Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU (SRIP) Report

Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU (SRIP) Report

Last February, European Commission has published a new paper, the Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU (SRIP) Report that follows up how Europe could harness dynamic innovation to ensure more robust economies and inclusive, sustainable societies.

Based on indicator-based macroeconomic analysis and deep analytical research on important policy topics, the Report analyses Europe’s performance in science, research and innovation and the driving factors behind that performance. The main outcome of the report is to show that Europe can lead the next wave of breakthrough innovation in fields where digital technology meets the physical world, such as digital manufacturing, genomics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT).

Previous edition of the Report, published in 2016, has provided several findings: first, the need to strongly improve the track record in getting research results to market and technologies developed in Europe; second, although Europe generates more scientific output than any other region in the world, Member States fall behind on the very best science. Third, Europe punches below its weight in international science cooperation and science diplomacy.

The 2018 Report actually presents different findings. First of all, although Europe is the leading economy in terms of public investment in R&D and the number of researchers (Europe has 7% of the world population, 20% of global R&D and 1/3 of all high-quality scientific publications), it lags behind the United States, Japan South Korea and even China in private and overall R&D investment levels. This gap has been increased in recent years and, as a partial consequence, there were a lower level of investments among European stakeholders compared to the United States.

Another point is Europe’s limited ability to convert its strong scientific base into technological development. For example, even in most performing European areas, there are a lack of patents in big data or IoT compared to other economies. On top of all that, there is a structural problem in labor and goods market: more stringent conditions for enterprises than in the other advanced economies and the lack of competition limits reach innovation-led entrepreneurship. In this regard, the OECD estimates that around 16% to 19% of all available capital is sunk into unproductive companies in Italy and Spain.

These aspects affect also the ability to foster transformational entrepreneurship from small-sized companies to global giants: in 2017, there were zero number of EU companies in the global top-15 companies by market capitalization. Therefore, despite a good result in more traditional entrepreneurship indicators Europe suffers a gap in the number and relative importance of rapid high-growth companies. This, in turn, influences European capacity to invest in intangible assets.

Moreover, although important national differences persists among Member States, nowadays they are more nuanced, notably in terms of investment levels: for example, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic have significantly increased their R&D investment intensity over the past decade. On the other hand, countries like Romania, Portugal and Spain have exhibited disappointing R&D investment-intensity records.

Finally, it is important not to omit the persistency of national gap also in terms of scientific and technological outputs (countries like the United Kingdom the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium are leaders in this area) that reflects the lower efficiency of the national R&I systems in the laggard countries in transforming R&D investment into scientific and technological output. In fact, top-30 leading regions invest 4,2% in R&D and account 36% of total R&D investment.

With this scenario in mind, the Report suggests a set of policy to promote innovation in Europe: boosting investments in intangible assets and rethinking public support for R&I and ensuring innovation-friendly regulation are central in this project. Therefore, it is important to complete the internal market to promote the development of born-in-Europe “unicorns”, to boost the access to risk capital with the creation of a pan-European Venture Capital and to develop tools to relocate resources from unproductive companies to innovative ones with the aim to open up European science and innovation to the world.

Participatory Governance in Culture – Call for Papers!

Participatory Governance in Culture – Call for Papers!

Rijeka is going to host, from November 22nd to 24th, the “Participatory Governance in Culture: exploring Practices, Theories and Policies. Do It Together” Conference, organized by Kultura Nova Foundation, in partnership with Rijeka 2020 LLC and collaboration with European Cultural Foundation as a part of the “Approaches to Participatory Governance of Cultural Institutions” project supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity. The Conference is part of the “Approaches to Participatory Governance of Cultural Institutions” project, which is supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity.

Scholars, researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, activists and artists are invited to submit papers, presentations or panel proposal for this international conference. The text of the call for papers is available at this link.

The aim of the conference is to explore the new perspectives that are being introduced by many cultural initiatives all around the globe in order to challenge the traditional governance models, and to experiment with innovative approaches to governance. Culture is being understood as a shared resource, and the practicing of culture is being placed in a commons-oriented perspective.

The deadline for submitting presentations and panel proposals is 15th July 2017.

More information on the Conference’s official website: http://www.participatory-governance-in-culture.net/

The CO-Cities Series: #2 Reggio Emilia

The CO-Cities Series: #2 Reggio Emilia

 

The city of Reggio nell’Emilia (better known as Reggio Emilia), located in the hearth of Emilia Romagna, counts a population of 172.000 inhabitants. 27.000 of them are involved in activities promoting social cohesion.

These numbers, which highlight the existence of a strong social capital, help us understand the peculiarity of the approach adopted by the city administration. According to Valeria Montanari, Councilor for innovation, administrative simplification, participation and care of the neighborhoods, this peculiarity lies in the idea of “the city as an infrastructure that is made available to people”[1]In line with this view, the administration guided by Major Luca Vecchi, elected in 2014, has been promoting citizens’ participation in policy making, allowing for “the co-design not only of the actions, but also of the objectives that the city wants to pursue”[2].

The choice to adopt a governance paradigm based on participation and collaboration implies the willingness to challenge and to change the traditional role of the public administration and its relationship with citizens. A process of institutional and bureaucratic innovation is being developed by the administration, which rather than simply providing services to their citizens aims at becoming an enabler for participatory paths and practices, bringing citizens at the center of the decision-making process.  As explained by Nicoletta Levi[3], who is in charge of the service Policies for Responsible Protagonism and Smart City, what is being done in Reggio Emilia is strongly experimental, and this requires the administration to continuously stop to understand in which direction they are going. Collaboration might create a strong tension between the rigidity and division that characterize the public administration functioning and the strong flexibility and interconnectedness typical of the reality we live in. To be able to create a dialogue with the civil society the public administration should undergo a transformation and should learn how to work horizontally and be more flexible.

Being aware of this framework allows us to fully understand the innovative processes activated by the city in the last years.

 

The QUA Program – (Neighborhood as a Commons)

The city of Reggio Emilia has been directly affected by a law that entered into force in March 2010, which prevents cities with less than 250.000 inhabitants to organize their territory into districts (circoscrizioni in Italian). Rather than being an obstacle, this law became an occasion for the city Reggio Emilia to think of new forms of decentralization and city management and to focus on the needs of its citizens. What is particularly interesting about the approach adopted by the city of Reggio Emilia is the choice to work at neighborhood level and to adopt neighborhoods as the unit of measure.

 

During a visit to the community gardens managed by the cultural center L’Orologio

This is evident when we look at the project QUA (neighborhood as commons) which aims not only at strengthening citizens’ participation, but also at giving citizens a protagonist role, both as single individuals and as associations and informal networks. In December 2015 the City Council of Reggio Emilia approved the Regulation for citizenship labs (full text in Italian is available here). The Regulation establishes collaboration, stimulated and supported through participatory paths, as a crucial feature in the relationship between citizens and the local administration for the care of the city and of the community itself.

As explained on the official website of the city, this document is freely inspired to the Bologna Regulation, but it has a strong territorial connotation as it is adapted to the peculiarity of the local community and environment. Therefore, it underlines how neighborhoods should be understood as commons, meaning with this as fields where associations, informal networks, citizens and administration can connect and can develop together a new idea of participation and active citizenship.

The city has been divided into 19 neighborhoods, or territorial areas (ambiti territoriali), which are being the theater for the establishment of Citizenship Laboratories and Citizenship Agreements, that are being developed and coordinated by the new figure of the Neighborhood Architect.

The Regulation sets a procedural path, made of 9 phases, to be followed by the Laboratories. The Architect plays a fundamental role in the whole process as he is, using the words of Nicoletta Levi[4], an “activator of social resources and a mediator between center and periphery and between public and private”.

The project has been met with great interest by citizens, and the participation has been high. By December 2016, 9 agreements had already been signed, 896 people had taken part in the participatory paths and 64 projects had been defined. Between these projects we find really different experiences, ranging from the creation of a book-crossing network involving local libraries, community centers and citizens, who imagined and produced structures to be placed in public spaces that allow for the book exchange, to the development of Participation Houses (an example here), places located in the neighborhood that can facilitate interaction and dialogue between a variety of local actors. Furthermore, these projects also include the creation and management of urban gardens (one example are the gardens managed by the cultural space L’orologio) and the development of Wifi communities, like the one that has been put in place in Villa Coviolo, an area located at the South-West of the city .

 

CO-Reggio Emilia and the path of #CollaboratorioRe

The S.Peter Cloister, object of the #CollaboratorioRe co-design path

The commitment of the Municipality towards participation and collaboration in decision making processes and in city making is at the bases of the CO-Reggio Emilia [5] project, that was promoted by the local administration in collaboration with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and with the scientific, strategical and organizational support of LabGov and Kilowatt.

The process began with the activation of the participatory path of #CollaboratorioRe, which brought together citizens, associations, private actors, cognitive institutions and members of the local administration (as envisaged by the quintuple helix[6] approach of urban co-goverance) and allowed them to collaboratively shape the future of the “Chiostri di San Pietro” area, a urban commons holding a particular relevance for the city and for its inhabitants.

As explained by Valeria Montanari “#CollaboratorioRe aimed at creating the first incubator of sharing and pooling economy of Reggio Emilia, a new urban actor that will revolutionize the way we think about the city and will emphasize the role that civic collaboration should play in the care and management of the urban commons”.

What makes the experience of #CollaboratorioRe particularly relevant is that while working on the regeneration of a physical space and on the creation of this new urban actor, the city is also activating a broader reflection on the idea of knowledge and culture as commons[7] by working on the relationship between technology and culture and by attempting to reduce technological inequality through education and informal exchange of information.

Conclusion

The experience of Reggio Emilia shows us that when institutions are willing to accept the challenge and to transform themselves, a paradigm change is really possible. By adopting a view of the city as an infrastructure that is made available to people, institutions and citizens are able to come together and collectively design the future of their neighborhoods, of the urban commons and of the city itself.

This article is part of the CO-Cities Series

 

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[1] As explained by Valeria Montanari in a short interview with LabGov.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nicoletta Levi presented the experience of Reggio Emilia and of the project QUA – Quartiere Bene Comune in occasion of  the CO-city project presentation in Turin,on March the 31st 2017.

[4] Ibid.

[5] A complete overview of the CO-Reggio Emilia project and of the #CollaboratorioRe experience is available here (in Italian).

[6] The quintuple helix approach is explained in C. IAIONE, E. DE NICTOLIS, La quintupla elica come approccio alla governance dell’innovazione sociale, Brodolini Foundation, 2016. The document is available at this link: https://www.labgov.it/2017/01/25/la-quintupla-elica-come-approccio-alla-governance-dellinnovazione-sociale/

[7] Y. BENKLER, Commons and growth: the essential role of open commons in market economies, The University of Chicago Law Review, 2013, and  C. HESS, E. OSTROM, Understanding Knowledge as a Commons, from theory to practice, The MIT Press, 2007

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Reggio Emilia è una città caratterizzata da un grande capitale sociale: su 172 mila abitanti, 27 mila sono impegnati in attività di coesione sociale. Questi numeri ci aiutano a capire la particolarità dell’approccio adottato dell’amministrazione locale che, come ci spiega Valeria Montanari, Assessora ad Agenda digitale, partecipazione e cura dei quartieri, è legata all’idea della città come infrastruttura a disposizione delle persone.

 

It is time for FORUM PA 2017

It is time for FORUM PA 2017

What is the role that public administrations should – and must – have in the creation of a new economic development paradigm able to generate sustainable and equitable wellbeing? This question will be at the heart of the series of conferences and workshops organized within the framework of FORUM PA 2017, which will take place from the 23rd to the 25th of May in Rome.

The common thread will be given by the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and by the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that the General Assembly of the United Nations aims to achieve by 2030.

Within this general framework, the participants will discuss the importance of innovating public administration in order to provide answers to the pressing and ever growing issues faced by citizens. From unemployment to the right to health care, from raising inequalities to concerns about security, and much more. It is important for the PA to speak not only about itself and with itself, but to focus instead on why this innovation is deeply needed.

To be able to address these complex themes, the program of the convention is organized into 4 different kind of events: “scenarios”, “thematic conferences, “workshops” and “academies”. The complete program of the event is available here.

LabGov will take part in several events:

On the 23rd Professor Christian Iaione, LabGov’s coordinator, together with Giovanni Vetritto, from  the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, will be chair of a conference titled “Sharing and Local Public Services”, which will take place from 9h30 to 11h30.

In the afternoon, from 14h30 to 18h00, we will be present during the conference “Social Innovation and Municipalities: from experimentations to policies”, promoted in collaboration with ANG, ANCI and RENA.

On the 24th Professor Christian Iaione will be chair of a conference titled “PARTICIPATION: models, policies and interventions in Italian cities”, an event which is developed within the framework of the Integrated project on Participation and Communication promoted by the Municipality of Palermo, which will be represented during the conference by Giusto Catania, Councillor for Participation, Communication, Decentralization, Demographic Services and Migration. The event will take place from 11h45 to 13h30.

On the 25th, during the national meeting of Italian cities participating in the URBACT network, which will go on from 11h00 to 14h00, Professor Christian Iaione will give a speech on the topic “Italian cities, between innovation and participation”.

 

 

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FORUM PA 2017 sta per iniziare: dal 23 al 25 maggio a Roma si terranno una serie di conferenze e workshops, attraverso cui si affronterà il tema dell’innovazione nella pubblica amministrazione. L’interrogativo con cui questa edizione di FORUM PA vuole confrontarsi è quello del ruolo che le amministrazioni pubbliche possono e devono avere nella costruzione di uno sviluppo economico e sociale che garantisca benessere equo e sostenibile.

Il programma completo dell’evento è disponibile qui.

 

 

Renewable energy in Italy

Renewable energy in Italy

In Italy the number of renewable energy installations is growing up really fast and it seems that this growth is not going to stop in the near future. This number is composed by investments made not only by the enterprises and the public companies or companies in which the State has a controlling interest, but in a great part also by single privates and families. Home renewable energy installations are indeed  increasing everywhere in Italy. The data of this growth are surprising , as they show that a large number of Italians have already choose to install their personal renewable energy installation, and many others are betting on renewable energies.

Small installations for the self-generation of renewable energy cover the 22 % of the national production of electricity. Those numbers would have been incredible just few years ago. This trend is mainly driven by Photovoltaics; solar panels are the lowest ones in terms of investment and they can be easily installed. Furthermore Italy is well known all over the world for his sunny weather.

 

During 2015 small renewable energy installations have increased to 700.000, 41.000 more than the former year .

What are the reasons of this huge success? Why has this bottom down revolution become so important today at a national level? One of the reasons of this enormous success is represented by the portion of energy produced that is destined to be sold. In fact the 22% of the energy produced is destined to self-consumption, while the 88% is introduced in the national energy net. The great majority of those Italian families  sell their energy to the State. By selling it the small producer can afford to maintain his personal energy production system ; he can also repay the investment made in the installation’s phase.

Beyond the economical reasons Italians are making another argument. The preservation of the environment is truly important for the policies of the national governments and of the European Union. There is awareness about the climate change and Italians know they can make the difference in preserving the environment.

As already mentioned this is a bottom down revolution. A lot of families have decided that producing energy at home is a better choice on multiple levels. It is better for the families’ economies and for the environment as well. In fact “self made” energy has a low impact on the environment. Those are the two main reasons of the success of this revolution.

Last but not least: the government’s incentives. Those numbers wouldn’t have been so high without State’s investments.

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In Italia stiamo assistendo ad un boom delle rinnovabili “fai da te”. Sono moltissime le famiglie italiane che hanno deciso nel corso degli ultimi anni di dotarsi di un proprio sistema di produzione di energia. Gran parte di questa viene immessa nella rete. Questo processo, partito dal basso, è stato favorito dagli incentivi statali ed europei.

European Commission on renewable energies:

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Renewable_energy_statistics

https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-directive

LaRepubblica on the italian situation:

http://www.repubblica.it/economia/2017/04/24/news/energia_in_italia_e_boom_delle_rinnovabile_fai_da_te_-163779812/