In this article, as the French government sets out to undertake a major reform of the country's higher education system, Barbara Kehm highlights current trends in Europe in this field.
The author starts by describing the "Bologna process", which launched a new system of qualifications and a series of major reforms of higher education programmes in more than 40 European countries. She then shows how this process (started in 1999) has been combined with the Lisbon strategy (2000) with the aim of establishing by 2010 a Europe-wide system of higher education linked to plans for research and innovation.
Barbara Kehm also examines how the role of the state in the management of higher education is changing in Europe. She discusses the new forms of governance that have developed against the background of the system's problems of both funding and legitimacy, resulting in growing moves towards greater autonomy for individual institutions and more vocationally oriented courses.
Finally, Barbara Kehm looks at three key issues for European higher education: more diverse sources of funding (in order above all to cope with increased numbers of students), research and improvements in quality (via better evaluation and accreditation), and internationalization (involving both co-operation and competition). She concludes her analysis by setting out the main trends in this field for the next 10 years.
At the European Union summit in Lisbon in 2000, the member states committed themselves to making Europe "the most competitive and dynamic economy" in the world. Seven years later, there seems little chance of achieving this objective for research by 2010. By international standards, the EU is not doing well, and is still lagging behind countries like the USA and Japan, with regard to both the amount of investment in research and the results obtained; this is even more true of innovation.
One of the reasons for this poor showing is the lack of co-ordination of research at national, intergovernmental and EU levels, argues Pierre Papon. In order to improve this situation, it is urgent for member countries to increase their spending on research and for them to do more to develop Europe-wide research programmes by combining their efforts.
The priority given to research in Europe obviously influences the scale of scientific discoveries Europe makes and hence to some extent the EU's opportunities for innovation, says Pierre Papon, but also the image that its own residents and other nations have of the EU.
« Agora 2020 » est une des démarches récentes de prospective publique les plus ambitieuses d'Europe. Lancée fin 2003 par la Direction de la recherche et de l'animation scientifique et technique de ce qui n'était pas encore le ministère de l'Écologie, du Développement et de l'Aménagement durables, l'opération s'est achevée en 2007, par la publication de cet ouvrage très complet. Il s'agit d'une consultation prospective à l'horizon 2020 sur la recherche dans ...
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Lancé en 2001 par l'Association nationale de la recherche technique (ANRT), FutuRIS est un exercice de prospective collectif, mobilisant experts et représentants des mondes de l'industrie et de la recherche publique qui a pour objectif d'étudier le système français de recherche et d'innovation et d'en proposer des réformes. Ce deuxième ouvrage de FutuRIS, publié sous la houlette de Jacques Lesourne et Denis Randet, nous livre en neuf chapitres un diagnostic et un éclairage des réformes ...
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« Nous pensions savoir d'où viendraient les nouvelles idées : des universités, des parcs technologiques et des centres de recherche des entreprises des pays riches. À revoir. L'essor de la Chine et de l'Inde implique que la prééminence américaine et européenne en matière d'innovation scientifique ne peut plus être tenue pour acquise. Non plus que ne peuvent être tenus pour assurés les " emplois de la connaissance " qui en dépendaient. » Telle est la mise en garde lancée par une ...
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In 2004-2005, the French government decided to stimulate innovation in France by - among other measures - creating special clusters across the country which would promote synergies among firms, education and training, and research. Just over 60 clusters were chosen from among the applicants, in many diverse fields, ranging from aeronautics to information technologies, via biotechnologies, etc. Several of the clusters were specifically geared to the farming and food industry, such as the Fruit and Vegetables cluster at Avignon.
Michel Dodet, vice-president for international affairs of INRA (the French Institute for Agricultural Research), examines at the food sector, in particular the successful Dutch experience at Wageningen, the Netherlands' Food Valley. He first looks in detail at the origin of the Food Valley and the way it operates, then turns to the Avignon cluster, before highlighting the key factors behind the success of the Food Valley, which might be helpful in France. Finally, he discusses the limits of this experience, in particular the lack of a shared vision of the long term and the risk of emphasizing access merely to existing knowledge at the expense of investment in research (in the long run). Consequently what is needed is a judicious mix in the "ecosystem" of initial participants ready to share their strong points in order to improve their competitiveness along with the political will to intervene so as to organize and develop the resulting cluster.
Le monde s'oriente-t-il vers un avenir énergétique durable ? La poursuite des tendances actuelles laisse penser que non. Le Conseil économique et social, se plaçant à l'horizon 2050, dresse le panorama du mix énergétique raisonné et équilibré qui devrait prévaloir à cette date. Aucune source d'énergie ne peut être exclue a priori, selon cet organisme. Les recherches doivent être activement poursuivies dans tous les domaines. Le XXIe siècle verra se développer une production décentralisée, notamment dans certains espaces ...
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As is clear from reading most of the articles in this special issue, all the scenarios for stabilizing or reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to "acceptable" limits require a real effort to tackle the growth of energy consumption. As Véronique Lamblin emphasizes here, all possible means of increasing energy supplies (especially by improving yields or lowering the costs of production technologies) are to be welcomed; nevertheless, this approach alone will probably not be sufficient, given the current concerns about climate change.
Consequently, after highlighting the crucial importance of dealing with the energy problem, she presents here some possible ways of reducing energy consumption in the industrialized countries: production technologies involving a lower carbon content, cutting back demand for electricity and energy for transport, intelligent devices for detecting and reducing waste, management of energy use in housing, industry and vehicles, substitution between products and services, etc. Unfortunately, despite many possibilities that already exist or are in prospect, tackling energy consumption remains a taboo subject, especially because it is too often wrongly understood as holding back economic growth, and it does not attract the amount of effort (in terms of technological or socio-organizational research, for example) needed to match the stakes involved.
This is one of the major failures of both governments and business, in France, in Europe, and throughout the world. It is obvious that if active measures are not taken soon to improve matters, stabilizing the greenhouse gas emissions and thus limiting global warming will remain merely pious hopes.
La science, la technologie et l'innovation sont désormais au centre des efforts pour dynamiser la croissance économique et améliorer le bien-être social. Les pays de l'OCDE comme les économies non-membres engagent de vastes réformes pour accroître les investissements dans la science, la technologie et l'innovation, et renforcer la contribution que ceux-ci apportent aux économies nationales dans un contexte de mondialisation croissante. Quelle est la nature des réformes qu'ils ont introduites, et quels sont les principaux problèmes ...
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Place croissante de l'innovation, développement massif des technologies de l'information et de la communication, tertiarisation continue des pays développés, tels sont les trois phénomènes qui ont bouleversé l'économie mondiale depuis plus de 20 ans, valorisant ainsi l'économie de l'immatériel, facteur d'innovation et de croissance. La commission présidée par Maurice Lévy et Jean-Pierre Jouyet s'interroge sur les moyens de permettre à la France de surmonter ses faiblesses, notamment en termes de recherche, d'innovation ...
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Futuribles has devoted much space in the last year to the problems of research, and in particular its organization. In a recent article (n° 306, March 2005), Catherine Paradeise and Jean-Claude Thoenig argued that it is essential to consult everyone involved in the research system and to explain to them, step by step if necessary, the need for changes in the hopes that the reform might then be carried through, with particular reference to France.
We continue the debate on this question with an article describing the Japanese experience of reforming their research system. Michel Israël shows how the Japanese radically overhauled their system by means of several five-year plans. Above all, he highlights the current major reform of the national universities which affects their method of hiring to research posts; partnerships between universities, industry and government; the creation of centres of excellence, etc. Key words here are competition, autonomy, releasing creativity and more flexible management. He also describes how this reform, which aims to restore Japan as a leader in research internationally, has been welcomed and implemented by the main players involved. The reform may not yet be completed, but it is well under way; it remains to be seen what its impact will be on Japan's performance in research in the next few years.
A lively debate has been going on simultaneously in France for several years on several topics:
- "the decline of France", the decline of manufacturing and the fact that the economy is falling behind that of other industrialized countries, especially the United States and the rapidly growing developing nations in Asia;
- the ups and downs of research in France and, worse still, the country's poor showing with regard to technological development and innovation.
Futuribles has made a major contribution to this debate, including publishing numerous articles criticizing the lack of a satisfactory policy to foster research and innovation, and putting forward various proposals for improving the situation.
The French government, as is now standard practice, has announced that it will soon present to parliament (though this keeps being postponed) a draft bill about research and innovation; the preliminary proposals, insofar as they are yet known, appear to rely heavily on the creation of a "national research agency".
At the same time, the French President has asked Jean-Louis Beffa, the highly respected CEO of the firm Saint-Gobain, to draw up a report published on 15 January 2005 entitled Pour une nouvelle politique industrielle (Towards a New Industrial Strategy).
The preliminary proposals and, more particularly, the Beffa Report, are examined here by André-Yves Portnoff, who criticizes yet again this typically French gambit of not only piling on even more laws and regulations, but now creating more and more quangos, relying exclusively on major public programmes to be run by large (often state-owned) firms and geared to supplying the public sector. Past experience has shown that this approach, except in certain specific sectors, has had limited success. It would be much better to foster innovation of all kinds by smaller firms that are more in touch with the market.
Following the protests from the French research community in Spring 2004, on several occasions between June and December 2004 Futuribles provided coverage of the debate about ways of reforming the French research system. This article by Catherine Paradeise and Jean-Claude Thoenig continues the debate, this time proposing a pragmatic approach that would make it easier to implement reform.
Indeed, quite apart from the many proposals for changing and overhauling the way that public research is organized, the key question is how reforms could actually be put into practice and, in particular, how those working in the public research sector could be persuaded to see the reforms as being in their own interest. The authors, who are specialists in the sociology of organizations, therefore examine here this aspect of how reforms of the system are implemented and the feasibility of the approaches so far envisaged.
Their analysis is based on the conviction that such a fundamental reform cannot occur without the participation of everyone involved and it must come from the bottom up, gradually and in small, unconnected steps, rather than via a global, institutional approach. The important thing is to "put an end to a majestic, all-encompassing vision of the reform", by increasing the number of intermediate levels likely to trigger organizational changes. Strategic guidance by the public authorities should therefore consist of fostering and capitalizing on the incremental improvements and then, in the medium term, regulating them so as to make them the source of more general change in the long run.
In other words, a key criterion for the success of reforms should be their feasibility. The authors offer here an analysis applied to the various proposals made for the organization of research. Their strong wish is that the management and guidance of the reforms by public authorities should for once avoid being as feeble as they tend to be in France, no matter which field is concerned.
Ensemble des techniques et des connaissances liées à l'utilisation du vivant dans les processus de production, les biotechnologies recouvrent un large champ d'investigation qui va de la santé (biotechnologie rouge) à l'agriculture (biotechnologie verte) en passant par la chimie de transformation des ressources renouvelables (biotechnologie blanche). Le récent rapport de Jean-Yves Le Déaut, député de Meurthe-et-Moselle et vice-président de l'OPECST (Office parlementaire d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques), a fait le point sur " la place ...
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Cet ouvrage révèle l’utilité de la prospective appliquée à l’élaboration d’une stratégie à long terme d’un institut de recherche œuvrant dans le domaine de l’agriculture, de l’alimentation et de l’environnement. Il décrit comment concilier les avancées ambivalentes de la science, notamment des sciences de la vie, et les besoins d’un développement durable.
À l’été 2003, la Direction de la recherche du ministère de l’Équipement, des Transports, de l’Aménagement du territoire, du Tourisme et de la Mer a engagé une vaste consultation prospective sur les attentes en matière de recherche dans ses différents domaines d’intervention — en y incluant le logement, la ville, la gestion des risques et l’observation des milieux. Cette consultation — qui a reçu le nom d’Agora 2020 — entre maintenant dans sa phase finale. Ce document ...
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Readers of Futuribles are kept abreast of the current debates about the policy (or lack of it) with regard to research and development in France, in part because of the amount of space we have devoted to this matter in the journal.
We publish here the point of view of an eminent researcher, Pierre Piganiol, who was the first head of the Délégation générale à la recherche scientifique et technique (DGRST) which, following the famous meeting in Caen (1956), was the first body to implement the R&D policy of the Gaullist era - which it did, moreover, in magisterial fashion.
Pierre Piganiol expresses his amazement that the alarm calls about the inadequacy of French research efforts have not apparently been either heard or understood. He then reminds us of the ultimate purpose of research (and the various types of research) and the major role that the state should play in co-ordinating efforts, not only with regard to the research that it finances but also to privately funded research.
He stresses that this role of orchestrating research means putting considerable effort into foresight in order to make choices, as far as possible, in the light of the country's future needs. He says here, pithily, what others in the debate put more pompously in terms of the tensions between technology push and social needs (or bottom-up approach).
Finally, Pierre Piganiol offers some judicious thoughts as to the ways that this research policy might ideally be conducted.
Those who have worked with him will not be surprised that he lays so much emphasis on the need to make a "reasoned analysis of the present state of knowledge and research", of what he calls the "scientific climate" (conjoncture scientifique). It is indeed strange that, despite his best efforts, nothing of the sort has ever been implemented...
Pierre Piganiol emphasizes, in his own article in this issue, the importance of foresight studies in drawing up an R&D policy which, of necessity, looks to the long term. In response to this need and to the need to give a new stimulus (but what?) to French research policy the French association for technical research (Association nationale de la recherche technique, ANRT) has launched a future-oriented study of the French system of research and innovation.
Jacques Lesourne, chairman of the steering committee of the "Futuris" project, offers his view of the French system of research and innovation, then shows how the arrangements made in France after the Second World War are now having to face the need for reform, if only because of the radically different context in which we find ourselves and the challenges of the next few years.
After a brief sketch of how this vast exercise in foresight is being organized, drawing on a very large number of experts, and the various methods used (in particular scenario-building), he summarizes the main lessons to be learned from it. Above all he stresses the need to step up substantially the investment in R&D in France (with a look at the roles that public authorities and business should play in this) as well as the need for in-depth reform of the way that research is organized if it is to become more productive.
Lastly, and given that the French government has announced that it proposes to introduce legislation about the direction and programming of research, he makes some recommendations, based on the work of Futuris, directed at the drafters of the new law, whose contents are eagerly awaited.
At the end of 2003 and during 2004 there has been widespread and strongly expressed concern on the part of researchers in France, emphasizing the serious risks of falling behind other countries if the whole system of research is not overhauled. Some months before matters came to a head, the French government asked the Economic and Social Council (Conseil économique et social) to produce a report on French public research and the role of business. The report was published in December 2003. François Ailleret, former head of EDF (Électricité de France) and the "rapporteur" for this evaluation, summarizes its main conclusions.
He stresses above all the relative inefficiency of French public research and the country's low level of privately funded research; he warns that, compared with other countries, research employment is poorly managed and he highlights the potential risks attached to a shortage of research workers or of projects that are not geared to future needs. More generally, he emphasizes the inadequate value placed on research, which is linked above all to the lack of collaboration between universities and firms.
François Ailleret goes on to summarize the Council's main recommendations as to ways of improving this situation. Besides a serious future-oriented assessment of the aims and means of research in France, it recommends a complete overhaul of the key institutions in the system, stepping up public funding for research combined with the creation of private foundations and the encouragement of greater collaboration between universities and businesses; but also greater flexibility in managing human resources, incentives to more job mobility both within individual careers and within Europe, support for innovative business start-ups, etc. Only by doing so will France have any hope of maintaining its international position in the years ahead.
As we announced last June, Futuribles is continuing the discussion on the future of research in France started by Jean-Jacques Salomon (no. 298). As well as the essay by François Ailleret, elsewhere in this issue, we are publishing this well-documented article by Pierre Papon, who surveys the current state of the French system of R&D and proposes a variety of ways to reform it.
He starts with some historical background, backed up with figures and international comparisons, describing the creation of the French R&D system and its vigour between the 1950s and the 1980s. He goes on to argue that - having failed to take account of the major changes in the international economic and scientific context- this system is doomed to fall behind if it is not overhauled. According to Pierre Papon, what is needed in particular is an awareness of the many different levels of decision-making (regional, national, European) and the creation of more relevant linkages, including cross-disciplinary ones.
Among the various reform options he discusses, the author stresses three points: the need to strengthen the ability of research to respond rapidly to scientific advances; to make it easier for the various bodies involved in research (universities, businesses, research centres) to co-operate with each other and foster the sharing of knowledge; and to devolve responsibilities for research policy more efficiently among the various geographical tiers of decision-making. Nevertheless, he concludes that we are no longer living in 1956, when a meeting in Caen marked the beginning of an ambitious French national policy in this field: the reforms outlined here can be implemented only very gradually, and they need first of all to be started...
La recherche française traverse-t-elle une crise ? Quelles sont ses perspectives à moyen et à long terme ? Quels sont les enjeux de la recherche française par rapport à l’espace européen en gestation ? Pour répondre à ces questions essentielles, l’Association nationale de la recherche technique (ANRT) a lancé l’opération Futuris, un vaste exercice de prospective sur l’avenir du système français de recherche et d’innovation (SFRI).
Jean-Jacques Salomon energetically castigates the contempt for scientific research in France; he criticizes the lack of resources and the dangers that this will incur in the medium and long term. But he goes further and proposes a proper plan to give a new impetus to research, development and innovation, emphasizing that it is not enough to allocate more money - the whole structure of research needs fundamental reform, as indeed does the French model of education.
Those in government care little for research, he argues, even though it has become ever more important in planning for the future.
First, research needs a genuine injection of money, and Jean-Jacques Salomon proposes ways in which the necessary funding could be achieved. But it is also essential to tackle the institutional and structural problems that beset a system that is in large part badly designed for today's needs.
The author distinguishes two complementary types of research (i.e. basic and applied), and shows that it is essential to overhaul the organization and the manner of funding and managing research. He argues forcefully in favour of a "national science foundation" and, incidentally, for a closer integration of research and the universities.
In this vein, he would like to see a thorough transformation of the French education system, with a clearer separation of vocational training - which needs to be upgraded - from higher education and research, which should be encouraged... Scattered through his text are recommendations that are particularly welcome in this long troubled period for the French system of research and innovation, and he starts a debate that will be continued in future issues of Futuribles.
Since the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union gave itself the target of becoming "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world" by the year 2010. A target which, according to the official line, would involve bringing the European research effort to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by this time. Why this figure of 3% of the GDP? Part of the response lies in an extract from the 1964 work from the Plan, Considerations for 1985 (Paris: La documentation Française), which is reproduced in this issue. From 1964, the strategists for the French Plan estimated that in two decades' time, 3% of the gross domestic product should be devoted to research, in order to put France in a favourable position among international competitors and to make it a genuine rival for the United States -which was already showing this investment rate in the research carried out in 1964! They also insisted on the necessity of increasing research performance in France, notably with the help of an appropriate recruitment policy and the creation of "suitable reception facilities" which would incidentally provide researchers with the means to work efficiently.
L'opération FutuRIS (recherche, innovation, société), lancée par l'ANRT en février 2003, associe de grands acteurs publics et privés afin de construire un avenir concerté du système français de recherche et d'innovation. Cette synthèse présente les résultats de la phase de réflexion qui a impliqué près de 300 personnes. Après avoir rappelé le but et les grands choix méthodologiques de FutuRIS et s'être interrogé sur l'utilité sociale de la recherche et de l'innovation, le document ...
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Né de la prise de conscience collective des enjeux que porte la diversité du vivant et des menaces qui pèsent sur elle, le concept de biodiversité s'est imposé au monde à la faveur du sommet planétaire de Rio de Janeiro, en juin 1992. Dix ans plus tard, à Johannesburg, les exigences d'action étaient rappelées et l'engagement était pris de freiner l'érosion de la biodiversité à l'horizon 2010. L'objectif de ce rapport est de présenter ...
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