Posts Tagged ‘internationalization’

EFP Brief No. 205: Technology Roadmap High Performace Metals 2020

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

To establish a basis for informed decision-making, the BMVIT, the Austrian ministry for traffic, infrastructure and industry commissioned the creation of a technology roadmap for high performance metals. The project was carried out by the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials, ASMET, and its two project partners, the University of Leoben and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT former ARCS Seibersdorf). More than 100 experts from 80 institutions, mainly from industry, participated in preparing the technology roadmap. The breadth of contributors facilitated looking at and analysing trends and technology development from many viewpoints. The outcome is a representative picture of relevant trends and technological developments to be expected in the future in high performance metals.

Inter-institutional Technology Roadmap Approach for High Performance Metals

Austria, with its companies and research foci, puts an emphasis on materials and materials technology. Among the materials, high performance metals play a crucial role for the Austrian economy and its future development. In terms of technology policy, the questions to be answered by the development scenarios and the measures to be taken represent a generic challenge for a national technology strategy.

For Austrian businesses and research institutions, the very turbulent economic developments of the last years clearly show that focusing on technological and systematic development of these strengths can be seen as an essential contribution to economic survival. Operating in a field of tension between suppliers, competitors and customers, they must be well prepared for future technological scenarios.

We can assume today that new technologies have to be developed by 2020. For the study of high performance metals, a variety of development challenges will appear in advance of these future technological developments. In order to seize these industrial developments as an opportunity for innovation, materials development has to start significantly earlier in time. All new high-performance metals require an at least ten-year period for development before an innovation finds its way into practical applications. Even for incremental improvements of high performance metals, we must expect a development period of three to five years. It is therefore very important that industry and technology policy together work out development strategies beforehand.

To lay the groundwork for informed decision-making, a cross-technology roadmap for high performance metals processing has been developed, supported by BMVIT funding. The project was carried out by the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials, ASMET and their project partners University of Leoben and ARCS Seibersdorf. More than 100 experts from 80 institutions were actively involved in creating the technology roadmap. The breadth of contributors made it possible to look at and analyse trends and technology developments from many different angles, giving a picture of the relevant developments in the future of high performance metals from the participants’ perspective.

The Roadmapping Process: Expert Opinions and Scenario Workshops

Methodically, the roadmapping process consisted of two major phases. A first phase was concerned with determining whether action is needed for creating a national inter-institutional technology roadmap for high performance metals in general. The key issues to be addressed in the roadmap were also defined. During this exploratory phase, more than 30 Austrian experts and managers were interviewed. It clearly showed that there is massive demand for an inter-institutional roadmap.

In order to place the need for action identified in the exploratory phase in a comprehensive overall context, the second phase of the technology roadmap considered industry-oriented technological developments and developed actions and necessary measures for advancing high performance metals. The leading industries investigated ranged from power engineering to the mobility industry, with the sub-sectors aerospace, automotive and railway, and from the metallurgical sector to mechanical engineering. In addition to the sector specific perspective, technological trends in the crosscutting field of environment and resource management were addressed. In a detailed analysis beforehand, existing technology roadmaps in similar areas were examined, especially from English-speaking countries. The analysis determined what the lasting changes in the respective industry were and what had led to these changes.

Participation and Workshops

In a series of workshops, we identified the relevant developments and measures that have to be taken. The workshops were attended by representatives from industry and research in the field of high performance metals and representatives of companies downstream in the supply chains of a particular industry.

A total of eight workshops were conducted, involving between 10 and 20 participants each. Each workshop was structured such that relevant trends were verified in the beginning and discussed in a first phase. Subsequently, the changes expected in the market by 2020 were identified.

In order to highlight the relevant developments, the selected challenges were prioritized. In a next step, the developments expected in the field of high performance metals and their production and processing technologies were worked out. The workshops concluded by prioritizing these developments.

The last part of each workshop was devoted to developing individual measures suited to meet the challenges. Written reports of the individual workshops were compiled to inform the participants about the results.

Subsequently, the results of all the workshops were condensed into a single report. This condensed report was then sent to all participants in the roadmap process for further comments. At the same time, the report served to clarify whether or not further experts needed to be consulted to answer additional questions or further expert meetings were required to address identified knowledge gaps.

Aggressive Research Needed for Austria to Maintain Position

All industries showed the same crossover scenarios. The problem of future energy availability is turning into a major driver of development. Global scenarios predicting social and economic growth outside of Europe dominate the critical paths of development for the business location Austria in the field of high performance metals. An essential result of the roadmap is that we can expect growth only in sectors where aggressive research efforts are combined and focused on technology for innovative processes and products. However, this will only happen in favourable niches or at least in areas where it is possible to defend the current position in the field of high performance metals. Basically, the proposed measures recommended in the technology roadmap can only succeed if Austria remains committed to being a production site for high performance metals. Regardless of the sector considered, the technology roadmap shows that a positive image for high performance metals and related production technologies must be built in order to attract appropriate human resources, to train junior staff and to increase the pool of knowledge workers significantly.

Mobility

Progress in the whole area of mobility is linked most intensively and significantly with innovations in the field of high performance metals. The technology roadmap focused on the automotive industry, aviation and railways. All three sectors are generally expected to grow by 2020 although the current economic crisis will reduce the growth rate. The pressure to innovate by creating new products and processes is growing, driven by international competition based on established research resources.

Dominant development issues in the field of mobility are lightweight, energy conservation and new drive concepts. The need for lightweight construction leads towards a unique competition of materials by substitution in the field of high performance metals. Considering the high performance metals only, those will be favoured that have low densities or perform with extremely high strength and stiffness properties. Life cycle assessment and the possibilities of recycling high performance metals after the use phase will gain much more importance than today in the selection of materials.

High performance metals, required to achieve new economic goals and technological solutions, are still in the basic research stage. Within the period considered in the technology roadmap, high performance metals have to be developed and optimised across all process steps in the value chains. Areas of development mentioned are metallurgy, metal forming, casting techniques, joining and surface technology. Solutions for technological problems will be increasingly coupled with a focus on cost-efficient production technologies. Today’s technologies are often limited by an increasing lack of technological development potential. The development of new breakthrough technologies would be required to implement innovations in the field of high performance metals.

The measures proposed aim at reaching a stronger interdisciplinary integration of research and technical areas and pursuing important systemic research issues in supercritical and visible international research units based on a sustainable and topic-oriented research funding landscape.

Power Engineering

The energy industry is characterized by strong growth in demand combined with inadequate availability and uneven global distribution of energy resources. Development scenarios show both an investment boom in the area of high performance power plants as well in the area of more local, autonomous power supply units. Performance and efficiency gains in thermal power plants are only possible with an increase in operating temperatures, pressures and in the dimensions of the major components and assemblies. Today’s materials solutions based on high performance metals do encounter limits in terms of fatigue, creep and corrosion resistance and can only be extended further by intensive materials science advancements. Innovation challenges are the development of customized materials solutions combined with a reliable and reproducible production technology. The increasing size of critical parts such as valves, turbine rotors or casings set technological limits to currently used technologies, such as casting or forming.

In the field of renewable energies, which will likely allow an autonomous energy supply, Austria’s development potential and thus the need for developing high performance metals was not rated very highly by the participating experts and companies. An issue that will gain even more importance in the future is energy transport and energy storage. The participants assessed them to be very user- and market-oriented already now.

Measures to promote high performance metals in the field of energy technology require a concentrated effort at developing knowledge about already known materials, including the development and optimisation of manufacturing technologies, such as casting, forming and joining technologies, and the structural design and testing of large components. This development must be aligned internationally and performed within major international networks to develop efficient and economically viable solutions. This also requires aligning research funding and grants accordingly. The subject of energy technology and high performance metals must in general be given more room and attention and must receive more sustainable funding in the Austrian research promotion and funding landscape because of its national strategic importance.

Metallurgical Engineering

The trends of development in metallurgical engineering again reflect the developmental needs and the developmental orientations of other industries. Thus, metallurgical mechanical engineering is faced with increasingly larger magnitudes of processed materials, growing demands on strength and difficulties in processing high performance metals. Due to the required heavy investment in development units, it is not expected that a breakthrough technology can be realized within the time frame of the roadmap. Improvements will rather have an incremental character; development potentials for high performance metals are identified where an increase in process efficiency and effectiveness can be realised or the lifetime of production facilities can be increased at higher levels of utilisation. Measures recommended are again intensified networking of metallurgy research with the metallurgical and downstream industries, as well as the increased use of modelling and simulation based on a sophisticated database. This will lead to better process control and knowledge-based further development of technological standards.

Environment and Resources

Environment and resource protection in the production of high performance metals is clearly a very important crosscutting issue, which no group of high performance metals can escape. The rising global demand for raw material resources raises questions concerning the availability and accessibility of raw materials by 2020. As demonstrated in the days before the economic crisis, volatile commodity prices are a serious problem, which cannot be solved by technological measures alone. From a technological perspective, the use of recycled materials in the production of high performance metals constitutes a major factor in relaxing this problem. The use of secondary metals to produce high performance steels has been successfully practiced for a long time already. However, in the field of high performance non-ferrous metals, there is still a lot of potential but also a correspondingly great need for research both in materials as well as in technology development.

Strong Stakeholder Interest in a Common Strategy

The revised report was submitted to the BMVIT for authorization. After the BMVIT released the results of the technology roadmap, they were presented to the general public and especially to the key players in the field of high performance metals as well as to all members of the ASMET association.

The stakeholders showed strong interest in the results of the process and appreciated the formulation of a common strategy document, which can be considered an informal effect of the project in the sector. The policy recommendations developed in the roadmapping process have been partially implemented in the context of targeted measures and individual projects.

Furthermore, in 2011, a project consortium, consisting of ASMET, the University of Leoben and the Austrian Institute of Technology, proposed a follow-up foresight to succeed the roadmapping process. The aim of the suggested foresight is to highlight the societal context of future developments in the materials sector on a global scale to go beyond a narrowly technological perspective in the roadmapping process. In addition, the submitted foresight proposal aims at identifying relevant framework conditions in order to facilitate political decision-making, not only in the field of high performance metals but for the Austrian materials sector as a whole.

Authors: Dr. Erich Kny                         erich.kny@ait.ac.at

Dana Wasserbacher              dana.wasserbacher@ait.ac.at

Sponsors: Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Type: Single Issue
Organizer: ASMET – The Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials
Dr. Heimo Jäger                    heimo.jaeger@asmet.at

Montanuniversität Leoben
Dr. Brigitte Kriszt                   brigitte.kriszt@unileoben.ac.at

Duration: 07/2008–11/2009 Budget: € 150,000 Time Horizon: 2020 Date of Brief: Nov 2011  

 

Download EFP Brief No 205_Technology Roadmap High Performance Metals 2020

Reference

Jäger, H. (2009): Technology Roadmap High Performance Metals 2020. Final report, 1st issue. Leoben: ASMET– The Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials.

EFP Brief No. 148: Transregional Foresight to Improve and Coordinate Regional Innovation Strategies in Europe

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Empowering the strategic development of Europe’s regions is a critical requirement for transforming the EU into a competitive knowledge-based economy. To this end, regional decision-makers need to be enabled to design and implement better RTDI policies, and also to benefit from a better coordination of regional, national and EU policies. By developing and testing a new model of transregional foresight, the ForTransRIS project supports this aim. It thus contributes to the improvement of regional innovation strategies (RIS) through a transregional perspective. The transregional foresight model to upgrade RIS is tested in the five partner regions taking the issue of transregional knowledge and technology transfer as a concrete case.

The Role of Regions in Increasing EU Competitiveness

The systematic regional application of foresight and related approaches both in the public and the private sector is increasing in importance because the regions have a vital role to play
in the EU’s drive to develop a common European Research Area (ERA). EU goals include achieving the 3% of GDP target for investment in research, technological development and
innovation (RTDI) set by the European Council (Barcelona 2002) and the optimisation of research programmes and priorities envisaged by the Commission (Green Paper on New Perspectives
for the ERA, 2007). In this context, empowering the strategic development of Europe’s regions is a critical requirement for transforming the EU into a competitive knowledge-based economy.

Foresight exercises appropriately adapted to distinct regional conditions and capabilities can effectively aid decision-makers in designing and implementing better RTDI policies and investment
strategies. They support regional authorities in continuously reviewing and developing the institutional features, strategic capacities, and the organisational skills and expertise
to design and implement research and innovation policies that can increase the regions’ competitiveness. This is important not only for the regions’ own economic well-being but also
because of the cohesion ‘risk’ it could pose for the European Community if some regions remain marginal in terms of knowledge-based activities. An additional contribution to a more competitive EU is achieved when the strategies in the different regions are developed in a way that leads to an overall optimisation of programmes and priorities in the EU, at and across governance levels.

Benefits of Applying Foresight  for Regional RTDI Policy Making

A comprehensive uptake and application of foresight and related tools (such as technology assessment, evaluation, benchmarking etc.) is needed so that decision-makers can master the mounting pressures to deliver tailored and futureoriented RTDI policies. The advances made in this respect have encouraged policy-makers in some territories to use the tools more systematically to produce customised intelligence and know-how, thereby facilitating innovation and learning processes in their economic systems and societies. In so doing, they benefited from

  • the timely identification of new science and technology developments and possible areas of their beneficial application in all policy fields;
  • the elaboration of a solid information base for RTDI policy-making, taking into account the general context as well as good practice from elsewhere;
  • the formulation of policies explicitly aimed at stimulating science and technology and its application integrated in the innovation systems;
  • the effective introduction of a user perspective on the application of science and technology for economic growth and social enhancement.

The strength of a foresight approach to RTDI policy-making stems from bringing together specialised technical expertise (both technology expertise and foresight process know-how), diverse, distributed local know-how and broad participation of stakeholders. The complexity of the policy challenges requires technological expertise; local knowledge and broad stakeholder participation serve to feed and anchor expert deliberation and ensure the relevance of such expertise to the outcomes and the implementation of the foresight exercise; the process know-how ensures that successful strategies are formed as a result of the comprehensive collaboration of all these different resources.

The project aimed to raise awareness among decision-makers in Europe’s regions and encourage them to benefit from the knowledge and experience that can be gained by applying foresight in their own regions. Participants were regional policy makers and development agencies from Navarra (Spain), StuttThe policy-makers thus need to move from the traditional topdown, reactive approach to one that is proactive, participative, evidence-based and uses transparent methods in finding solutions to the modern policy challenges. The new approach embraces foresight and related tools not only to gain access to difficult-to-acquire strategic information for decision-making but also as socio-economic mobilisation tools to raise awareness and create consensus around promising solutions.

The strategic know-how generated in this way is crucial at two levels:

  • enterprises rely on business and economic intelligence in order to define future business models and to generate common visions and activities with innovation partners (e.g. in ‘business ecosystems’ or clusters) based on the permanent and worldwide competition for the future;
  • innovation policies rely on policy intelligence that enables all actors to develop shared visions and long-term commitment between the triple helix stakeholders (university – industry – public actors) in the innovation system.

Successfully linking strategic knowledge on both levels will lead to better economic decisions, which in turn lead to increased and sustained business and regional competitiveness. This challenge necessitates the tailored application of foresight exercises on all decision-making levels, from European, national to (trans-)regional, cluster and individual company levels.

Especially the regional level with its specific abilities and potential should be taken stock of to align governance levels both horizontally and vertically. To do so, there is a need for more systematic regional foresight applications. Thus, further progress is needed in various respects to facilitate the use of foresight approaches on the regional level by 1) adapting foresight methods and related tools, 2) adapting and tailoring the implementation of foresight exercises, 3) positioning regional foresight exercises in the respective policy context and, finally, 4) improving regional foresight exercises through transregional cooperation.

The ForTransRIS Project – Transregional Foresight to Improve Regional RTDI Policies

The FP6-funded project ForTransRIS, which ran from January 2007 to December 2008, concretely tackles the aspects outlined above and especially deals with improving regional foresight exercises through transregional cooperation. The project aimed to raise awareness among decision-makers in Europe’s regions and encourage them to benefit from the knowledge and experience that can be gained by applying foresight in their own regions. Participants were regional policy makers and development agencies from Navarra (Spain), Stuttgart(Germany), Brittany (France), Stockholm (Sweden) and Liguria (Italy), supported by foresight expert partners in each region.
The ForTransRIS project developed and tested an approach to improve regional decision-making by applying regional foresight in a transregional perspective (see graph below). The transregional foresight exercise was developed building on the experiences and needs of the participating regions and aiming to enhance the individual regional innovation strategies as well as the general ability to apply foresight for regional RTDI decision-making by way of this cooperation.
As a first step, the overall approach on how to conduct individual foresight exercises on the regional level and then further elaborate and transfer the results to a joint transregional level was developed. It was decided to test the approach by applying it to the field of knowledge and technology transfer and its ability to enhance regional innovation and competitiveness. Approaching this issue from the regional and transregional dimension was expected to be especially useful because of the high innovation benefits that all actors can gain by cooperating within and across regions. In the ForTransRIS project, transregional knowledge and technology transfer (TKT) was defined as “the process through which the scientific and technical knowledge (either tacit or codified), generated in one organization (source), is exploited economically by a firm by means of a complex interaction and cooperation between the source and the firm and, usually, other players.”

148_bild1

Once the structure of the exercise had been set up, an analysis of the five regional innovation systems was carried out by the regional partners. They conducted desk research and interviews with all relevant regional innovation systems actors by using a structured questionnaire to identify the innovation needs, barriers and future aspirations as seen by the stakeholders. In addition, opportunities and challenges for knowledge and technology transfer within and among regions were identified, which (can) result from and facilitate transregional cooperation. In a next step, the foresight experts synthesised and compiled the regional analyses into a smaller number of drivers to find out which issues are most relevant for each region and at the same time most promising to be dealt with on a transregional level.

The drivers were categorised into the following groups:
– economic system,
– RTDI policies,
– knowledge system,
– human resources, and
– social issues.

The regional actors then evaluated the drivers during a workshop according to their future relevance and probability of occurrence. Then, each region developed a vision based on these drivers about how knowledge transfer should look like in the region in the future. Based on these visions, the evaluation results and the input from the regional analyses, the most relevant aspects for developing transregional scenarios were identified. The most relevant aspects the scenarios built upon are

– a fragmented vs. integrated governance system;
– the degree of propensity to business risk and innovation
among the regional innovation stakeholders.

By combining these opposite situations for the two aspects, four scenarios give different pictures of what the future could look like depending on the development of the drivers. In order to facilitate the analysis, only two scenarios were elaborated in more detail: the ‘stormy’ scenario, which can be
seen as the extrapolation of today’s situation based on the enhancement of its negative features; and the ‘sunny’ scenario, which can be seen as the most favourable framework for TKT (optimal scenario). The other possible scenarios, ‘rainy’ and ‘cloudy’, describe intermediate situations. They might be a transient state in the evolutionary process from ‘stormy’ to ‘sunny’, or, realistically, the
most likely situations when systematic strategic cooperation between the different regional actors fails to be established. The main issues affecting TKT considered in the scenarios are the following:

  1. SMEs’ business models (related to product/process innovation; approach to market; internationalisation)
  2.  SMEs’ ways of networking and interactions with knowledge providers (ways, tools, trust)
  3.   Human resources: training and management policies and attraction of talents to a region
  4. Start-ups (by researchers, women, young people)
  5. Entrepreneurship of universities and public research organisations (entrepreneurial spirit, responsiveness to SMEs’ needs, quality of research)
  6. Regulations especially for intellectual property rights and standards (for environment, communications, administrative procedures etc.)
  7. Infrastructures at European scale (transportation, communication etc.)
  8. Structure of the European market
  9. RTDI policies of governments (EU, national, regional) and tools to adequately implement them
  10. Territorial identification (citizens, institutions), social and political culture, consumption patterns (sustainability)
  11. Competitive position of regional firms against new rivals from emerging countries

The scenarios display what knowledge and technology transfer within and among the regions could look like and how it might be facilitated by transregional activities in the future. They can be used to raise awareness among regional stakeholders concerning which future state they deem preferable and discuss what can be done to achieve it. In ForTransRIS, this was done during scenario validation
workshops in each partner region. There, it was discussed if the scenarios were indeed feasible for the region and which issues were most relevant. The most relevant issues from each region were then matched to find out which issues were most relevant for all regions.

The three issues identified were:

– new business models for SMEs,
– networking, and
– entrepreneurial attitudes of public research.

During a transregional panel workshop attended by stakeholders from all partner regions and complemented by external experts and stakeholders from other regions, these issues were discussed and further elaborated (main characteristics, possible transregional actions, …) as a basis for the roadmap development to follow. The foresight experts in the project then used the scenarios,
the input from the regional scenario validation workshops and the outcome from the transregional workshop to develop a roadmap for each of the three issues. The roadmaps display how each region can improve its innovation system by drawing on the knowledge of other regions and by cooperating on knowledge and technology transfer issues. This aims to guide the regions towards the implementation of joint actions in these fields. In parallel to the implementation of the transregional foresight exercise, the lessons learned during ForTransRIS and the approach used were synthesised in the ForTransRIS Methodology Guide to enable other regions to benefit from the experiences
made during the project.

Transregional Foresight as a Strategic Policy Resource

The experiences made and the know-how gathered during the ForTransRIS project shows how regional decision-makers can make their regional innovation systems and policies more viable and competitive by applying strategic know-how more frequently and consistently, for example generated by transregional foresight activities. This is especially important in the
increasing global competition for infrastructure, enterprises and highly qualified human resources. Using a tailored set-up for transregional activities enables the participating actors to take stock of the comprehensive knowledge available in other regions, to raise awareness and mobilise all relevant regional stakeholders, to identify the most relevant issues for their concrete regional needs, and thus tailor regional policies and programmes for the benefit of longterm competitiveness and innovativeness of the region. Accordingly, the ForTransRIS approach ensured that the transregional foresight exercise was adapted to the regional needs and expectations and that, in turn, future regional foresight activities can benefit from the transregional experiences as well as the other region’s expertise. Thus, by applying foresight systematically to shape regional policies regional decision-makers will contribute to both the
successful development of their own region and to fostering the coherence and success of European programmes, priorities and policies.

Authors: Sabine Hafner-Zimmermann (hafner@steinbeis-europa.de), Dr Günter Clar (clar@steinbeis-europa.de), Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum Stuttgart
Sponsors: European Commission (FP6) and participating regional organisations
Type: Transregional exercise
Organizer: Navarra Government, Pamplona, Spain, Mr Rafael Muguerza, rafael.muguerza.eraso@cfnavarra.es
Duration: 2007 – 2008
Budget: € 800,000
Time Horizon: 2018
Date of Brief: September 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 148_Transregional Foresight

 

Sources and References

  • Project website www.fortransris.net
  • For further information, please contact the authors of this brief (hafner@steinbeis-europa.de, clar@steinbeis-europa.de, http://www.steinbeis-europa.de/374.html), or
  • the project co-ordinator Rafael Muguerza (rafael.muguerza.eraso@cfnavarra.es)

EFP Brief No. 141: Research, Technology and Innovation Policy in Vienna

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In 2006, the City of Vienna initiated a far-reaching, open strategy process on the orientation of its future research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy. The aim was to develop, in a participatory process, a comprehensive strategic framework and concrete proposals for municipal RTI policy actions until the year 2015. By then, Vienna is aiming to be among Europe’s leading metropolitan areas in research, technology and innovation, as the hub of a network of research locations in the Central European Region (CENTROPE). The objectives, challenges and fields for action to be tackled in order to reach this position were translated into a set of concrete measures, some of which are to be started in 2008.

Vienna as a Centre of Science and Research in Central Europe

Vienna is the key centre for science and research in Austria as well as in the wider central European area to which it belongs. With its “twin capital” Bratislava being only 60 km away, it occupies a unique position in Central Europe. As mirrored in international benchmarks, the Austrian innovation system has gone through a phase of fast growth of R&D expenditures and internationalisation. Austria is increasingly recognised as one of the leading European countries in research. Austria has accomplished major structural reforms, affecting universities as well as research funding bodies, many of which are located in Vienna. Simultanously, several Austrian regions have initiated or reinforced their RTI policies. Vienna already launched an active RTI policy in the early nineties and was now confronted with the necessity to revisit the institutional and RTI policy landscape.

At the same time, new challenges were identified that would have to be tackled in order to keep pace with the international developments in science, technology and innovation, with new employment patterns and with the need to further upgrade research and innovation performance. In 2006, it was therefore decided to initiate a process of strategic debate, bringing the growing number of diverse actors together in an open and selfcritical debate.

Systems Research in the Urban Area: Groundwork for RTI Policy

The strategy process was built on solid ground. In addition to a number of specific studies, it drew on the results of the largescale research programme “Systems Research in the Urban Area” that provided the analytical groundwork and took first exploratory steps towards identifying future challenges to the RTI policy of the City of Vienna. The results of the programme later on served to fuel the debates in the different expert panels in the strategy process phase. The goal of this comprehensive research programme was to identify scientifically founded observations and analyses to underpin the development of an integrated, future-oriented urban research and innovation policy.
Initiatives in this urban policy area were expected to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of firms in the city, thus fostering the socio-economic development of the Vienna metropolitan area by giving those impulses a regional government can specifically provide. Central to the research programme was the combination of different perspectives on the current situation of the urban innovation system.

Strategic Development in Four Scenarios

The preliminary results from the various analyses from different perspectives were brought together during a forwardlooking integration phase in spring 2006, i.e. before the start of the actual strategy process. In this phase, four scenarios were developed, which served as a backdrop for later elaborating elements of an RTI policy strategy for the city of Vienna. The essence of these four scenarios is captured in their titles:

  • Innovative niches: application potential of science
    and technology;
  • Fast second mover: exploitation in the focus;
  • Multi-centric excellence: leveraging complementarities;
  • Excellence4me: Vienna as a centre of science.

From Fragmentation to Strategic Action: “Wien denkt Zukunft“

Following this preparatory phase, which was initially not even intended to lead to a participatory strategy process, the main phase of the project “Wien denkt Zukunft” started in November 2006 with a major kick-off event attended by over 500 participants. The title “Wien denkt Zukunft” is actually a wordplay, which is not fully captured by the English translation “Vienna Looks to the Future – knowledge means change“. Over the following twelve
months, a broad participative debate on RTI policy strategies for the city was conducted. Many players coming from various units of the municipality, from universities and other research institutions,
from the education sector, and from (high-tech) business contributed to the process. The discussion was intended to develop a comprehensive strategy and vision for municipal RTI policies by both identifying areas for action and implementing adequate policy measures until the year 2015. The figure below shows the course of the described process:

141_bild1

Inspired by the preparatory research, four core themes were identified on which experts panels focused their work (see Figure 1):

  • RTI in business;
  • Research priorities and knowledge transfer;
  • Science and society;
  • Urban development for research.

Each of the panels was chaired by a leading actor in urban RTI policy, coming either from a municipal department in charge of research agendas or from a public research funding agency in charge of research agendas, in order to ensure the ownership and link with current policy initiatives. In addition, four crosscutting topics were included in the work of all panels:

  • Gender aspects;
  •  Human resources;
  • EU-policy;
  • Networking.

Viennese RTI Strategy Goes Public

The process started with a kick-off event (opening session) at City Hall with prominent proponents from politics, academia and business and several hundred participants. After the opening session, the panels established themselves and each panel met between three and five times over the following months. In addition, regular inter-panel meetings and meetings with the supporters were held throughout the whole period. A website served to document the discussion and also offered the public an opportunity to contribute to the process with own ideas and proposals throughout the whole period. The participatory nature of the strategic process is demonstrated by involving more then 100 players from various areas in the panelwork. Additionally, major public events were organized at the beginning, half-way through and at the end of the process in order to gather further input from a broad range of stakeholders, complemented by interactive tools made available on the accompanying website (www.wiendenktzukunft.at).

Identifying Ambitious Objectives

One of the goals of the strategy process was to identify targets and objectives for optimising the process of research and innovation with the help of the multi-level RTI policy measures used in Vienna. The identified targets and objectives for developing the RTI strategy for the city can be summarized as follows:

  • increase Vienna’s research expenditures to 4% of the gross city product;
  • 22,000 individuals employed in the R&D sector;
  • 800 companies engaged in R&D;
  • 20% of the population having a university degree;
  • 200 SMEs taking part in projects of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7);
  • rate of female researchers in the business sector is to increase by 100 per cent.

Five Main Challenges

A cross-panel analysis revealed five main challenges that would need to be tackled over the coming six to ten years:

  • Making effective use of the potential for research, technology and innovation by creating adequate conditions for young people, irrespective of their origins, to pursue a successful career as scientists and researchers.
  • Enhancing RTI quality and visibility with respect to international competition for investors.
  • Embedding RTI into society: providing space and occasions for public discussion about RTI, its opportunities and challenges.
  • Accelerating the dynamics in RTI by creating adequate infrastructure.
  • Integrating Vienna RTI within European networks and strengthening co-operation within the CENTROPE region in order to create a common RTI area that will successfully compete in Europe and in the world.

Addressing the Challenges

Within its jurisdiction, the City of Vienna can provide stimuli for achieving the identified goals. Options for translating these goals into specific measures can be conceived along the lines of the main determinants of innovation ranging from push factors in the area of science (e.g. R&D subsidies, selective subsidies complementary to national subsidies), through acceleration of the transfer process (selective measures such as licensing initiatives, venture capital), to pull factors in the area of socio-economic demand or application potential on the demand side.

141_bild2

Bearing in mind this broad spectrum of options, the RTI process “Wien denkt Zukunft” identified five key fields for action on which the City of Vienna will concentrate its RTI policy in the next years:

  • Human resources – Bright Minds for Vienna: The goal of activities in this field is to make better use of the city’s enormous human resource potential. Various activities will serve to improve the prospects and conditions for highly qualified young scientists, with a special focus on gender issues and populations that have been neglected in the past (e.g. university graduates with a migration background).
  • Key areas – profile and relevance: Specific thematic areas that are both relevant and visible are to be supported, building in particular on the existing key areas of life sciences, information and communication technology and creative industries. In addition, the development of a number of new avenues of research and innovation is being promoted.
  • Research and the city – communication, learning and public awareness: The three terms form a catchphrase to express the serious interest in strengthening the critical public dialogue about RTI, both within Vienna and on the international stage. By means of a new set of measures called “Vienna research in dialogue”, a critical and continuous exchange of knowledge about RTI with the citizenry is to be fostered.
  • Vienna as a hothouse for research and innovation – facilitating new developments. Further improvement of working conditions for scientists and creative individuals are called for by providing local networks as breeding grounds for invention and creativity.
  • A European location for research and innovation – Vienna as a hub for international networks: Vienna is to be established as the centre of international research networks, and of networks in the CENTROPE region in particular. In this context, Vienna’s network-based location of research and innovation will be further strengthened.

The Schedule for 2008

Based on the objectives, challenges and measures identified during the strategic process “Wien denkt Zukunft”, several concrete proposals for new projects or initiatives were developed in the five fields of action. Six of these projects have been prioritised (“kick-off projects”) and are likely to be implemented in the coming two to three years (see Figure 2). For the year 2008, the initial three projects have been endowed with approximately 14 million euros.

  • Under the title of a “Keynote Programme” for the specific fields of research in the humanities, the social and cultural sciences (on the side of the already well established programmes for life sciences, information technologies and the creative industries) will be actively promoted. One of the first calls in this area was scheduled to start March 31.
  • Expansion of the “Research and the City” campaign. Under the slogan “Vienna research in dialogue”, the City will address essential contemporary and future issues in the field of science, research and technology. Communication between the various special interest groups and organisations will be encouraged and strengthened.
  • In revising the City of Vienna business promotion principles – “ZIT 08plus” – more attention will be given to crosscutting issues of RTI policies, such as promoting innovation in the service sector, encouraging research cooperation and gender mainstreaming.
Authors: Barbara Grunewald                                            barbara.grunewald@arcs.ac.at

Matthias Weber                                              matthias.weber@arcs.ac.at

Sponsors: City of Vienna
Type: Urban participative process, Focus on RTI
Organizer: Municipal Department MA 27, Christian Wurm  christian.wurm@wien.gv.at; www.magwien.gv.at/forschung
Duration: 2006-2007
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2015
Date of Brief: March 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 141_ RTI Policy in Vienna

Sources and References

More Information is available at :

  •  http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_lang.pdf
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_kurz.pdf

An English summary is available at:

  • http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_eng lish.pdf

For information concerning “Systems Research in the Urban

Area” visit

  • innovationspolitik-wien.ac.at

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EFMN Brief No. 118 – Austria’s Future

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EFMN Brief No. 88 – Summit for the Future 2006

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EFMN Brief No. 81 – Aufbruch Musik – German Music 2020

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EFMN Brief No. 56 – The Region of Lecco Industrial System 2015

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