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Interactions with stakeholders Home > Governance >

Interactions with stakeholders


WP6 SA6 Agenda and project building workshops with colleagues outside of Europe
Undertake a review by a professional for defining a dissemination strategy, in particular looking at position papers developed for the Pisa conference and their potential transformation into policy briefs
Reorganisation of the website for the dissemination of academic results, insuring its presence after the end of the NoE



New “results oriented” website
First books of the PRIME collection out
India-China, Latin America joint workshops
Organised set of dissemination material and events
Finalisation of the website as a results portal and location within an existing institution


We initially conceived this interaction as a new development based on experimenting with one aspect - a forum of strategic intelligence, a concept that was the main result of a previous large ASTPP project (report delivered in 1999, just over one decade ago now). This proved difficult to implement, so the 2006 Paris conference and Governing Board, after reviewing developments and in particular the results of the Forum exploratory research undertaken in 2005, decided that a network of excellence was not the appropriate institutional setting for nurturing such developments. This was a view shared by the EC reviewers. This led us to fully reconsider our strategy for interaction, something that has sometimes been misunderstood, in particular by the EC reviewers.
It is important to recall that a Network of Excellence is not meant to replace actors, but to support them in their own activities. Focused on the longer-term part of the spectrum, the NoE deals with a limited part of the total activity of SPRI researchers. Furthermore, the results are not its own but those of the groups who produce them and of the institutions that employ them and have established these groups. In discussing “dissemination” activities, these basic points must not be forgotten. This said, a Network of Excellence should try to ensure that the results arrived at through its support are made available and discussed within the wider scientific community. As a network focusing on policy, it is important that we engage in exchange with policymakers, whether within public authorities – regional, national and European – or in charge of higher education and research institutions. The two routes have been worked out differently.

After careful consideration, we concluded that there were very few specialities having access to the scholarly community through established journals listed in the Web of Science or through publishers with an established world standing. This explains why we have encouraged our colleagues to publish in such journals and to collect their results into books. In order to foster the ability to publish books, we have dealt with one main publisher, Edward Elgar, and through this have created a PRIME collection.
The table below shows that the academic outputs are quite important, even if we only focus on the main ones and that they cover most of the activities undertaken. They also show that journals such as Research Policy, Science and Public Policy and the Journal of Technology Transfer play a central role. Such a table emphasizes the time-lag is between the ‘official’ end of activities and effective publication, with a number of books still in the process of finalisation from projects where support ended in 2008, and also various special issues of journals from 2008 conferences that are not yet all published. This suggests that the integration promoted and highlighted by the Characterisation Group has resulted in widening and deepening the levels of excellence. However it is perhaps to soon to tell whether this excellence is associated with the extending of prevailing concepts or whether it has succeeded in nurturing new approaches.

Early on, we were struck by the fact that, even in the US, there was no equivalent forum of exchange to the one we were building. It is symbolic that the first such gathering in the US for years (2006), organised by our associate partner, Georgia Tech, was co-organised with us and since then, colleagues from PRIME institutions have been very active in later conferences, including focused ones such as the 2010 nanotech conference. With support from the NSF this led to the organisation of a joint doctoral school in Twente (2008, see key events). And in 2009, P. Laredo was invited by NSF to discuss PRIME developments at the meeting of the programme on the science of science and innovation policy organised by AAAS (Washington, March 2009).
This approach was further developed. PRIME supported the organisation of a Latin American PRIME conference in Mexico (2008, see key events), where the notion of a global SPRI forum was first discussed. This explains our choice of the name for our new association, being the European SPRI forum, in view of possible future world coordination. At the Paris conference (2006) we also discussed the development of similar conferences in India and China, our colleagues from both countries who participated in these meetings pushing for a joint event. However this has not materialised so far, although there has been quite a number of bilateral developments between European and Asian teams and European colleagues have also been very active in the creation of the new Asian Journal of STI policy review.

Activity Year Output
WP1 – Globpol 2007 Special issue of JTT
WP1 - CIPR 2007
Journal article on open source software
Conceptual article on ontological assumptions in IPR
WP1/3 – Rebaspinoff 2006
Article in RP
Article in Industrial Corporate Change
Book by Elgar on academic entrepreneurship
Article in SPP on policy lessons
Special issue of JTT (derived from 2008 Conference in Sestri Levante)
WP1 Nanodistrict 2007
Special issue of RP
Specific website for making results accessible
Article on nano clusters in Nano Law and Business
Article in the new Asian STI Policy Review Journal on nano policies
WP1 Innomil 2009
Special issue of JTT
Book in PRIME Elgar collection
WP1 Venture Fun 2006


Article in RP
Articles in Economics of Innovation and new technology & in the Journal of evolutionary economics
Articles in SPP and in the Journal of evolutionary economics
Special Issue of Venture Capital (2008 Milano conf)
WP2 ERISP 2008
Article in RP on conceptual framework
Article on regions as innovation policy spaces
Book in PRIME Elgar collection
WP2 Knowledge & institutional dynamics / ERA Dynamics 2008
Article in Minerva on search regimes
Article in Research Policy on proliferation dynamics
Article in Minerva on complementarities
Special issue of SPP (under finalisation)
WP3 Aquameth 2006

Article in scientometrics on methods used
Book in PRIME Elgar collection
Article in Research evaluation
Article in scientometrics on methodology
Article in SPP accounting for Aquameth results
Special Issue of Minerva on Universities (with multiple papers from Aquameth work)
RP article (with all participants of Aquameth, 29 authors) (under review)
WP3 Sun 2009
Book with Springer
Book chapter with Routledge
Book chapter with PPUR (Lausanne)
Article in Higher Education
WP3 OEU 2006
Report widely disseminated
Article in HEP
WP4 Project funding 2007
Article in Research Evaluation
Special issue of SPP
Special issue of Research Evaluation
Special Issue of SPP on eastern systems of innovation
WP4 Euro CV 2009 Special issue of JTT
WP4 Unipub 2010 Article in Research Evaluation
WP6 Dissemination  2008
Handbook on foresight (PRIME collection)
Book by Springer on evaluation systems (Cake)
Handbook on innovation policies (PRIME collection)
WP8 Characterisation Group 2006 Article in SPP
WP8 Characterisation Group 2010 Article in RP (under review)


The approach to policy-targeted dissemination that we developed is based on two central considerations.

(a) There has been a constant effort by the EC as a policy body to increase the number of events that address both academics and policymakers. There is scarcely a month without at least one EC or a Presidency-sponsored conference in our field. In contrast to the EC reviewers who suggested we establish an equivalent of AAAS in Europe, our choice has therefore been not to add one more event, but rather to participate in existing events, where, of course, those who participate do so under their institutional affiliations. It is difficult to keep track of such events and of participations by PRIME members. Let us however mention a few : in 2007, A. Bonaccorsi was the scientific keynote speaker at the inaugural conference of the ERC in Berlin (February 2007) where he drew upon results from the projects on knowledge dynamics developed under PRIME. In 2007-9 PRIME members were important participants in the conference on the future of the ERA in Lisbon and in the French Presidency conference in Toulouse (see key events for the latter).

(b) It has been demonstrated on numerous occasions that the most effective channel through which ideas and conceptual frameworks percolate is through consultancy or the sharing of expertise, and in particular collective expertise. It is not without significance that the expert group on future rationales for the ERA was presided over by a member of PRIME Executive Committee (L. Georghiou) or that it contained a number of experts active in PRIME, or that another member of the ExC participated in the Lisbon Expert Group established to monitor the whole of the Lisbon Strategy and played a central role in the writing of its report (S. Kuhlmann). This was also the case for one of the four members of the panel reviewing the Networks of Excellence, and for 3 out of the 4 members of the expert group on ‘gearing European Research towards sustainability’ or of the majority of experts mobilised for FP6 evaluation. The nomination in 2008 of Luis Sanz, another member of the Executive Committee, as chair of CSTP, or the role played by Rémi Barré (one of the 3 members of the Characterisation group) in developing and writing the ERA 2020 vision during the French presidency) are other examples of such occasions encouraging the percolation of the knowledge developed within PRIME. We do not take account here of all the national use of particular PRIME results, for example, Venture Fun organised targeted days in Finland, Italy and France ; Nanodistrict organised an international academic-stakeholder conference in Grenoble (2006) and other results have been presented in multiple policymaking settings or wider conferences in France, the Netherlands and Israel, while a key Nordic member of the project became secretary of the OECD programme set out by CSTP. Another type of knowledge percolation comes through the role played in addressing new policy developments : ENID (through B. Lepori) was instrumental in shaping the new EC indicator development policy (serving as the rapporteur of the preparatory group). Lastly, the Aquameth consortium was selected for the development of the new European University DB and indicators project (the EUMIDA project). 

These constitute de facto the main channels through which ideas - such as that of ‘one size does not fit all’ and the need for policies tailored to different knowledge dynamics’, or the notion of grand societal challenges (of course also shared and promoted by other colleagues, experts and policymakers) – have grown in the European policy landscape. This did not weaken our intent to be proactive in circulating the specific results arrived at by PRIME activities. We have focused our efforts on developing targeted interactions with policymakers around specific activities. The reason is simple : policymaking is just like any other activity, in that it is witnessing a growing trend towards specialisation. Policymakers dealing with developing venture capital have little in common with those in charge of frontier science - they mostly operate in very different environments and come from different backgrounds.

(a) Thus we have assisted colleagues in interacting with targeted policymakers when discussing, for instance, how to develop indicators for universities (the 2006 Lugano conference, well ahead of the subsequent fashion), or issues raised by regional policies (Paris 2006 and Bilbao 2007), or the spinning out of firms from universities (the 2008 Sestri Levante conference targeting mostly TTOs), or the conditions underlying the development of a venture capital industry (the 2008 Milano conference), or the issues raised for policies by the different dynamics of different fields of knowledge (the ERA dynamics workshops under the German and Portuguese Presidencies, Toulouse specific session under the French Presidency, the 2009 IPTS workshop on the implications for foresight), or the understanding of integration for research at European level (2009 joint workshop with CONNEX). Finally we decided to bring together the core of the results arrived at on networks in a specific two-day conference organised in Brussels with the European Economic and Social Committee. (see key events for all the events mentioned).

(b) We tested the idea of developing position papers and/or policy briefs. The first experience of this was done at the Pisa PRIME conference (2007). It did not prove very successful, most papers being considered too detailed, and addressing only knowledgeable stakeholders. We were encouraged by reviewers to enrol a specialist to help develop a dissemination strategy and a process for producing a form of policy briefs. We commissioned Knowledge Bridge for this purpose. Their final report (February 2008) with experimental policy briefs did not convince the ExC, who decided that such 5-page documents addressing all relevant stakeholders risked becoming too banal and lost sight of the aim of making them aware of new approaches and developments to address the problems raised. We considered that the background documents written by ERA Dynamics for the EC Presidency workshops (in 2007 and 2008) or those on universities presented at the OECD and EC meetings of national indicator producers (mostly statistical offices) were far more powerful in helping the new approaches to gain credibility. Why is this the case ? Our interpretation is the following : most of the work we have undertaken addresses long-term issues that are not yet central to the present day policy agenda (it is our aim to anticipate and to have relevant knowledge already available by the time problems become central) or proposes ‘disruptive’ knowledge (knowledge that requires one to discard prevailing ideas for considering the issue addressed, to develop new mindsets for thinking about problems and devising policy solutions). There is therefore, limited chance that these will immediately interest the core of policymakers focused on prevailing frames of analysis and on present-day problems. Our audience is hence first and foremost made up of those policymakers that are concentrating on future policies and on change management. And this requires that we select specific channels and forms of expression for the knowledge to percolate successfully and be taken into account. 

(c) Professional training was for PRIME, a third important channel for helping new ideas and approaches to diffuse. This was clear from Pre-PRIME specialised training courses on evaluation (Twente) or Foresight (Manchester). It has been a policy since the beginning of PRIME to support the participation in these courses of young professionals coming from new Member States. However, we were really disappointed by the low level of interest, which reveals once more the difficulties encountered by our field in these countries. We tested other targeted courses (e.g. an Innogen course for those supporting entrepreneurship in universities). The results led us to consider whether we should focus on new and/or young professionals in the field and offer them a week-long course, reflecting on the major challenges faced and on new ways of addressing them. This is why we developed a wide-ranging course on ‘science, technology and innovation policy’ (the STIP course, see key events). The first course was tested in April 2009 with 15 professionals from Europe, Latin America and Africa. It was very positively evaluated and led the organising University, Manchester, to take it over as a regular component of executive education in our field. And UNESCO has since asked for the development of such a course in Africa for African policy makers (a series is planned starting in 2011).



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