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5 years of activity at a glance Home > Governance >

5 years of activity at a glance

There were 2 lines of activities : structuration at the European level, and thematic focus. Both were driven by our vision of integration, a still fuzzy concept within EU circles. And all this had to be managed…

Two of the structural activities have been very successful – training and indicators (see respective sections) – while it became soon clear that a network of excellence was not an adequate institutional setting to nurture ‘fora of strategic intelligence’ even at the demonstration level (see forum exploration in results section). This drove us to reconsider our approach to the interaction with stakeholders (see specific page, this section).

We developed a bottom-up competitive approach to the challenges and themes highlighted. We soon recognised that we needed a portfolio of incentives depending upon the status of the issue within the community (review and initiation, exploration, comparative and aggregative research). Such a bottom-up action enables to remain open to new challenges and issues. This was clearly the case about universities (in public sector research). But it also drove to ‘orphan’ themes, not taken up. We have had internally numerous debates about the need to be more pro-active and to foster top-down initiate activities. The EC reviewers also pushed in that direction. The approach has been to really focus such proactive approaches so as to be in a position to support them should they emerge. Two were launched at the same time : on ERA dynamics, and on Human Resources (where all the projects submitted had been rejected). One has been very successful in mobilising teams and in shaping a new coordinated activity (ERA dynamics), while the other has had difficulty in generating anything else than small explorations on methodological issues. In both cases this took time to materialise (more than one year) and the two other proactive developments we wanted to initiate on innovation in collective goods and in services were halted when it became clear mid 2007 (see Gif seminar) that there would not be the time nor the means required to conduct them in a satisfactory way. Thus results obtained cluster around 4 main themes : governance of universities, knowledge production dynamics, circulation and appropriation of knowledge, evolving governance of research and innovation policies. They are presented in Prime results section. 

The project also developed a clear vision of what integration meant for us, as a final objective of a lasting network of excellence, and about the means to achieve it. The pages on integration account for it and propose our understanding of where we stand today. They held much in common with the views of the Characterisation Group. It was their remit to independently develop a conceptual framework and to monitor achievements. Their approach and results are exposed in the corresponding page.

Our approach to all these activities was for PRIME to be a partner requiring that teams, groups and organisations co-invest in all activities developed. Eligible costs are a poor marker of such an investment when most partners are de facto on marginal costs, being unable to account for the time of their permanent staff. Our own internal estimate based upon effective involvement of researchers in projects and activities (not including time spent in conferences and in the scientific management of the NoE) is that EC money accounts for probably less than 20% of the full cost of activities developed. This drove the management team to monitor partners’ involvement and propose a typology.

Finally PRIME was also an experiment in term of governance. How can a community self-organise ? We give our account of the governance in act, discussing pros and cons of the solutions adopted.



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