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Prof Luc Soete, Director UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, Member DG Research Expert Group sees a new trend and challenge to technology and innovation policy: from the political obsession with technological competitiveness to a new global view in which access, diffusion and effective use become the central elements. He, thus, sees as strong rationale for European versus national research policies.
But he also said that “if issues of effective governance at EU level are not addressed as an issue of absolute priority, the crisis shock might actually go the other way: questioning increasingly the valued added of Community research and leading to a future ERA that is based much more on MS’ national efforts at attracting research talent within their own borders.”
Mr. Soete presented this view at a Committee of the Regions conference on 28 October 2009 in Brussels. The title of the conference was “An integrated strategy Europe 2020 and the post-lisbon strategy”. He is currently working on the conclusions of recommendations for Post-Lisbon to be delivered to the European Commission next week.
On this he draws on the conclusions from a foresight initiative of DG RTD “The World in 2025”, which he also presented in his slides. He said, among others, that we need to go from a socialisation of debt to a socialisation of knowledge with a new Barcelona target of 1 (R&D) + 2 (education) percent, who’s implementation will be under the full control of government and will be independent of research contributions by the private sector. Concerning the notion of “grand challenges”, which “applies to major social problems that cannot be solved in a reasonable time and/or with acceptable social conditions, without a strong coordinated input requiring both technological and non-technological innovation, and at times, advances in scientific understanding” he supports what has been emphasized by the Lund Declaration said that governments should become more involved and shift the policy focus from the rate of technical change to the direction of technical change.