It has been an interesting and productive year at EFIS Centre. We are delighted to share with you our 2021 achievements and recently launched projects in each of the four EFIS Centre focus areas: 

Research and Innovation Policies

We have continued the efforts of shaping the future research and innovation (R&I) systems through our research and policy intelligence.   

The first assignments of the new Horizon Europe Policy Support Facility (PSF) have been launched. In 2022, we will continue working on policy recommendations for strategic R&I system reforms in #Moldova and #Greece together with a great team of high-level experts and with the support of our consortium partners Ecorys, PPMI and IDEA Consult. Key areas under these PSF reviews cover our core field of expertise – research infrastructure policy, governance, and monitoring and impact assessment frameworks.  

We kicked-off, with Ecorys and Visionary Analytics, a 30-month long evaluation study on the external coherence and synergies of Horizon 2020 within the European R&I support system for the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for R&I. The study will provide more in-depth evidence on the mechanisms how Horizon 2020 has worked together with other EU, national and regional support initiatives to address its key policy objectives. 

A decade after the last report, an EFIS led team drew up the new Belgian Report on Science, Technology and Innovation (BRISTI) which aims to both inform the R&I policy community in other EU countries and beyond on the actors, instruments and policy priorities of the Belgian authorities, as well as serving as a basis for the preparation of the next Belgian presidency of the EU Council.  The report for the Belgian Science Policy Office, in partnership with the ministries of the other Belgian authorities, will be published in spring 2022. 

EFIS carried out an assessment for Nordic Innovation to frame concepts, track the development and iterations of three thematic programmes – Sustainable Business Transformation; Health, Demography and Quality Life; and Smart Mobility and Connectivity –  under the Nordic Co-operation Program for Innovation and Business 2018-2021. The work included the review of these thematic programmes, their instruments, as well as examples of potential impact and visibility of the programmes. The three Nordic Innovation programmes are very much in line with the trend towards mission orientated innovation policies. 

During 2021, EFIS Centre oversaw a study conducted with experts from SPRU and Dialogic on Research Productivity and Open Science for DG R&I. The study examined the factors that hinder the productivity of research, the prospects for open science practices to improve research productivity, and the ability of R&I systems to transform investments in research into societal outcomes. Five key recommendations were made based on an extensive literature review, a survey of experts and a high-level workshop.  

In Summer 2021 together with the IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, and Ecorys we launched a Scoping study for supporting the development of a Code of Practice for researchers on standardisation. Standards enable dissemination of knowledge, bridge the gap between research and products/services allowing the diffusion of the technology, facilitate the deployment of new technologies, and allow innovations to more easily gain market acceptance and consumer trust. This study contributes to the DG R&I’s efforts in creating the Code of Practice for researchers on standardisation to offer a set of recommendations on how beneficiaries of public R&I programmes can best identify opportunities and techniques to valorise their projects results through standardisation. 

Research Infrastructures

We have intensified our collaboration with and assistance to individual Research Infrastructures (RIs) and continue actively engaging in the shaping of European RI policies.   

We concluded a Horizon 2020 funded project CatRIS, which has developed an open, trusted and user-friendly portal to a harmonised and aggregated catalogue of services and resources provided by Research Infrastructures and Core Facilities.  

EFIS Centre team has also engaged in long-term technical assistance project to ELIXIR – a pan-European research infrastructure for life science data – to increase its capacity in impact evaluation. Building on our learning through joint work with various RIs we developed a new training offer for research facilities that want to better understand impact and learn how to scope and embed impact assessment in their organisational routines. We look forward to being at service to a range of other ESFRI RIs in their internal impact assessment efforts.  

We are also conducting a study for DESY – a world-leading research centre for accelerator research, particle and astroparticle physics as well as photon-science. The project aims to reveal the grand societal challenges and technology trends for the coming 10-15 years in the 5 main domains where DESY’s upgraded facility (PETRA IV) might have a potential contribution in terms of scientific, technical solutions and socio-economic impact.  

Digital Transition

In the field of digital transition EFIS Centre team followed up the policy developments concerning the European Digital Strategy and related initiatives implemented via the EU’s Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes.  

Our work covered different aspects of digitisation, in collaboration with partners from both science and industry. We have successfully closed two multiyear EU-funded projects. First, NGI Trust, a cascade funding project to support the development of a human-centric Internet by developing a stronger European ecosystem of researchers, innovators and technology developers in the field of #privacy and #trust enhancing technologies.  

Second, EOSC-Enhance aimed to develop and improve the functionality of the current manifestation of the EOSC Portal, further augmenting the catalogue of services assembled to date, and connecting independent, thematic data clouds for the benefit of users and service providers across Europe. 

Furthermore, we are currently working on a study about the European Research Data Landscape for DG R&I, providing a detailed characterisation of the research data ecosystem in the European context. The outcomes of the project will be key for developing more targeted policies and support actions to make FAIR and open data practices more mainstream. 

Green Transition

We have also initiated a stream of work in the area of green transition by helping to decodify and conceptualise the complex green transition process.  

We developed, with UNU-MERIT, a set of indicators to measure environmental innovation and sustainability within the 2021 European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS). The EIS is the EU’s main tool for the measurement, monitoring, and benchmarking of innovation performance in Member States, other European and selected global competitors.  

At the end of 2021, we were awarded a contract by the DG R&I to support the development of the 3Ps (Planet, Prosperity and People) dashboards by identifying, rationalising and analysing indicators which will be used to measure the contribution of R&I policies to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).    

Finally, we have contributed to the evaluation of the STEREO III Earth Observation programme for the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) in partnership with Dialogic. An outcome of this evaluation will be a series of recommendation to improve the future edition of the programme, which is funding research in Belgium and at international level, addressing diverse societal and environmental challenges. 

Last, but not least: at home, we also have news!  

During 2021, new bright people joined our top international core team, actively contributing to different projects: Matias Barberis, Susana Elena Perez and Adriana Rantcheva.  

In 2022, we will be looking for fresh minds to expand our capacities so watch this space for recruitment news. 

Stay tuned, as we are renewing our brand with a new corporate identity and a new website.  

We wish you all a great 2022. May the new year bring more collaboration and success!