FTA supporting effective priority setting in multi-lateral research programme cooperation: the case of EU-Russia S&T cooperation
This paper addresses the issue of priority setting for research programming in a multi-layered and multilateral context, taking into account the interests of diverse stakeholder groups. It proposes a framework for reducing complexity in a context where societal challenges are multifaceted and largely interconnected, decisions on research programming are highly fragmented and stakeholders are extremely diverse. The framework includes methodological recommendations for thematic priority setting through the application of Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA). Also the importance of achieving clear policy impacts (see Johnston and Cagnin, 2011) is addressed by including principles for optimising this impact. We use the case of an ERA-NET project supported under the EU’s FP7 programme, the ERA.Net RUS, which aims at coordinating R&D and innovation policies and support programmes between EU Member States, countries associated to the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and Russia. A combination of foresight methodologies such as expert workshops, a Delphi survey, roadmapping elements, and prioritisation techniques were applied to select relevant topics for a research call. The paper highlights how foresight embedded in a multilateral programme cooperation project can support priority setting and how the foresight design can be adapted according to a set of coordination dimensions and design principles. Furthermore lessons will be drawn in order to achieve direct impacts, not only on the programming of calls for research projects addressing grand societal challenges (e.g. climate change, major diseases, demography and migration, etc.) between a wide range of countries and regions belonging to different parts of the world, but also on the EU level policy agenda and on the long-term strategic collaboration between world regions. Strategies for communicating foresight results to relevant policy makers at EU and national levels (e.g. in Russia) and for achieving impact herewith are also outlined.