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EU Research Policy Scenario 2000-2010

Targets and challenges.

The Lisbon Strategy was launched by the Heads of State or Government during the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon (March 2000). Its aim was to make the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion", by 2010.

In 2000 the European Research Area concept was launched, in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, to better coordinate research and innovation activities at the level of both the Member States and the European Union.

The Barcelona target, agreed by the EU's Heads of State and Government in March 2002, commits the EU to increasing research investment to 3% of GDP by 2010. Two thirds of these funds should come from the private sector, and the remainder from the public sector.

In this scenario, in 2007 the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research and technological development was launched, which is the European Union's chief instrument for funding research over the period 2007 to 2013. Its main objective is to further the construction of the European Research Area.

In addition, European Technology Platforms (ETPs) were established over the past years as an instrument to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry. Their purpose was to develop a common vision and strategic research agenda for all stakeholders responsible for technological innovation within a specific sector.

ETPs have been providing major input to European research programmes such as FP7, and some have recently initiated Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI ) – a new form of public-private partnership, to reach the Barcelona target.

In this highly competitive context, modern European Universities have to face several challenges, such as:

  • diversifying funding sources (public/private);
  • enhance and promote the research offer, overcoming research groups’ fragmentation;
  • engaging dialogue and collaborating with industries;
  • favoring networking with industrial and academic partners, at national and international level;
  • elaborating and implementing strategic plans suitable to a project-based structure, through which research funding is allocated.

In this scenario University of Bologna has taken up these challenges:

  • Actively participating to the elaboration process of European research priorities, through European Technology Platforms (ETPs).
  • Engaging the dialogue with the national research system as a whole, actively contributing to National Technology Platforms work, and in some cases creating them, in strong coordination with related ETPs
  • Overcoming research groups fragmentation by promoting new research paths favoring multi-disciplinarity and integration: Alma Heritage Science, the Integrated Research Team on Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage
  • Becoming competitive with European excellences, by developing structures and services supporting projects preparation and management activities.