Thursday September 24th, 2020 ARCO LAB

R&I policy for sustainable development, a road map for policymakers

ricerca innovazione R&I independent expert report

Research and Innovation policy plays a pivotal role for the pursuit of and the transition towards sustainable development in economic, social and environmental terms.Within the global debate on sustainable development, a new framing on R&I for transformative change has been gaining momentum. To understand to what extent and how R&I policy in the post- COVID scenario can represent a leverage for transformative change, the European Commission’s DG for Research and Innovation commissioned ARCO an Independent Expert Report. In “Framing R&I for transformative change towards sustainable development in the European Union”, Mario Biggeri and Andrea Ferrannini provide theoretical arguments and policy recommendations to design a roadmap for a new approach on R&I policies at European level.

In the past few months, the global Covid19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities of our societies and a growing number of institutions across the globe have been questioning the capacity of economic, social and political systems to meet people’s needs. Within an inevitable revamping attention on the need for public action and government intervention, the importance of Research and Innovation policies able to simultaneously deal with economic competitiveness as well as with public health, social inclusion and environmental protection is undeniable.

Overarching vision and narrative for R&I policies

Reconciling the objectives of economic, social and environmental sustainability requires a new integrated vision and narrative underlying R&I policies in the European Union. Indeed, it is nowadays clear that the quality and direction of growth, productivity and R&I matter, especially to tackle the structural vulnerabilities of our societies made evident by the pandemic.

Depending on the capacity to make economic growth, social inclusiveness and planetary boundaries compatible, they may lead to an increased ability to expand human capabilities, respond to collective needs and tackle societal challenges, or, vice versa, to the exacerbation of exclusionary and environmentally-detrimental trends.

r&I research and innovation independent expert report sustaianbility sostenibilità ricerca e innovazione Commissione Europea

Roadmap for sustainable development

In order to contribute in transforming the European Union into a more fair and prosperous society and to help leading its economy towards a more sustainable and inclusive path, the reports outlines a possible roadmap for a new approach to R&I policy.

The road map is composed by a set of policy recommendation conceived as preliminary suggestions for policy makers at European national and supranational level (starting from the European Commission DG Research and Innovation itself) to adapt their goals, targets
and tools and enhance R&I contribution to sustainable development.

ARCO Researchers articulated the map in 7 different elements: 1) R&I mission, 2) societal challenges and R&I fields, 3) vectors of action, 4) principles, 5)enabling conditions, 6) risks and 7) metrics, which are represented in the Figure and discussed in the full publication available below.

Framing Research and Innovation policies for transformative change towards sustainable development offers the opportunity to reconcile productivity enhancement and value-generation with inclusiveness, public health and environmental protection, in order to pursue shared prosperity and human flourishing for all.

This careful work contributed to the elaboration of “A new ERA for Research and Innovation”, the official communication of the European Commission to the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. To find out more, the communication is available here.

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