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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

How European Innovation Policies Introduces Roadmap Exercises into Big Science: Switzerland – The Case of The Non-EU Country

Decision Making
Policy Implementation
Isabel Bolliger
Université de Lausanne
Isabel Bolliger
Université de Lausanne

In 2002 the European Council established the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) with the mandate to support a coherent and strategic approach to policy making on Research Infrastructures (RI) in Europe. In the following ESFRI composed an inventory of RI of pan-European relevance and published the first “ESFRI Roadmap for Research Infrastructures” in 2006. New iterations of the roadmap have been published in 2008, 2010 and 2016 and the 2018 edition is currently under preparation. ESFRI resulted from the evolved European public policies for science, technology and innovation (STI), which started to increasingly focus on collaboration and a more systemic approach to knowledge production during the 90is. The European Research Area (ERA) initiative, launched in 2000 and the biggest EU project in the field of STI, is a symbol of this new logic of scientific collaboration in Europe. Among the priorities, initially listed in ERA, was the stock-tacking of “material resources and facilities optimized at the European level” (EC 2000), which meant the formulation of a coherent European approach for RI. Article 2 (6) of the regulation of the Horizon2020 framework program defines RI as “facilities, resources and services that are used by the research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their fields” (EC 2013).

The specific roadmap category for RI gained popularity internationally, and meanwhile such strategic prioritization exercises for RI are taking place or being developed in most European countries. These processes take place within a framework of strategic and political objectives, and the institutional structure of a country’s public policy system, including not least budgetary regulations. A national decision-making on prioritization and funding of RI is very complex, considering the multiple levels and actors of an innovation system, which are influencing this process. The growing demand for more complex and expensive RI as well as for closer scrutiny of research funding is furthermore challenging policy- and decision-makers.

The analysis of the introduction of such a RI roadmap process in a country shows how the European policies, with its concepts and terminology, influenced the decision-making processes for prioritization and funding of RI and the roles and responsibilities of the relevant actors. Switzerland is thereby a particularly interesting case, since the country is not a member of the EU but nonetheless rich enough to fund large-scale RI of its own.
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