In the analysis published by FET-Traces, a research project that analyses and measures the impacts of the “Future and Emerging Technologies” (FET), the following key elements have emerged:
- Strong impacts on knowledge production: FET research triggers reverberations in many different disciplines. Researchers involved in FET projects are very active in publishing their results in scientific journals.
- Novelty and attempt to try something that has not been done before: the overwhelming majority of FET projects (83%) deals with research ideas not present in the scientific community before and could therefore be termed “radically new”.
- Impacts on the researchers involved: FET projects have relevant impacts on the researchers involved. 88% of FET researchers said that FET had promoted their scientific career. In addition, FET projects triggered follow-up projects in 86% of cases and resulted in scientific awards in 29% of cases.
- Impacts on the economy: The portfolio analysis revealed that 40% of projects had at least one partner from industry. Industry participated in one third of research papers, while one quarter of FET projects produced at least 1 patent and 12% of FET projects led to the founding of a spin-off company.
- Impacts on society: As FET researchers still define themselves as being part of a technology development community rather than a community solving societal challenges, there is not a high awareness of societal impacts amongst them. Nonetheless, 17% of researchers reported societal impacts of their FET projects.
The report concludes that the FET programme is an important part of the European research funding landscape. The results suggest that FET research “should be strengthened in the future as it has specific and highly relevant impacts in all four impact areas considered”.
FET-Traces considers that, “as the FET programme is seriously underfunded, resulting in very low success rates for applicants, the result is that excellent researchers are being discouraged from applying for FET funding. The European Commission must find a remedy to this situation in order to realise the full range of possible impacts in the future.”
Further information on the analysis carried out by FET-Traces are available here.