In shaping this framework programme, the Commission will consider a series of inputs, including a report by Mariana Mazzucato entitled “Mission-Oriented research and Innovation in the European Union”, that was presented to Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, on 22 February.
The report argues that missions are a powerful tool to steer economic growth, and the European policy agenda. They can provide the means to focus research, innovation and investments on solving critical problems, while also spurring growth, jobs and resulting in positive spillovers across many sectors.
Mariana Mazzucato recommends five key criteria for the selection of missions at EU level:
- Bold and inspirational, with wide societal relevance – Missions should make clear that through ambitious, bold action at the European level, solutions will be developed that will have an impact on people’s daily lives.
- Targeted, measurable and time-bound - Missions need to be very clearly framed. While enabling long-term investments, they need a specific target. In addition, they will need a clear timeframe within which actions should take place. This needs to be long enough to allow the process to grow, for actors to build relationships and interact, while at the same time being time-limited.
- Ambitious, but with realistic research & innovation actions - Mission objectives should be set in an ambitious manner (taking risks), centred on research and innovation activities across the entire innovation chain, including the feedback effects between basic and applied research.
- Cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-actor innovation - Missions should be framed in such a way as to spark activity across, and among, multiple scientific disciplines (including social sciences and humanities), across different industrial sectors (e.g. transport, nutrition, health, services), and different types of actors (public, private, third sector, civil society organisations).
- Multiple, bottom-up solutions - Missions should not be achievable by a single development path, or by a single technology. They must be open to being addressed by different types of solutions.
Interestingly, the report mentions that the experience from the current FET flagships should prove valuable for designing and implementing future missions, and applying the selection criteria, implementation requirements and public engagement criterion proposed could increase the impact and visibility of FET flagships as future missions.
The Commission is calling on the public and research and innovation stakeholders for feedback on the report, including suggestions for possible EU research and innovation missions.
Should you be interested in submitting comments, the call for feedback can be found here and the report here.