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Open Science, Open Innovation and Open to the World

In summer 2015 EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas responsible for "Research, Science and Innovation" presented the strategic priorities of his political agenda: "Open science, Open innovation, Open to the world".

Open Science

"Open Science" refers to the possibilities and implications of digital/ web-based technologies in research with the aim of transforming the entire research process to make it more open, replicable and re-usable. This development offers new possibilities for the production and application of scientific knowledge in the research sector itself as well as in business and society as research results become reproducible and accessible for innovation processes. "Open Science" refers to a broad sphere of activities including open access to publications and the re-use of research data. Additionally, further development of scientific evaluation systems, support of professional expertise in dealing with research data and involvement of society in the research process (Citizen Science) are part of these activities.

  • Open Access: An open science system particularly relies on open access to scientific knowledge (scientific publications) and research data. The European Commission supports this by making open access publication mandatory in projects funded by Horizon 2020 and by adopting the general approach to make research data generated in Horizon 2020-projects and relevant for publications available for further use (with the possibility to opt out).
  • European Open Science Cloud: One major "Open Science"-project of the European Commission is about establishing a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) as an important basis to effectively exploit the possibilities of digitalisation in the research area. Primarily, this refers to the integration of (existing) European research data infrastructures with the aim to support exchange and (remote) analysis of research data in so called virtual research environments. The EOSC is part of the EU Commission’s European Cloud Initiative which also focuses on the expansion of high-performance computer facilities and corresponding data networks and storage systems.
  • Open Science Policy Platform: To coordinate the "Open Science"-activities with the involved actors form science and society in May 2016 the EU Commission established an Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) with members from different interest groups (e. g. scientific organisations, universities, libraries, publishers).

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Open Innovation

"Open Innovation" refers to a specific, strategic opening of innovation processes: knowledge producers, funding bodies and (potential) users work together crossing boundaries of organisations, sectors or disciplines to develop new products and services. Starting point for commissioner Moedas’ open innovation strategy is the finding that there is a gap between the European high quality research with excellent results and – compared internationally – the low European innovation level (e. g. in the field of market creating innovation). A regulatory environment that hinders innovation processes and difficult access to venture capital are some of the reasons mentioned.

  • European Innovation Council (EIC): An important project of commissioner Moedas to support these market creating innovations in Europe is the planned implementation of a European Innovation Council (EIC). The EIC shall support innovative projects/businesses (e. g. through the concentration of existing EU funding programmes) and offer advice (e. g. referring to the improvement of the regulatory framework in regard to innovation). To establish the EIC a number of pilot actions are being prepared under the last Work Programme of Horizon 2020 (2018-2020) (e. g. bottom-up calls under the SME instrument and the establishment of a High Level Group dealing with the structure of the EIC).
  • "Fund of Funds": To establish better access to venture capital for innovative companies (in particular startups) in Europe the EU Commission together with the European Investment Fund (EIF) presented a so called Funds-of-Funds-programme for (private) institutional investors. The programme shall enable them to invest in these (EIF-backed) funds of funds that invest venture capital in innovative businesses. The Fund of Funds will be co-funded by the EU Commission and the EIF.

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Open to the World

Dealing with complex (scientific) challenges often requires international cooperation that cannot be constraint to specific geographical research areas. Therefore, the European Research Area (as a frame of reference to the European science policy) includes a non- European dimension. In that sense "Open to the World" refers to creating opportunities for research cooperation between Europe and other research areas worldwide. On EU level association agreements with third countries are negotiated to this end.

Furthermore, co-financing programmes of third countries give researchers from these countries the opportunity to participate in Horizon 2020. At the same time "Open to the World" includes activities of the European Commission in the area of science diplomacy e. g. through the involvement in non-European activities like "Synchroton-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East" (SESAME) in Jordan or the establishment of a shared research partnership in the Mediterranean (PRIMA).