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The future landscape of Research and Technology Organisations in Europe Results of an exploratory exercise Matthias Weber, 21 April 2005
© systems research Overview Common features of public RTOs The role of RTOs in national innovation systems Key developments Towards complex innovation processes Towards the Europeanisation of R&D Towards a new financial regime Towards new relationships with other actors Scenarios for the future
© systems research Some common features of public RTOs Wide spectrum of public RTOs (public labs) First RTOs founded in the 17th Century Focus: large-scale applied research centres Similar history of large-scale public RTOs Initial orientation towards technological missions (e.g. nuclear, military, energy, etc.) Refocusing of their mission towards applied, often industrially oriented research in the 1970ies Establishment of policy research units in the early 1980ies Reduction of basic funding and/or privatisation during the 1990ies Increasingly challenged in terms of their role and function for research and innovation
© systems research The role of RTOs in National Innovation Systems In terms of finance: ~ 1/6 of GERD, ~ 25 Bio in total, > researchers in Europe In relation to industry Provide excellence and technological leadership Provide reserve capacity to industry (outsourcing) Ensure technology transfer to SMEs Operate as bridging institutions between regional/local partners and with national/European research Source of high-tech spin-offs In relation to policy Provision of public goods (mission-oriented research, research infrastructure, measurement and testing, etc.) Independent policy advice
© systems research The role of RTOs in National Innovation Systems In relation to universities/academies Complementarity, but also major overlaps between basic and applied research From selected cooperation activities to institutionalised interactions Interface between academia and industry Private contract research organisations Distinction in terms of commercial focus and public mission Blurring boundaries and growing overlaps
© systems research Government intramural expenditure on R&D Source: Eurostat data, taken from PREST (2002), GOVERD (mio pps at 1995 prices)
© systems research Importance of links to other actors Source: PREST (2002)
© systems research Main functions of research centres Source: PREST (2002)
© systems research Towards complex innovation processes Current and future developments Increasing number of actors and interactions in open innovation processes, changing configurations (innovation in networks) Demand for interdisciplinary and flexible research teams Fast changing requirements for individual projects Implications and requirements Ability and willingness to cooperate with a wide spectrum of partners, including potential competitors Realise greater flexibility by recombining and bundling inter- and transciplinary competencies, both internal and through external networks (Mode 2 ½) Need to combine S&T capabilities with strategic and management skills for implementation Extensive training on the job to develop the necessary skills
© systems research Towards a Europeanisation of R&D Current and future developments Major potential contribution of RTOs in large-scale EU projects that require extensive management skills (IPs, NoEs) ERA-Nets foster cooperation between national RTD- programmes; opening up to RTOs possible Internationalisation of industrial R&D: shall RTOs follow? New research infrastructures policy in FP7 proposal Implications and requirements Europeanisation of R&D requires Europeanisation of RTOs: European players or selected strategic collaborations? Economies of scope make some national centres redundant Ability to switch between European and national/regional role (e.g. excellence vs. technology transfer) Ability to deal flexibly with requiremens at both levels Integration of R&D activities in the NMS (subsidiaries, private RTOs, redefinition of Academies)
© systems research Towards a new financial regime Current and future developments Reduction of basic funding and framework performance agreements to specify public policy procurement needs and control key missions (accountability) Replacement by programme-oriented competitive funding Unstable balance between commercial and non-for profit research Privatisation or PPP arrangements, while maintaining strong government influence Financial and organisational separation of basic from contract research discussed by the EC Implications and requirements Commercial orientation of public RTOs puts some of their functions into question (e.g. spin-offs, tech-transfer to SMEs) Need for new evaluation criteria for RTOs, especially with respect to their public missions Less interest in shared cost EU-projects due to lack of basic funds
© systems research Towards new relationships with other actors Current and future developments University systems are undergoing a major transformation and will reinforce their external contract research Outsourcing of industrial R&D Growing demand for policy intelligence/advice in a more pluralistic context Private organisations and consultancies tend to have growing overlaps with RTOs in their commercial activities Implications and requirements Redefinition of the relationships with universities – new division of labour and new models of cooperation More flexibility of cooperation with industry Cultivate the specific profile of RTOs: research management, long-term research strategies, independence, in-house skills development
© systems research Main issues for RTOs Internal organisation Flexible but at the same time stable organisation Separation of basic and contract research may even require new organisational models More cooperation between organisational units External organisation Ability to switch rapidly between European research for excellence and regional/local missions Key nodes for cooperation with universities and other research and consultancy organisations, as well as other stakeholders Orientation of research Medium- to long-term research in areas that are driven by public interests (environment, security) or key strategic research areas (nano, GPTs, etc.) Short- to medium-term services to industry/advice to policy Integration of S&T research with policy/strategy issues (technology management)
© systems research Dimensions of future scenarios for the RTO landscape in Europe Organisation of research activities: Flexible division of labour with other actors vs. broad coverage Organisational model: Strategic holding vs. stable networks of collaboration European player vs. national/regional functions Thematic orientation & capabilities: Excellence in new fields of S&T vs. mastering a broad spectrum
© systems research Three scenario sketches The emergence of European RTOs Small number of European players Focus on research excellence Uncertainty about national role and position of national governments The network model of national RTOs Research at EU-level is realised through changing cooperations between a handful of major RTOs Combination of European role and national/regional functions Stable line organisations and flexible project task forces Excellence in some selected areas and broad coverage
© systems research Three scenario sketches for the future of RTOs in Europe (2) RTOs as strategic research holdings RTOs operating as a flexible holding framework for a portfolio research activities Portfolio management of a wide range of activities (joint centres with universities, competence centres, spin-offs, TT centres, own labs, mission-oriented labs, links with other RTOs) Strategic intelligence unit/policy research for planning Financial and administrative unit Decision-making bodies with close links to government
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