Governing European Science: Evaluation, Forecasting and Science Policy in the European Union
Dr Andrew Barry
The idea of the network has become a key item in both the rhetoric and practice of European policy in general, and European science policy in particular. The study traces the intellectual and political conditions within which the network metaphor has become so pervasive.
The study has revealed important differences and conflicts concerning the meaning and instruments of "networking" in European science and technology policy. The study examines, in particular, the different ways in which the term "network" is employed in the Commission's White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and the preparatory work from which this White Paper was, in part, derived.
Given the significance of networks to European science policy, approaches to the analysis and evaluation of networks remain underdeveloped.
In the European Commission and the European Parliament, science policy research is fragmented between a number of different approaches and programmes. Some of these do have a close relation to policy, but have a weak relation to contemporary intellectual debates. Others function less as policy researchers than as "militant" or "academic" outsiders.
Links between the various Commission services concerned with science policy are weak. There appears to be poor coordination, for example, between science policy and regulatory policy.
The Commission's approach to programme evaluation has improved in recent years but there are still considerable problems. For example, there is still too much emphasis on peer review in the evaluation process.
Particular individuals and agencies who are able to draw together expertise in science policy, economics or sociology with a knowledge of the policy process have a key role in translating the results of research into policy recommendations in the European Commission.
The UK has a strong reputation for good science policy research and research evaluation amongst academics and professionals. However, this "intellectual" reputation is not reflected in the political profile of UK researchers in the Commission.
Implications for policy and practice
A. Barry "The European Community and European government: Harmonisation, mobility and space" Economy and Society 22(3), pp. 314-326, 1993
A. Barry "Harmonisation and the art of European government" in J Davis and C Rootes (eds) The New Europe? Social and Political Transformation, London: UCL Press, 1994
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