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The future of Europe’s international research cooperation

An EU-funded project has outlined a vision of how the future of Europe’s international research cooperation might develop. The Scope 2015 project, commissioned by the DG Research of the European Commission, had the following main objectives:

  • To produce scenarios for the year 2015 focused on contextualised scientific and technological developments in selected regions of emerging economies;
  • To analyse the consequences of the scenarios for Europe and European RTD policy;
  • To provide advice to the European Union in the field of RTD policies in relation to emerging economies.

The project studied trends and drivers of research and research infrastructures in countries in four world regions: Commonwealth of Independent States (excluding Russia), Latin America (excluding Brazil), Maghreb and Mashreq, and sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). It emerged that the four regions shared many of the same problems: under investment in research, brain drain, little private research, research institutes and governance in need of reform.

The project team developed three 10-year scenarios for each region and after discussing them with policy makers and scientists, came up with a set of recommendations for possible action by the European Commission, proposing, among other things:

  • To transfer the European Research Area (ERA) concept to Latin America, where policy makers showed a great deal of interest in it;
  • To expand the ERA to non-EU countries;
  • To direct EU resources towards helping policy makers develop skills for policy design and management;
  • To extend EU information gathering projects (i.e. the trend chart and the ERA-Watch) to other parts of the world.

The final draft of the project’s report should be available in the coming months.

SCOPE 2015 website