Research and innovation are increasingly interlinked internationally, aided by rapidly developing information and communication technologies. Global challenges require global effort and dialogue with international partners. In this context, the aim of the MLE is to foster a policy exchange on the various national approaches towards international cooperation in research and innovation. The exercise will allow for comparisons in terms of policy-making and help identify transferrable good practices, while covering topics such as design and development of national strategies for international cooperation in research and innovation, implementing toolbox and framework conditions.
This paper constitutes the second Thematic Report of the Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) devoted to national strategies and frameworks for international cooperation in R&I. The focus of this paper is on STI agreements as significant tools for international cooperation.
This Thematic Report discusses main policy challenges and practices about the design and development of national strategies for international research and innovation (R&I) cooperation, including objectives and theories of change for international R&I strategies, selection of countries/regions and thematic priorities, the embedding and alignment challenge, the coordination challenge in developing and implementing R&I internationalisation strategies, the task of anticipating the future, and suggestions on how to assess progress in R&I internationalisation policy cooperation.
Expert panel of the MLE on National Strategies and Roadmaps for International Cooperation in Research and Innovation.
An overview of the MLE on National Strategies and Roadmaps for International Cooperation in Research and Innovation .
The Modus Operandi defines the scope, the objectives, envisaged outcomes and the preliminary time schedule of the MLE. It also describes the working approach and methodology the group will follow as well as the distribution of work of all participants.
At the MLE kick-off meeting, national representatives from the 15 participating countries discussed and agreed on the final scope of the MLE, the topics to be addressed and the programme of country visits. A draft modus operandi was discussed and finalised after the meeting.
The first country visit of the Mutual Learning Exercise covered two main aspects related to the enhancement of international R&I cooperation: the strategic configuration of national R&I internationalisation strategies, and synergies and task division between the international and national levels. The agenda included workshops and world café discussions. In addition, representatives of five of the participating countries presented illustrative examples on their national experience concerning: the objectives, theory of change, and main drivers behind international R&I cooperation strategies, foresight as an input for such strategies, governance and processes, the challenge of finding the perfect fit between the national STI strategy and the strategic STI internationalisation dimension.
This second country visit included workshop sessions on several aspects of STI agreements, covering: their role in STI strategies and in the international cooperation toolbox, success factors, and options for improvement, and STI agreements in the future. The visit enabled experts and country representatives to exchange knowledge and best practice on these topics, addressing questions such as: Does science diplomacy affect the set of STI agreements? Can STI agreements function as game-changers? What works best, a top-down model or a decentralised one? Are thematically focused STI agreements more effective than general ones? Is it feasible for all STI agreements to have reciprocity and mutual benefits for all partners? Are weak STI agreements fixable? And what are the trends (bi-laterals, multi-laterals, more/fewer)?
The MLE participants made a third country visit to learn about experiences and good practice on the ground in international research and innovation cooperation. They met Swedish R&I stakeholders, such as Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency. As with previous visits, the discussions helped them make comparisons in terms of policy-making and helped identify transferrable good practices, while covering topics such as design and development of national strategies – and an implementation toolbox – for international cooperation in research and innovation, as well as setting appropriate framework conditions.