The Council has today approved conclusions on the impact of research and innovation (R&I) in policymaking. These conclusions imply three mutually complementary dimensions: first, regarding the contribution of science to reinforce policymaking, including its impact to improve the lives of citizens and strengthen democracy; second, on the topic of regional and local innovation ecosystems, with focus on enhancing cooperation and territorial cohesion through R&I, and, third, on the policy impact of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) on the design of R&I policies in the European Research Area (ERA), focusing on Europe’s key objectives, including gender equality.
Science and policy, hand in hand
The analysis of these three dimensions shows that R&I, through an appropriate design, improve policymaking by including scientific evidence and knowledge in the regulatory process and by enhancing the coherence of policy initiatives in different areas. They also improve the response of the Member States and the Union to the challenges they face – both structural (i.e. included in the European Semester Recommendations) and cyclical or circumstantial (such as the response to the economic or the COVID crisis for which the RRF has been essential). All these R&I dimensions create synergies that have a significant social and economic impact, leaving no one behind.
Research and innovation in regional ecosystems
The conclusions highlight the importance of the regional R&I ecosystems. The policies to support ecosystems should be designed to create synergies between cohesion policy and R&I funds. In these ecosystems – particularly in the less innovative ones – the regional dimension should be strengthened with regional centres of excellence, and facilitated through cross-border cooperation (especially between less and more innovative Member States and regions) in order to increase economic, social and territorial cohesion and reinforce R&I efficiency.
The impact of the Recovery and Resilience Facility
Finally, the conclusions refer to the policy impact of the RRF on Europe’s key objectives and the ERA after the COVID-19 crisis. The RRF mechanism has enabled actions at national level with targeted investments and reforms maturing and strengthening sectoral and R&I policies in a joint manner, including the additionality of the Facility with other EU funds.
The council conclusions were proposed by the Spanish Presidency at the initiative of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. They are one of the priorities of the presidency in the area of research and innovation.