FLA Inventory Database
An Inventory of Forward-Looking Activities
VERA started with stocktaking current forward-looking activities (FLA) in Europe and internationally and assessing their usefulness for policymaking. During the project, we developed an open access database, which provides an overview of FLA relevant for research and innovation priority-setting in Europe. In the ERA Forward-Looking Inventory, 67 screened FLAs are searchable in particular as regards the question of how these documents address the discourse on the Grand Societal Challenges.
The Grand Societal Challenges (GC) were identified on the basis of existing EU documents and discussion papers that have been published and discussed in relation to the future governance of ERA, and forward-looking activities (FLA) at national, EU and global levels. We focused on Grand Challenges that are relevant for the future governance of ERA, directly or indirectly. We took into consideration five different types of activities/documents to identify the Grand Challenges (not older than 2005):
1. ERA-governance related policy and strategy papers
2. European FLA addressing the future of EU and ERA (directly or indirectly)
3. FLA on national R&I priorities (not obviously ERA-related)
4. FLAs on important sectors for Europe
5. International scope
The definition of a Grand Challenge was crucial for clustering the 761 Grand Challenges we identified, as many GC were not necessarily titled as such or had a different definition. The FLA inventory now contains 726 individual Grand Challenges. It can be downloaded below and is meant to serve FTA analysts as well as all those involved in shaping research and innovation policies.
The major conclusion of this stocktaking is that this set of GC –compared to current policy strategies or programmes– has a more global perspective, e.g. in the way it considers migration, impoverished regions, multipolarity and material resources, and it includes more fundamental societal realms or principles such as new values and lifestyles, the role of the state, the stability of public finance, the current economic model, education and EU competitiveness. As such, it reminds us that orientating policies towards Grand Societal Challenges poses challenges, such as questioning fundamental principles like the orientation towards growth and competitiveness, the need to link R&I policies with sectoral, educational, environmental, development, social or fiscal policies or the design and adaptation of democratic and participatory political processes which help to channel the GC discourses into collective high-level policy objectives.