S2E has focused on the provision of assistance to EU Member States (MS) and their Regions with an emphasis on promoting R&I excellence and maximising the specific value added of S3 investments such as capacity building to support R&I activities and the exploitation of research results for raising the overall social/economic impact. The initial phase focused on EU13. Subsequently a need was identified to collate outcomes from the work already done to provide a coherent overview of the most important issues to address.
Work conductedAnalytical work undertaken during the first phases of S2E included:
- National and Regional Facts and Figures combining statistical and financial information coming from the EU's 7th Framework Programme and Structural Funds dedicated to research and innovation with Eurostat data;
- Examples of Synergies –25 examples that showcased various combinations of EU funding sources;
The main sources used to produce the report highlighting the main lessons learnt from S2E were:
- The 2015 S2E Country Reports, produced in collaboration with independent national experts, aimed to provide a good understanding of national characteristics of R&I ecosystems and include further analysis on selected policy issues in relation to efficient use and combination of key EU funding mechanisms;
- The 2015 and 2016 S2E National Events were organised in all EU13 MSs by the European Commission (DG JRC and DG REGIO) and the respective national authorities. Following these events Joint Statements were produced with the national authority outlining the main issues arising in the events and proposing ways forward.
Insights for future policy design and related activities have been drawn around three broad issues:
- Quality of governance: it is a key issue to achieve successful implementation of synergies between different policies and funds, including the establishment of a long-term strategic plan, improvement of the coordination and communication between the main actors, support for collaboration between academia and business, and simplification of administrative procedures;
- Capacity building activities for research excellence of which the policy recommendations include the investment in research infrastructure and its efficient use, improvement in human capital including mobility and the need to address brain drain, and targeted support to increase participation in framework programmes;
- Exploitation of the research results for commercialisation including the need for continuous and sustainable financing, support for public-private collaboration at the international level, and the alignment of RIS3 and research activities such as H2020 and ESIF calls and state aid procedures.
- During the work undertaken by the project it became apparent than many issues were also pertinent for regions in EU15 and so the remit of the project was expanded to cover EU28;
- The issues presented in the phase I report provided a framework for areas in which support should be provided to regions (and where appropriate countries) and for further refinement and analysis of the issues.
Özbolat, N.K. & Harrap, N (2018) : Lessons from the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) project, JRC Technical Report