The AIMS project has produced an innovative evaluation methodology to assess research projects in freight transport on European level. The results should contribute to creating better chances for commercialization of research activities and to lead towards innovative and future leading research foci.
Freight transport is a key element for the economy, raising various environmental, social, security or safety issues that are severely increasing, also in the future. Innovation is a key bridging both streams. High public investments in freight transport RTD (Research and technology development) are made, however, various RTD projects have never passed the commercialization threshold. AIMS aims to maximise the success of public or private investments in freight transport RTD. Guidelines for current and future FP7 projects have been produced and recommendations for the definition of new research policy objectives are available.
AIMS identified critical factors of RTD projects through success and failure analysis of previous FP5 and FP6 projects. Based on results coming from the analysis of the past, present and future (notably as seen by Technological Platforms and Advisory councils), AIMS assessed the positive or negative impacts of European research FP and projects in particular in the economic, social and environmental fields. Specific attention was paid to depicting changes operated by the different Member States and catalysed by EU research programs.
Guidelines for FP7 projects were produced and recommendations for the definition of new research policy objectives provided. This was carried out by a Researcher group under the direction of a Secretariat and the caution of an Experts group, in direct interaction with End-Users, Industries and Technology Platform & Advisory Council of each mode including intermodal gathered among dedicated groups.
AIMS applies an innovative approach to develop a methodology to assess and evaluate research projects related to freight transport supported in FP5 and FP6. Freight transport is a key element for the economy, raising various environmental, social, security or safety issues that are severely increasing, also in the future. Innovation is a key bridging both streams. High investments in freight transport RTD are made, however, various RTD projects have never passed the commercialisation threshold. AIMS aims to minimize the risks of public or private investments in freight transport RTD.
Two workshops and one final conference were organised, integrating the different groups to confront results obtained to really concerned actors. A dedicated internet platform was set up to ensure pro-active communication. A handbook was made including consolidated guidelines to policy makers, industry and the research community. AIMS contribute to generate new knowledge on transport RTD and relevant social, environmental and economic issues, establish a better dialogue between policy, industry and research, ensure consistency between their approaches, and strengthen their competitiveness and innovation efforts toward a sustainable transport system.
AIMS was relying on an innovative approach combining a systemic approach and a socioeconomic approach: the TST approach (for Techniques, Society and Territories). It permitted a coherent grasping of the real impacts that shall be analysed further on, per innovation and axis of RTD envisaged. It allowed highlighting both the advantages and disadvantages or difficulties in implementing innovative concepts when faced with the current market situation and the rigidities of society.
2. Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour: 2.1 A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy
At the end of the project work, the analyses and especially the discussions with experts on the Framework programs, the different projects and initiatives in the transport modes lead to interesting results and experiences. In general the various research programs are being seen as an important instrument to foster European technological developments and knowledge generation. Yet, some improvements of the programs, the project selection and the administrative processes can be seen.