Past Event

What can Europe learn from US science policy?

There were high expectations for the effect of the COMPETES Acts on the US research and innovation landscape. But were these expectations met and what can Europea learn from the US experience?

Date: April 7, 2016, 12:30 pm Topic: Digital economy and innovation

SUMMARY

See below for video recording and materials.

The event offered an overview of science policy from US and EU perspectives.

Historically, the US has been seen as a model for Europe, not only for its scientific achievements but also for its funding mechanisms. Greater resources are allocated to research, which seems to produce benefits for society and profitable opportunities for the private sector. Recent numbers show how levels of public spending in innovation and research remain consistently higher in the US than in Europe.

The much-praised America COMPETES Acts aimed to significantly increase federal investment in research and innovation. But is has failed to meet initial expectations. It emerges that a good proportion of the funding did not materialise and several projects therefore remained unrealised.

One should be careful when comparing EU and US science policy as they are very different in nature. A good proportion of US spending in research, for example, is destined to the defense sector. This could never happen in EU because of difficulties in political coordination and historical reasons related to the Second World War. Moreover, philanthropy plays a fundamental role in the US, giving funding opportunities to new sectors. In Europe this source is almost negligible.

Most importantly, the biggest difference is in the nature of the decision making process through which funds are allocated. In the EU this is more complex and fragmented. It entails interaction between national and central levels of governments, likely to have divergent interests and timescales. The latter issue constitutes a hurdle also in terms of future budget planning.

The discussion moved on to the evaluation of the impact of science policy. This is important and seems to be missing in the EU context, although it is beginning to emerge. Evidence based policy would provide a good incentive for governments and politicians to place research and innovation in their agenda, as well as helping them to understand why this should be coordinated at the central EU level. However, the long timeframes of research impact, and the high-risk nature of both basic science and product development make meaningful short-term impact assessment difficult. It is interesting to remark that this rigorous approach to impact evaluation is also weak in the US context, which might explain some of the above-mentioned failures in the implementation of the COMPETES Acts.

Finally, from a private sector perspective, partnerships and collaborations between private and public sector are vital. They seem to be the best way to finance basic knowledge research, which can incrementally lead to inventions. One of the main challenges faced by the private sector is the difficult relationship with regulators due to a divergence in interests: while authorities and public institutions are supposed to protect society’s wellbeing, the industry is interested in obtaining commercially profitable gains from inventions.

Overall, a global approach towards research and innovation funding decisions is needed: on one hand, for the important spillovers that research can produce in a globalised context and, on the other hand, for the enormous benefits that can derive from sharing individual countries’ findings and data.

Event summary by Elena Vaccarino, Research Assistant

VIDEO RECORDING

Event Materials

Presentation | Jeff Furman

The European Union’s growing innovation divide | Reinhilde Veugelers

Schedule

Apr 7, 2016

12:00-12:30

Lunch and registration

12:30-13:00

Presentation

Jeff Furman, Associate Professor of Strategy & Innovation at Boston University and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

13:00-13:30

Panel discussion

Chair: Reinhilde Veugelers, Senior Fellow

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President, European Research Council

Tommy Dolan, Vice President, PharmaTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pfizer

Kurt Vandenberghe, Director, Policy Development and Coordination , European Commission, DG RTD

13:30-14:00

Audience Q&A

14:00

End

Speakers

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon

President, European Research Council

Tommy Dolan

Vice President, PharmaTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pfizer

Jeff Furman

Associate Professor of Strategy & Innovation at Boston University and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kurt Vandenberghe

Director, Policy Development and Coordination , European Commission, DG RTD

Reinhilde Veugelers

Senior Fellow

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Matilda Sevon

[email protected]

Read article More on this topic
 

External Publication

How green are electric vehicles?

A policy paper dissecting existing life cycle assessments of electric vehicles and identifying potential future trends in the different stages of the vehicle life cycle, especially for batteries.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Victor Vorsatz Topic: Green economy Date: October 26, 2021
Read about event
 

Upcoming Event

Nov
2
14:00

Microchips and Europe's strategic autonomy

Per microchips ad strategic autonomy.

Speakers: Piotr Arak, Alicia García-Herrero, Jay Lewis, Stefan Mengel and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Digital economy and innovation, European governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article
 

Blog Post

Inclusive growth

Concentration of artificial intelligence and other frontier IT skills

Online job postings indicate that demand from top tech firms for frontier IT skills is about double their demand for other IT skills. This could indicate increasing concentration of skills in a few firms, with other firms left behind.

By: Wang Jin, Georgios Petropoulos and Sebastian Steffen Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: October 21, 2021
Read about event
 

Past Event

Past Event

Monetary policy in the time of climate change

How does climate change influence monetary policy in the eurozone? What potential monetary policy measures should be taken up to address climate risks?

Speakers: Cornelia Holthausen, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 20, 2021
Read about event
 

Past Event

Past Event

A hybrid future of work

Addressing employers’ and employees’ challenges.

Speakers: Julie Brophy, Joost Korte, Laura Nurski, Renske Paans and Alex A. Saliba Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: October 19, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

What is the link between biodiversity loss and financial instability?

Biodiversity loss impacts financial stability. How big is the risk of biodiversity loss for financial institutions?

Speakers: Sylvie Goulard, Romain Svartzman, Guntram B. Wolff and Michael Wilkins Topic: Banking and capital markets Date: October 5, 2021
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

Policy Contribution

Inclusive growth

Do robots dream of paying taxes?

The digital transition should be managed – and taxed – alongside other societal transitions, but any tax on companies that replace employees with automated systems should be targeted and carefully designed to not stifle innovation.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: October 5, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Can climate change be tackled without ditching economic growth?

The ultimate answer to the question on whether climate change can be tackled without ditching economic growth depends on our willingness to step up climate action massively.

By: Klaas Lenaerts, Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Green economy Date: September 27, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

How to strike the right balance between the three pillars of the pension system?

In this event panelists will discuss the future of European pension schemes.

Speakers: Elsa Fornero, Svend E. Hougaard Jensen and Suvi-Anne Siimes Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: September 23, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Europe doesn’t need a ‘Mega-Fab’

Europe should defend its existing dominance in equipment manufacturing for semiconductors and invest in chip design instead of luring high-end fabrication to its shores.

By: Niclas Poitiers Topic: Global economy and trade Date: September 22, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

External Publication

Platform mergers and antitrust

Should internet era merger policy differ from industrial era merger policy? This paper was published in Industrial and Corporate Change by Oxford University Press.

By: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos and Marshall Van Alstyne Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: September 16, 2021
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

Working Paper

Can climate change be tackled without ditching economic growth?

The notion of degrowth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appears unrealistic; decoupling of emissions from growth is in principle possible but requires unprecedented efforts.

By: Klaas Lenaerts, Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Green economy Date: September 16, 2021
Load more posts