National research programmes that focus on grand societal challenges are a relatively new phenomenon. Technopolis Group recently completed work on a report for the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis (Tillväxtanalys) using international case studies to provide insights and conclusions on the design of such programmes.
In general, such challenge-driven research programmes are funded over a 10-year period and are more ambitious in scope than ‘traditional’ national research programmes. They aim for increased impact in society in terms of development, knowledge building, evidence-based policies and management, as well as improving overall coordination of research funding and other activities, creating synergies between different actors, and contributing to national policy goals. In addition, they aim to function as a platform for new and ongoing research and a link to international programmes and EU Joint Programming Initiatives.
Similar programmes are found in other countries, so the report aims to help research councils and funding agencies learn from international experience. The report describes and analyses the process and experience of working with similar research programmes in a selection of countries – Canada, Denmark, Finland and the UK – as well as at the EU level.
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