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Research and innovation
News article4 April 2023Directorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

Research and Innovation policy at crossroads for societal and economic transformation

In its latest publications, the Expert Group on the Societal Impact of Research and Innovation (ESIR) makes recommendations on how Europe can develop a long-term strategy to address the state of permanent poly-crisis and the role research and innovation can play in this.

In the “Transformation in the poly-crisis age” policy brief, ESIR argues that we need to transform our economies and societies in order to live within planetary boundaries. Recent crises, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, urged the EU to have a clear vision of its future society and build a steady pathway towards it. According to the experts, this requires anticipatory governance, long-term systems thinking and adaptive, agile decision-making. Embedding protective and preparedness measures in a deeply transformative agenda would help the EU seize the opportunities offered by the current state of emergency. Europe’s long-term strategy should focus on leveraging its poly-centric governance to build resilience, increasing its technological and systemic adaptability and resilience, ensuring policy coherence internally as well as externally, and harnessing sustainable investment in economic development and institutions.

In their second policy brief on “Research and Innovation to thrive in the poly-crisis age”, the ESIR experts argue that R&I must play a crucial role in equipping Europe with the skills to face these transformations. In order for R&I policy to play this role and to be fit for the 2030s, they recommend changes and reforms in policy and practice along four, broad principles: (1) take risk to manage risk; (2) direct the action; (3) anticipate, adapt and learn; and (4) align and integrate. They point out that the next Framework Programme offers an opportunity to design a public R&I funding programme along these four principles and to do so in a coherent way. More immediately, they point to the five Horizon Europe Missions as an important opportunity to test innovation as a driver of transformation.


ESIR is a high-level expert group that provides evidence-based policy advice to the Commission on how to develop a forward-looking and transformative research and innovation policy. Its 16 experts will provide independent advice on how EU research and innovation policy can best support the transformation of our economy and society throughout the social, green and digital transitions.

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If you have any questions, you can contact us at RTD-ESIRatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-ESIR[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu) .


Publication date
4 April 2023
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation