As the strategic research agendas delivered by the industry-led technology platforms enter the implementation phase within FP7, the challenge is now to align national, regional and international research activities with these research priorities.
The European technology platforms (ETP), in particular the long-term visions and strategic research agendas (SRA) of these large industry-led stakeholder groupings, have provided valuable input to the design of the EU’s seventh research framework programme (FP7), concludes the Commission’s third status report on technology platforms.
“However, this is only the first step towards the implementation of the SRAs and the major challenge now is to align national, regional and international research activities with these research priorities in a coherent and effective manner,” argues the report.
The report also highlights the evolving role of these platforms – from defining a common vision and strategic research priorities on a specific field they have evolved to a “valuable framework for addressing ways to boost Europe’s competitiveness via research and innovation”.
Indeed, the Commission expects the technology platforms to help analyse and identify potential barriers to the take-up of new technologies in a limited number of areas and creation of ‘lead markets’. Lead markets are high-growth potential markets for research and innovation-rich goods and services. They are markets in which EU industry can develop a global competitive advantage provided that it gets support from the public sector as regulator, customer or facilitator. The Commission is set to propose a number of lead markets pilot actions by September 2007.
“ETPs could be key in identifying what needs to be done in relation to public intervention and regulatory actions governing market deployment and development for products, processes and services which are based on emerging technologies and innovations,” argues the report.
Technology platforms are also encouraged to engage in cross-platform exchanges to address horizontal issues and avoid duplication of research activities, as well as to establish international contacts to discuss regulatory, standardisation and safety issues.
In total, 31 technology platforms have been launched since 2003. Their primary objective is to influence industrial and research policy at EU, national and regional levels, as well as to encourage public and private investments in R&D and innovation in key technological areas.