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FET Open: Boosting the exploratory power of open research in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)

This study deals with the future of Open Collaborative Research in Europe. „Open collaborative“ research is defined as research that is risky, potentially transformative, foundational, bottom-up, interdisciplinary, technology driven, and collaborative. The main findings of the study are as follows:

  • Societal and economic challenges require new models of research.
  • The internal dynamics of science requires a fast and collaborative approach to research.
  • Existing thematic (top-down) programmes are too slow and too narrow to respond to these societal, economic and scientific challenges. Thus, the Open Collaborative Reserach model will become more prominent in the future.
  • Fostering the Open Collaborative mode of doing reserach in Europe requires a firm decision for a centralised approach. Embedding many small Open Collaborative Research programmes into existing programme lines will not generate the required effects.
 
What is Open Collaborative Research?What it is not:
it focuses on new ideas which are foundational and which may have a transformative character,it is not mainstream research,
it is risky (possibility to fail),it is not about small changes of existing models or approaches,
it is bottom-up (defined by researchers),it does not follow a policy agenda, a work programme or pre-defined research topics,
it has a fast and slim selection process,it does not rely on track record alone,
it is collaborative (involves several researchers),it is not descipline-oriented research,
it is interdisciplinary,it is not pure basic science.
it is purpose-driven, which means that it aims at technology development.

FET Open today

The FET Open programme of the European Commission is positioned as ‚the incubator for radically new research ideas and future research and innovation potential‘ (http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/fet-open/home_en.html). FET Open aims to stimulate and capture new opportunities and developments in science and technology as they emerge.

FET Open:

  • Is open to any new ideas, it is bottom-up with no predefined themes
  • Is open at any time: a continuously open call
  • Is open to anyone: anonymous evaluation of first step proposals
  • Has a light and fast selection process: a two-step process starting with a short proposal

Vision: The future of Open Collaborative Research in Europe

  • The funding agency, the researchers and the wider world form a virtuous symbiotic relationship
  • The administrative processes capture the spirit of opportunity and keep new ideas flowing and capture the value from these ideas
  • Open Collaborative Research will be stronger and more significant than today
  • The European agency, institution or unit for funding Open Collaborative Research is well-known as a generator for ideas and innovations in Europe and even worldwide
  • The future funding of Open Collaborative Research not only covers ICT and neighbouring fields, but is open to all of science and technology
  • Open Collaborative Research has become a major pillar within the European research funding landscape and successfully complements the other pillars

Status

Completed project (01/2011 – 2012)

Commissioned by

European Commission, DG Information Society and Media

Partner

  • AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology), Vienna
  • TNO, Delft