Pier Francesco Moretti - June 2015
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Ufficio Attività e Relazioni con Istituzioni Europee
Dipartimento Scienze del Sistema Terra e Tecnologie per l’Ambiente
The process of coordinating/aligning national research programmes at European level is addressed, in particular in relation with competitiveness and growth of territories. Different aspects are involved when Member States cooperate: increasing critical mass, competitiveness, patrol or control, reducing fragmentation and costs. This implies usually the identification of common goals through hierarchically or self-organized decision-making processes. The pros and cons of the identification of “top-down (hierarchically) and bottom-up (self-organized) driven” priorities are described in a period of economic crisis, when funding agencies and performing research organizations can conflict. While Europe is asking to cooperate for joint actions and increase impact in tackling societal challenges, the policy for aligning research could facilitate the agglomeration of skills/excellence and competitiveness in some areas, resulting therefore in geographical unbalances at European level. This paper aims at stimulating a debate on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the governance for research funding in Europe, having in mind that, in a complex system as the European Research Area and its links with industrial competitiveness, it is difficult to evaluate the direct impact of trans-national actions in shaping the evolution of the system itself.