Critical Mass - Study on the Critical Mass of public R&D programmes

Contracting Party: European Commission - DG Research




The focus of this study is on the critical mass of European public R&D programmes. It is often argued that in many S&T areas, public R&D programmes in Europe are individually and/or collectively not achieving "critical mass". Yet neither is it entirely clear what is meant in this context by critical mass, nor what the determinants of critical mass are. Industry also complains about the multitude of different programmes in Europe. Clarifying these issues is the purpose of this study.

The main scope of the project is therefore to ascertain whether, in selected S&T areas, public R&D programmes in Europe are individually and collectively achieving critical mass. The investigation area indicated in the terms of reference is the ERA-NET scheme, which was launched under FP6, with the purpose of stepping up the cooperation and coordination of research programme activities, carried out in Member States and Associated States at national or regional level, putting in place design and coordination mechanisms to aim at the networking of research activities, including their ‘mutual opening’ and the development and implementation of joint activities. The final objective is to reflect on policy implications of the findings from the analysis carried out.