The EU's 5 missions were defined by experts from all over Europe and are expected to shape European research in the coming years. Together, they aim to find solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time, such as climate change, polluted water and soil, and the fight against cancer. But what is the initial situation for mission-oriented research in Austria? A recent study by AIT & Joanneum Research on behalf of Austrian ministries surveyed the starting position and potential of the Austrian RTI landscape with regard to mission-oriented research. In addition, a first Austrian competence and resource map for the further development of the missions was drawn up.
The 5 EU missions in detail:
- 1st Mission CANCER: Defeating Cancer - Mission Possible
- 2nd Mission CLIMATE: A resilient Europe to face climate change
- 3. mission OCEAN: Mission Starfish: Regenerating our oceans and waters by 2030
- Mission CITIES: 100 climate neutral cities by 2030 - with and for society
- 5 Mission SOIL: Healthy soils for healthy lives
"The data collected as part of the baseline study in interviews, online surveys and from funded national and H2020 projects as well as publications in the Web of Science span thematic landscapes and provide insights into the strategic orientations, specialisation patterns and cooperation structures and needs of relevant research actors both across missions and specifically within the five missions," says project leader Andrea Kasztler from the AIT Center for Innovation Systems & Policy.
The results show that in the area of public research, Austria has points of contact in all five missions for a corresponding positioning at the European level. In the mission areas Cities, Climate, Cancer and Soil, an above-average positioning was already achieved in H2020. At the same time, the survey shows that the environment-oriented missions have relatively large synergy potentials and that the mission-relevant topics addressed here were often worked on in an inter- and transdisciplinary manner.
It is also remarkable that the mission areas as well as their individual mission-relevant topics address the actors of the research landscape from basic to application-oriented research in very different ways. In principle, it can be assumed that in all mission areas that are seriously pursued in Austria, there is potential for an expansion of the respective actively engaged institutions and scientists, which would be associated with a higher demand for public funding (national and European). Even though the focus of the study was placed on the area of public research, it is evident that private or non-research active actors play a major role in the implementation of the agendas in some missions and must be consciously involved accordingly. "Of course, this is also accompanied by the perception of long-term and integrative thinking as well as the necessary need for further development of cross-thematic and cross-sectoral approaches to solutions," says Andrea Kasztler. The study points to an urgent need for better coordination between science and society as well as the promotion of young researchers in all mission areas. In addition to research in the missions, education and the development of young scientists should therefore have a high priority.
The outline drawn up in the study provides an initial basis and should be constantly refined as activities in Austria and at EU level continue to develop. Building on this, further studies will be necessary in the context of the further design of EU missions in Austria.
The baseline study was carried out by AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (Center for Innovation Systems & Policy) together with Joanneum Research (Policies) on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management.