Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation

Is Europe „Knowledge Future“ ready?

Is Europe „Knowledge Future“ ready?
15.01.2016 | Anita Tregner-Mlinaric

Is Europe „Knowledge Future“ ready?

Just recently, the European Commission published a report compiled by an expert group on Foresight on Key Long-term Transformations of European systems: Research, Innovation and Higher Education (KT2050) under the title „The Knowledge Future: Intelligent policy choices for Europe 2050.“ The global trends are imposing challenges as well as opportunities for  resseach and innovation in Europe for which solution can be found by transforming knowledge into tangible actions towards competitive Europe. The policy recommendations addressed in the report  were built on the premise that Europe’s research, innovation and higher education systems are a foundation for economic growth and social inclusion. According to Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, who gave a foreword in the report, Europe shall create necessary conditions to exploit and capitalise from the research and innovation results, boost excellence in fundamental research as well as reinforce the international engagement through the science ambasadors. Those were the exact premises based on which the European Commissioner set priorities towards Open Innovation and Science fora Open World and Global dimension.

Leaving premises aside, is Europe „Knowledge Future“ ready? How far are the grounds set for sustainable future built for the wellbeing of its citizens? Can the policy makers translate the challenges and needs into priorities and actions towards „Knowledge Europe?“ To answer these questions in the lieu of challenges and mega trends estimated by 2050, this foresight exercise presented two possible scenarios for Europe, a positive and negative one. As already above noted in the text, research, innovation and education are considered as a knowledge triangle, very much interlinked and causaly intertwined. In a positive scenario, by 2050, Europe is positioned as a knowledge based, competitive economy in the global market, universities are re-shaped and internationally trendy, strongly tied with the regional institutions. Education is „a new fashion,” while teachers are “the most wanted designers,” which “designer clothing” everybody wants to have and “wear.” Academia, SME’s, multinational companies, NGO’s, individuals and other societal actors work together in an open innovation mode, interconnected and unified with a goal to provide solutions to global challenges. Science and Innovation are moved to the new frontiers where the support is provided by all. European cities have been transformed into mega cities and are nurtured by innovation and driven by citizens and stakeholder engagement. Regions are empowered and well governed, while European institutions are strongly supporting the process under more strengthen and coordinating role.

As expected, the negative scenario is turning the positive outcomes into the opposite. Even though this report is a foresight exercise, it is raising very important questions for both European, national and local policy makers to consider as the year 2050 is not that far away and the grounds we build today will lead to results that may be addressed in that European scenario. The expert group working on this report emphasised the following policy recommendations as crucial for Europe to avoid threaths and shortfalls towards sustainability and growth:

  1. An open knowledge system in Europe
  2. Flexibility and experimentation in innovation
  3. European-level cooperation
  4. Funding and the tax base.

The Knowledge Future Europe, as already above stated in the text, shall be an oasis built for the well-being of its citizens. For policy recommendations to be translated into the real actions with a tangible impact, the broader stakeholder engagement at all levels is essential. The CASI project recognized from the start that the above noted factor is crucial in order to be able to provide an assessment of sustainable innovation and to provide a series of policy recommendations accordingly, due to which multi-learning exercises are the integral part of the project. So far, the three rounds of consultative processes in CASI were carried out through the 1st Citizen Panel Meetings providing an input in the form of citizen visions to an expert meeting that translated these visions into research priorities that were further validated by the citizens during the 2nd Citizen Panel Meetings. The findings of this exercise are inspiring and summarized in the CASI catalogue of 50 CITIZEN VISIONS ON SUSTAINABLE FUTURES as well as in the latest, 8th in series CASI European Policy Brief titled “RESOURCE EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES”.  Through the lifecycle of the project, CASI will continue to bring an added value and make contribution through its activities towards the Sustainable, Knowledge Future Europe, thus stayed tuned and follow CASI closely!


Relevant themes: Sustainable innovation
Relevant tags: Knowledge, future, Europe, Research, Innovation, Education, CASI, policy recommendations, sustainable innovaation, Sustainability


  • Anita Tregner-Mlinaric - META Group S.R.L. (META)

    Anita Tregner-Mlinaric

    Self-motivated, innovative and goal-orientated management professional with more than 15 years of working experience in a variety of industries with an in-depth understanding of project lifecycles and project development methodologies, focused on process improvement and on-time delivery of projects. Over 12 years of working experience on donor-funded economic growth and development projects in South East Europe and Eurasia (UNDP, OSCE, USAID, U.S. State Department); and more than 5 years of professional working experience working in the field of European funded programmes, from proposal writing to grant preparation, management and implementation. An experienced specialist in the field of policy, research, preparation and execution of action plans and strategies in different areas (research, innovation, entrepreneurship, financial instruments, grand challenge 5, ICT and other). Currently undertaking a role of Senior Project Manager at META's Advisory Department in Brussels and also in charge of the business development activities of the company in South East Europe and European Member States. Furthermore, experienced moderator and key note speaker, published author of numerous reports, articles and policy briefs. Administrative, budgeting and forecasting specialist. Experienced EU negotiations, advocacy and policy expert.