Understanding long-term impacts of R&D funding: The EU framework programme

Erik Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Despite a large and growing effort in the evaluation of public R&D funding programmes, we know surprisingly little about their long-term effects. This is a pity, because the conventional justifications for state intervention in research depend upon phenomena such as the production and use of public goods, knowledge, spillovers, the production of human capital, and systemic changes that are inherently long term in nature. The few available long-term studies demonstrate that the time constants involved are indeed very big. However, the way public policy is governed and managed pushes us to evaluate in the short term: trying to explain or somehow to ‘measure’ the effects of programmes that may not be complete and whose effects may not even be expected until some time in the future. An earlier article considered what the existing evaluation record tells us about Framework Programme performance, pointing out the short-term orientation of the evaluation techniques used and the correspondingly limited perspective they provide on impacts. This article reports newer work to explore longer term effects and emphasizes the role of the Framework Programme in coordinating the development of the European innovation system. Thus while traditional studies of long-term effects of research emphasize the links between new knowledge and innovation, a more systemic approach points to the role of funding not only in these aspects but also in the social shaping of the research and innovation system
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-343
JournalResearch evaluation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Long-term impact
  • Research
  • Framework Programme
  • R&D


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