|Creating a “knowledge-based” competitive advantage has become a central policy aim of the European Union. In 2000, as part of the European Research Area initiative, the Lisbon European Council called on the Member States and the Commission to develop benchmarking as a means of evaluating the performance of national research policies. Five Expert Groups were created to address the five themes identified by the Council: Human resources in R&D; Public and private investment in RTD; Scientific and technological productivity; Impact of RTD on economic competitiveness and employment; and Public understanding of science and technology.
The Expert Group examining the impact of RTD on economic competitiveness and employment met six times between February 2001 and April 2002. Its final report explores the many trade-offs and dilemmas that European and national RTD policy are confronted with in relation to competitiveness and employment in order to give decision makers a realistic basis for making their choices. It highlights some of the current implicit biases in national RTD policies and suggests a number of “weak links” in different countries’ national system of innovation.