogue with among independent Think Tanks, not directly connected to national administration. The main interlocutors are policy advisers, economists, academics, and intellectuals, organised in well-recognised platforms. National authorities, as well as the EU representation, should be informed from the very beginning of the organisation.