2018 High-Level Workshop Discusses Mission-oriented Research

Mission-oriented research can be a useful addition to the funding portfolio of national and EU research programmes, but it needs careful design to be effective in its implementation. That is a main outcome of the 10th Science Europe High-Level Workshop, hosted on 31 May in Madrid by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Spanish State Secretariat for Research, Development, and Innovation. Heads of Science Europe Member Organisations, representatives of European institutions and national science ministries, and active researchers gathered to discuss mission-oriented research.

Carmen Vela, Spanish State Secretary for Research, Development, and Innovation, said that there should be “no red lines” when thinking about the future EU funding of research, advising everyone to keep an open mind about new ideas, such as the inclusion of mission-oriented research. She sees it as an opportunity to demonstrate that science works for society by addressing very real concerns and problems of European citizens.

“This High-Level Workshop should be considered the beginning of a series of debates that aims to strike a fair and fruitful combination between excellence and impact in science and innovation in Horizon Europe”, said Rosa Menéndez, President of CSIC. Marc Schiltz, President of Science Europe, pointed out the willingness of the association’s members to participate in and contribute to the reflections, but highlighted that science alone cannot guarantee the success of a mission-oriented approach. He said that it will require support beyond the research sector to convert research results into effective action.

Participants discussed the history of previous research driven by specific objectives, and important challenges that the proposed missions could address. They also shared their views on how missions should be implemented, what the requirements are to achieve their success and how they should fit into the overall scientific system.

Next steps

The outcomes of the event will provide advice based on the diverse experience of the Science Europe Member Organisations on how to implement mission-oriented research and how to establish the objectives for these missions. Science Europe will use them in its recommendations to the European Commission when sharing the expertise of its members during the finalisation of Horizon Europe, and to plan any follow-up actions.


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