Conference Agenda

RN24_04b: Science policy & national research systems
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Ana Delicado, Instituto de Ciências Sociais ULisboa
Location: UP.3.214
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


Current and Potential Use of complexity measures for Decision-Making: The Case of Transnational Research Programs in Europe

Antonio Zinilli, Emanuela Reale

National Research Council, Italy

The increasingly widespread availability of data on characteristics and funding related to joint R&D programmes between European countries represents a key element to shed light on the process of Europeanization of research activities. While there is a growing literature on the national funding schemes devoted to transnational research (Reale et al, 2013), there are few contributions in this field using approaches focusing on interactions and relationships between agents, such as social network analysis (SNA) and spatial analysis.

These approaches are likely to provide important insights into communication and knowledge flows, in addition to the effects of proximity and similarity between the units of analysis (Reale et al., 2017). However, the contribution based on the reciprocal interaction in the process of Europeanization of research activities at the level of political decision-making process (policy design and implementation) remains little debated. In fact, most of the studies have been focused at performer level related to research programmes/projects, (Barber et al, 2011; Hoekman et al. 2013; Scherngell and Barber 2009; Zinilli, 2016). By changing the level of analysis from the performer to the policy level, we expect to achieve an understanding of the decision-making network and its evolution over time. The aim of this paper is to discuss the contribution and the benefits of using this different application of methodological approaches to the transnational research programmes.

Mapping the Social Sciences in EU funding schemes

Kristoffer Kropp, Anton Grau Larsen

Roskilde University, Denmark

In the last three decades science policies and science funding has become ever more important in the EU. Hence, more money and political attentions has been devoted to the area. In this paper we analyses the social science project funded through the EU framework programs from the 1990s and onwards. Using data from the CORDIS database and geometric data analysis we seek to shed light on how social science knowledge production has entangled with EU politics through research projects. We construct a social space of social science research project in order to understand the internal differences between projects. More specific we analyses the relations between topics, funding schemes, involved institutions – both academic and others, grant size and researchers in order to further our understanding of the internal principles of differentiation in EU research funding. Hence, the paper aims at understanding the role of Europeanisation processes in relations to the intuitional and cognitive structure (or epistemic culture) of European social science knowledge production.

Patient Knowledge, Complexity, and Health Technology Assessment

Callum Gunn, Barbara Regeer

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) sits at the border of research and policy by first evaluating the potential societal impact of health technologies, then drafting recommendations to facilitate evidence-based policymaking. HTA’s goals of objective and rationalist science have been challenged through the political drive towards the inclusion of patient perspectives within its process. Integrating non-scientific and scientific knowledge in research tends to highlight the complexities of the research object. However, such complexities, and their management within assessments, have not yet formed an analytical focus of evaluative research within HTA. This research thus aimed to explore the manifest complexities in HTA utilising patient knowledge, and how these complexities were managed. Interviews with HTA agency and patient organisation representatives were triangulated with observations of HTA research and documentary analysis from 6 European HTA contexts, with the data then analysed thematically. Patient knowledge introduced a layered presence of complexity into HTA research: The complexities of technology, the social system in which technology is implemented, and the assessment project all arose in HTA projects studied. The methods to manage these complexities were conflicting: some attempted to navigate the complexity through reducing or encoding patient knowledge into formats which were more congruent with normal HTA practice. Meanwhile, other methods relied heavily on social processes such as translation of knowledge, reflexivity, cooperation and trust between scientists and non-scientists. These competing means of managing complexity form an intriguing gap in practice: further work would be useful to analyse the different approaches of European agencies and the influence these may have on the outcomes of assessment projects.

Converting Scientific Knowledge And Technology Into Social And Economic Value: Arguing For Dual-Way Transfer Policies

Helena Santos1, Marta Sistelo2, Fátima São Simão2

1Faculty of Economics, University of Porto, Portugal, Portugal; 2UPTEC (Park of Science and Technology of the University of Porto), Porto, Portugal

The various socio-cultural and economic changes brought by globalization and the development of information and communication technologies, as well as the transition from industrial to 'knowledge based-society', are challenging the relationships between the production of knowledge and society. Public policies, especially in Europe, are explicitly committed to boosting the "3rd mission" of the universities, i.e., their role in national and regional development through the conversion of scientific and technological knowledge into social and economic value. Universities' Science and Technological Parks (STPs) have been, and still are, a core part of these policies, with the aim of promoting the emergence and sustainability of a new business culture (new ideas, business innovation, entrepreneurship). In this sense, the fostering of the 3rd missions of universities has been oriented mainly by one-way direction, meaning predominantly market-driven policies that intend to (more or less directly) transform knowledge into 'market value'.

Our research has been questioning these mainstream policies and practices, by inquiring about the need of a dual relationship between universities and societies, in a broader and in-depth sense. We will present the results of a case study (the STP of the University of Porto, Portugal) where this dual-way is being implemented through several strategies and practices. Some of these cover the presence of a dynamic Creative Industries' centre inside the STP, its synergies towards technology and science, and some experiences in bringing non-technological knowledge inside the STP, as well as different ways of ‘delivering’ science and technological knowledge to society.